Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Tech Tip: Working with Schoology & Google Classroom

With our post last week about Google Classroom, we wanted to publish something about how Google Classroom fits with Schoology.  After all, there is some overlap between them, but ultimately, there is room for both in the digital classroom.  Both of these tools are constantly changing, so the following information is "the truth as we know it" as of February 3, 2015.

When would you use Google Classroom?  Whenever you want to share, collect & organize work from kids in Google Drive . . .

Google Classroom is pretty limited in what it offers, especially compared to Schoology.  However, it's really good at what it does, which is content management or organization of Google Docs and files shared with students.  Here's where it really shines -- and where Schoology doesn't yet reach:
  • it automatically makes folders in Google Drive for each class & assignment you create, and it sets all of the permissions automatically.  This means that you no longer need to worry about setting sharing permissions for documents and organizing the files once you get them from students.
  • it can create a copy of a template for each student and automatically names the copy and shares with you for feedback & assessment.  This means that students don't need to worry about making a copy, naming the file, and sharing with you.  When ready for you to assess, they "submit" it right within Classroom.
  • it tells you which students have not yet finished/submitted an assignment, which is very difficult to determine if you're only having students share documents with you in Google Drive.  In Classroom, you can see in one glance who still needs to turn work in.

When would you use Schoology?   Basically when you want to do everything else . . .

Google Classroom is awesome at collecting and organizing work that kids have created in Google Docs/Google Drive (content management).  But at this point, Schoology is awesome at learning management, which includes just about everything else:
  • Communicating with both parents & students via message, update, progress, or calendar event (parents access in Google Classroom doesn't give them mastery or rubric information about assignments)
  • Creating, giving, and grading digital tests & quizzes that are aligned to standards and have varied question types
  • Hosting online discussions (graded or not) with options for audio responses
  • Assigning work to specific students or groups of students
  • Aligning items to standards and learning outcomes for your own data gathering (which can also be visible to students & parents, if desired)
  • Giving feedback to students (including audio comments) and assessing against rubrics
  • Hiding items and pacing learning for students
  • Embedding other web content to enrich learning
  • Collaborating with other teachers in Groups to share curriculum, learning objectives, and PLC work
Can the two work together?  Absolutely.  If you want your students working and collaborating with you in Google but you want to assess them in Schoology using a rubric, for example, you would create the assignment in Schoology first (which gives you a place to assess using the rubric), collect the work in Classroom so it's organized for you, and put in the final grade or rubric scores in Schoology.  (If you have a mobile device, like an iPad, you could use that  to enter the rubric scores or grade while viewing the files on your laptop or desktop.)

Both of these tools can  enhance how you leverage technology to impact learning.  Just keep in mind how you will be interacting with students and let your instructional needs guide your choice (and let us know if you need any help).

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