The Oracle

Schoology deserves stamp of approval

The Oracle

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Written by: Ben Atlas

While the networking system for?student-teacher interaction has been?in relative turmoil over the last few?years, Schoology provides a ray of hope?with its unprecedented simplicity.?Implemented this current school?year, Schoology is a Learning?Management System (LMS)?used to provide access to?grades, announcements,?calendars, assignments?and a host of other tools?for students, teachers?and parents. The system’s?simple interface,?impressive track record?and low cost make it?superior to other systems?used in the past.?Founded in 2009, Schoology?fused the concept of?social networking with online?interaction. Schoology’s defining?feature is its Facebook-esque layout.?Modeled after the hugely?popular Internet giant,?its intended audience?will find it easier to use?than its precursors at?Gunn, such as Blackboard Academic?Suite (InClass). Schoology has a messaging?service nearly identical to that of?Facebook’s, a similar notification system?and a profile page for each course and?teacher. Each course’s profile page gives?the student some rudimentary information?about the course and more importantly,?hosts any number of documents?the teacher posts online. Teachers are?also able to alert students of any updates?through Schoology’s own notification?system. The teacher’s profile page also?provides basic personal information as?well as contact info. These features make?it more appealing to students who are?much more likely to use a more recognized?layout. Regardless of the content,?a website that is ultimately not used due?to its lack of visual appeal or ease of access?is of less worth than one of?mediocre content but extensive appeal?and extensive usage.?Schoology’s track record and content?are certainly at or above the standard?past systems have set. Already encompassing?nearly one million users over?about 18,000 schools in three years, it?has grown by an average of a third of a?million each year, illustrating its growing?popularity. This is similar to Infinite?Campus, which boasts a growth rate of?330,000 new users per year. While Schoology’s?effectiveness at Gunn is yet to be?proven, its extensive track record seems?prescient of success. Schoology’s growing?popularity shows that it is meeting more?educator’s standards than what an LMS?normally entails.?On InClass, users often experienced a?deficiency of teacher-student interaction.?Teachers almost never made personalized?messages to a student or group of?students. On Schoology, such action is?the norm. A calendar is made out so?that each assignment a teacher adds?will be added to his or her students’?calendars. Students can even add?comments on assignments, which?can help to clarify any uncertainties?about a piece of homework or other?document.?Since Schoology is significantly?newer than other systems,?it comes at a cheaper?price. It costs only?$500 to brand the?LMS to a school?district, which is?nothing compared?to InClass’ costs?which exceeded?$10,000.?Given Schoology’s?ease of use, proven track?record, interactive nature and low?cost, the budding company is a good?investment for Gunn. It is able to?simplify and almost sugarcoat concepts?present in Infinite Campus and InClass?through its cutting-edge interface. As a?combination of social networking and?learning management, Schoology integrates?enjoyment and education into a?single medium for student use.

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Schoology deserves stamp of approval