Schoology Innovates Classroom Communication, Organization, and Online Access

Schoology screenshot

A screenshot of Schoology's classroom portal.

Teachers are constantly trying to find innovative ways to effectively communicate assignments and grades to their students, while at the same time connecting with parents at home. As students become more focused on social networking and relying on internet communications throughout day-to-day tasks, it only makes sense that teachers adapt to this mode of thinking.

That is why more teachers will be using an online classroom portal this fall called Schoology. The website is much like Facebook meets Blackboard, where students can communicate with teachers and classmates, check for grades, upload assignments, and view upcoming events or important dates.

“It’s great because students know where to go,” said Keith Sorensen, District 211 director of educational technology. “When students leave, they check their grades, or they go to lunch and sometimes their grades are already posted. We want teachers to be using this, and the first step is just getting the materials online.”

Teachers can post assignments to their classroom portal, along with any materials needed to complete it. This allows students the mobility to take the classroom with them. If they have a question, they can create forums for their classmates to comment, as well as post links to websites or upload their own documents. Parents also can see a limited view version of the classroom portal, so they can stay connected with what their child is learning in class.

“Parents are always saying two things. One is, ‘what my kids are doing in school is so different from what I did’, which is true. The second thing is ‘I want to see what goes on in class for myself,” Sorensen said. “It’s great for parents to see their kids’ assignments.”

Sorensen said they evaluated several different classroom portal options, including Moodle and portals powered by Blackboard. However, Schoology was the best when it came to integrating communication and organization of materials into one site, especially with its mobile capabilities.

“Schoology has the best of both worlds, it has good calendar features, it’s like Facebook so it’s familiar, and it also has self-enrollment so students can enroll themselves into the classroom portal,” Sorensen said.

Although using online mediums in the classroom is not a new idea — Moodle and Blackboard being two popular choices in education — it’s how the site works that makes it unique. With the District starting its one-to-one initiative, Sorensen said teachers need to be looking at putting their materials online because it’s the direction students have gone. It also eliminates the need for lugging books home to do homework.

“Getting things online helps students in case they have forgotten their assignments,” Sorensen said. “This prevents anything from getting in their way because they have the assignments, they can communicate with teachers and classmates, and they post their assignments for everyone to see.”

For more information about Schoology, please visit Schoology’s Learn More page and for teachers or school districts to inquire about professional development contact Keith at or follow him on Twitter for updates.