Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Keep Calm, Learn Together With Schoology By Robert Schuetz

At most schools, there are a numerous programs, initiatives, and strategies all intended to improve learning.  It is quite likely Schoology can help with all of them.  Schoology, an award-winning learning management system, is a versatile and effective program supportive of learning in all arenas and forms. Schoology shines particularly well with blended learning, the combination of traditional classroom activities and online learning activities.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  Here are a few of our everyday users explaining why Schoology is essential to communication, collaboration, and connected learning.

Student - A high school junior, Natalie appreciates the structure and organization that Schoology provides her.  “Schoology is like a digital trapper folder.  My main page provides me with calendars, announcements, and resources for all of my classes.”, she said.  “Even if I miss class, I can get messages from my teachers, push notification reminders for assignment deadlines, and comments from my classmates about classroom discussions. There is no excuse for me to be missing class work because I can access everything I need paperlessly on my iPad.”

Teacher - Family and Consumer Science teacher, Mrs. Varela, is a proponent of personalized learning.  Schoology provides her with the instructional tools to differentiate and customize assignments and assessments.  “My students have wide-ranging interests and abilities.  I use Schoology’s “grading groups” and “completion rules” to create personalized assignments for my students. Grading groups is a feature that allows me to give specific assignments, or jobs, to particular students, or teams of students.  Completion rules is a feature that allows students to become self-paced with their learning. Achievement of a benchmark or standard triggers the availability of the next collection of objectives and challenges.  Digital workflow is effective and efficient.  Whether it’s annotations on student work, or voice commentary, students appreciate that I can give them timely feedback on their assignments.”  

Coach - Swimming and Diving coach, Mrs. Berleman, uses Schoology to share up-to-the-minute results and statistics with her competitors and their parents. Since Schoology can be synced up with Twitter, Facebook, and Remind, people that are part of her Pirate Swim Group, have several choices for receiving team information in real-time. “My girls, and their parents, appreciate having a direct line of communication with our coaches.  Family and study time is precious, so parents and competitors appreciate how we are able to “flip” parent meetings, provide permission forms electronically, and share announcements through our Schoology updates and discussion board.  Some results can be shared publicly, and other pieces of information can be kept private.  I like how School gives me control over the visibility of our communication.”

Counselor - Mrs. O’Brien makes communication and relationship-building a priority with her students.  “I have all of my students in a Schoology group.  I can share information to them individually, or to the entire group.  During our Open House, I provided join codes to their parents so that they could view their child’s courses, stay informed of deadlines, and also be part of our communication system.  The “advisee” role in Schoology allows me to check on the academic progress of any of my students.  Parents, teachers, and coaches can then be mobilized to provide support to students where and when it’s needed.  I have the Schoology app on my iPhone which is super convenient since I can stay connected with my students, and colleagues even when I am out of the office.”

Parent - Colleen, a mother of two PHS students, has Schoology bookmarked in her web browser. She uses Schoology to see what’s happening in her sons’ classes.  She can also monitor their attendance and academic progress in real-time.  “Having this kind of access through Schoology allows me to have better conversations, and be more helpful to my teenage sons when it comes to their work in the classroom.  I can see their contributions to class discussion boards, and I can also see scores and teacher comments on their school work.”

Administrator - Assistant Principal, Mr. Alther, appreciates the data provided by Schoology’s analytics pages.  In addition to usage statistics, analytics can illustrate progress on standards-aligned assessments in the Mastery menu.  This information is invaluable to professional learning teams who are working to improve instruction.  “Schoology has contributed to the learning of all of our stakeholders.  Last year, we gamified our professional development using Schoology as the professional learning platform.  We were able differentiate and personalize the activities.  Teachers were able to learn collaboratively, and also at their own pace.  Evidence of professional growth was acknowledged with digital badges and team points.  Schoology made it easy to track our progress, communicate progress towards objectives, and celebrate our learning.”

About the Author: 
Although schools have been his focal point for fifty years, Robert Schuetz has been employed as an educator for nearly a quarter century. A National Board Certified Teacher, Bob has spent the past twelve years as Technology Coordinator for Palatine High School in Palatine, Illinois, U.S.A. Bob’s wife Natalie is a 2nd grade teacher, and they have four school-age children.  Robert’s passions include personal wellness, sports, music, and travel. He is a proponent of self-directed learning supported through socially connected networks. When Bob isn’t tending to the responsibilities of family or work, he enjoys contributing to learning through his blog, “Nocking the Arrow”.


  1. Great post Dr. Will! Schoology seems like a great tool. Not only does it connect the student and teacher, but it allows for all parties involved in the education process to be thoroughly involved with the students progress. I love that we are seeing more web enhancements in the classroom these days.

  2. I am very interested in hearing more about how you use Schoology to manage PD....may I contact you?