Schoology: Envisioning a New Learning Experience

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Jeremy Friedman, Co-Founder & CEO, SchoologyJeremy Friedman, Co-Founder & CEO It's well-established fact that to capture the attention of the digital native student, educators across the globe must cast away their traditional lecture-based teaching and chalkboard approach. New breeds of learners want greater control of their learning process and prefer blended learning environments, adaptive teaching, and collaborative learning spaces. As such, educational institutions that once had strict policies around the possession of internet-enabled devices among students are now open to the idea of BYOD in schools and next-gen learning management systems for a more personalized education experience. New age LMSs are not only a big hit among students but allow teachers to create engaging lessons, reduce manual tasks, and increase student collaboration. Research even indicates that the global learning management system (LMS) market, which was valued at $6 billion in 2017, will skyrocket to $23 billion by 2023.

In such times, one company that is fast emerging as the preferred LMS of choice for school districts worldwide is Schoology. Implemented by 60,000 K-12 schools and universities and with over 20 million users, Schoology's LMS is the only solution an institution needs to create engaging content, foster collaboration, and personalize learning. The brainchild of Jeremy Friedman, Timothy Trinidad, and Ryan Hwang, the idea for Schoology hit the young leaders during their junior year at Washington University when they observed how edtech fell short of its promises to improve the learning experience for students and instructors. Today, Schoology is a renowned name in the education world, with strong backing from investors and used across 200 countries. Friedman the current CEO of the company plays an essential role in overseeing year on year development. Under his leadership, Schoology has observed a triple-digit growth, and he was recently listed in Forbes 30 under 30 in education.

Going Beyond the Classroom Walls

One strategy applied by Friedman and his team was to focus on creating an open platform. Schoology's LMS easily integrates with a school's existing systems, features an easy-to-use collaborative interface, and any customization can also be easily added. Above all, the basic version of the platform is offered to educators free of charge and premium add-ons such as advanced analytics and customized branding are made available through a fee-based solution. Since Schoology is a cloud-based system, it requires no installation or training and minimal maintenance. In short, it’s scalable, inexpensive, flexible, and can be accessed through native mobile applications and Kindle devices, which makes it ideal for school boards with limited budgets.

Students love Schoology because it’s designed to resemble the digital forums they engage with outside of class

Visually similar to a social networking site, the Schoology platform includes digital attendance records, online grade book, tests, quizzes, and homework submission options. It supports popular applications such as Google Drive and Dropbox, and comes pre-integrated with hundreds of tools and student information systems (SIS), enabling all participants to engage better, learn faster, and work as a team. Students love Schoology because it’s designed to resemble the digital forums they engage with outside of class. They become more invested in learning through online discussions, videos and images, and connecting in a safe, moderated online environment. Teachers, on the other hand, can design engaging courses and lessons in a snap and even embed content from Microsoft Office, YouTube, and countless other web tools. With Schoology, faculty can even access and use all their Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification, Common Cartridge, and SCORM compliant content within a single platform. Grading an entire class's work has never been easier as the platform's grading tools enable teachers to easily access their students’ work, switch between submissions, provide written and video feedback, and record grades in one fell swoop.

Seamless collaboration is the core of what makes Schoology unique, as the platform connects everyone across an institution from students and teachers to parents, coaches, and administrators on one network for a media-rich interactive experience. Schoology creates a valuable opportunity for students and faculty to interact beyond the four walls of a classroom and participate in school-wide discussions. The solution is the first-of-its-kind that comes with a built-in professional learning community, which allows members to share ideas and resources with educational groups around the world.

Inspiring Next-Gen Classrooms

A truly holistic solution in every sense, Schoology is designed to combine learning management with assessment management. Now instructors can create innovative assessments, manage evaluations, and distribute standards-aligned assessments from one central location. By bringing together learning and assessment in one shared repository, creating and revising course material is a no-brainer and can be leveraged by teachers for years to come. The platform also comes with technology-enhanced items that include specialized interactions for collecting response data. This greatly elevates the quality of assessment data by providing deeper transparency into student thinking and performance. School bodies can now increase engagement through diverse media, test students on multiple skills at once, and pinpoint gaps in student understanding.

Teachers and students also have the ability to measure results across the district, school, and classroom for a complete understanding of performance goals.

It comes as no surprise that well-known school districts such as the Colorado State University, Cincinnati Public Schools, and the Los Angeles Unified School District reach out to Schoology for dynamic learning management. To cite an example, today more than 3,700 teachers and their students at Cherry Creek School District in Colorado are better connected for a collaborative learning experience. While Schoology met a number of the client's needs, one major reason for selecting the platform was its integration with PowerSchool, a popular SIS. Now Cherry Creek can easily share content and data between multiple systems as well as automatically grab enrollment data and share that with PowerSchool SIS. Moreover, Schoology was the perfect fit for a large group of teachers who are digital immigrants and not always comfortable with technology, helping them adapt to digital teaching and learning environments in new ways.

Another case in point is that of Harlem Academy, a nonprofit day school based in New York. After evaluating several LMS solutions providers, the school administrators settled for Schoology as it offered best-in-class features and functionalities. Prior to the implementation of Schoology, teachers had to grade quizzes by hand or track grades in Microsoft Excel. Schoology has streamlined and automated these tasks for all of the middle school teachers. In line with Harlem Academy's unique educational approach, Schoology along with Khan Academy enabled the client to teach math through new and inventive methods. Students are allowed to work at their pace and take regular quizzes posted within Schoology, which is then automatically graded. Without Schoology this new program wouldn't have been possible. Schoology's discussion feature was also a huge hit as it allowed teachers to use video instructions while teachers asked questions and facilitated discussion in Schoology—all without stopping the video. No doubt the possibilities with Schoology are endless and greatly improve student outcomes.

The Future of Education

Keeping in mind that integrating and managing the vast amount of data created by the education sector is one of the biggest challenges that curbs advancement, Schoology has this setback covered as well. The company helps turn data into actionable insights and tangible results at the school and district level. Schoology makes it easy to track student progress and quickly identify gaps in learning. Their test and quiz analytics help educators make sense of performance data at a glance and provide targeted feedback to students.

In the days to come, Schoology will continue to build on their passion, which is to help instructors and students achieve the best education experience possible. The industry experts behind the company believe that in a few years Schoology will be in the hands of every K-12 student. Lastly, the company is looking at further adopting trends such as gamification to create an immersive learning experience.

Schoology News

Schoology Launches Certified Partner Program to Better Connect Other Education Technology Tools

New York - Schoology, the leading K-12 learning management and assessment platform, recently launched its “Certified Partner Program” to ensure its customers across the country have access to the very best education technology products and services.

Schoology already integrates with hundreds of ed-tech tools, student information systems, and education platforms. The Certified Partner Program gives these companies the opportunity to elevate their status to Schoology users and provide users with a more integrated experience.

“Building off of our existing partnerships, the Schoology Certified Partner Program will help ensure that we are offering the very best ed-tech tools and resources, so teachers and students have every educational resource at their fingertips,” said Jeremy Friedman, co-founder, and CEO of Schoology. “It reflects our ongoing effort to build the most integrated K-12 learning management and assessment platform while highlighting some of our best partners to our network of nearly 2,000 school districts.”

Schoology gives Certified Partners dedicated marketing and business development support as well as technical assistance to ensure their products are fully integrated into Schoology. Meanwhile, Schoology customers benefit from the availability of hundreds of outstanding ed-tech tools that operate seamlessly together.

The following companies are the first to join the Certified Partner Program:

• CypherWorx, a provider of performance solutions and content, with a mission to serve industries requiring professional development.

• Edgenuity, a provider of online and blended learning solutions for K-12 students including core and credit recovery courses, and intervention and test readiness programs.

• Edmentum, delivers research-based digital curriculum, assessments, and practice items aligned to state standards, making it easier for educators to individualize learning.

• Education Modified, an ed-tech company that uses data analytics to improve outcomes for special needs students.

• McGraw-Hill Education, a learning science company delivering personalized learning experiences that help students, parents, educators, and professionals drive results.

• Nearpod, a tool for teachers to engage students with interactive lessons.

• Writable, a writing tool that saves teachers time on prep and grading, while helping schools organize their writing programs.

Melissa Corto, CEO of Education Modified, said user experience and teacher workflow was an important factor when choosing a partner.

“After working with their team and listening to Schoology customers, I really believe Schoology’s partner program will add value to Education Modified because of its commitment to our success and to bringing our company to the next level,” said Corto.

Schoology’s goal with the Certified Partner Program is to ensure an immediate return on investment for all partners while building an ecosystem of great ed-tech tools that will help ensure customers’ success.