Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why Schoology?

Facebook has its place.   However, as an educator and parent, I've seen it misused by students and faculty alike.  I do think privacy settings need to be tweaked by all who use it, and I think it is inappropriate to befriend a current student on facebook.  My facebook page is always monitored closely by me.  I only accept as friends former students who are in college or beyond and limit their access to post on my wall and show up in my news feed.   However, I do think there is a place for social networks in high school and even middle school, as a way of better communicating with students in a venue that is age appropriate and encourages them to participate meaningfully in the classroom without the limitations of four walls. 

I had tried Edmodo, but for several reasons, I switched to schoology this year.  First introduced to me by Hebrew School students I taught who attend Ramapo Indian Hills School District, I like its easy user interface and similarity in operation to facebook.  Does it undoubtedly have flaws?  Yes, the IM to cell phone feature and lack of integration with powerschool without paying for it is not ideal.  However, the ability to fully flip a class when desired, the opportunity to interact with students on inline discussions monitored by the teacher and only visible to the class, parents, and teacher, the online testing feature, the polling feature, syncing to dropbox assignments, and the fantastic amount of data that can be uploaded onto each class site (powerpoints, videos, etc), make it unparalleled to anything else out there.  

I use it for both courses and clubs.  I have already worked with many educators helping them set up accounts for themselves and their students.  There is a solid reason why many large elite public school districts use this site.  I'd encourage all to check it out.  Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.