Website review by Carrie Garges, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2020

Schoology

Free LMS for digital classrooms packed with possibilities

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 70 reviews
Privacy rating
63%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
5–12
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration

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Pros: Features and integrations galore! There's enough variety and flexibility to tailor it to the needs and curriculum of just about any teacher.

Cons: First-time users will be overwhelmed and will need to take the time to carefully set things up and learn features as they're needed.

Bottom Line: This is an LMS that offers rich learning and collaboration experiences when matched with creative tasks and assessments.

Because of Schoology's array of features and possibilities, teachers should try a gradual rollout. Start out by creating a host course for additional resources like videos or informational text, practice assessments, and homework help discussions. After students feel comfortable with general navigation and use, teachers can engage students in rigorous tasks, assessments, and discussions using teacher-designed and -uploaded curriculum. Teachers can even evaluate and provide feedback to student work on the site, and then allow for students to apply the feedback and resubmit assignments to demonstrate growth.

Schoology's improved integration with Google and Microsoft opens new doors for creating a more engaging curriculum that fits with tools teachers already use. Google slides or docs are a snap to attach or embed into a class page. Schoology even creates a unique copy for each individual as they open the assignment link.

Those interested in boosting a connection between school and the home might create a parent or grade-level group and post class activities and school announcements there. Teachers and school administrators can also store important resources in group folders that everyone can access for support. 

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Schoology is a web-based learning management system (LMS). Teachers can create and assign a slew of creative tasks, which students can access through the website as well as through iOS, Android, and Chrome apps. While individual teachers can use the free, basic account, schools or districts can pay for the enterprise version, which includes additional audio, student progress, and support features as well as all the administrative features necessary to manage hundreds of users and many different courses.

Course materials can be organized to suit any teacher's style, while the collapsible folder design keeps the page clean and neat. Schoology can use a variety of assignments, such as links to course readings, embed videos, even discussion posts that will engage students in productive conversations. There are also many ways for students to demonstrate learning, like completing quiz or test questions, uploading images or audio, or uploading project files.

Teachers can create assessments and track student performance using Schoology's built-in gradebook. It's fairly flexible, allowing teachers the option to grade by points or percentages. Teachers can also align objectives to each question or assessment or even to an entire course to track student mastery.  Assignments can be set for automatic grading, or rubrics can be created for more detailed feedback. Unlike some other platforms, assessment question styles aren't limited to multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank; instead, Schoology provides 18 question types, including uploading audio or video as well as highlighting and labeling images.

Editor's Note: At the time of this review, users are temporarily prevented from creating Basic accounts due to increased demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers from across grade levels and curriculum will find Schoology useful due to its many features and customizability, especially for designing tasks and assessments. It's a perfect platform for skill extension, content scaffolding, and time management, especially for more tech-savvy secondary students who can better navigate the interface and participate. There's no shortage of options to customize the learning environment and differentiate for individual student needs, including but not limited to tons of different assessment types from typical question formats to media contribution. To make organization and workflow easier, unique assignments, assessments, and even whole folders of content can be assigned to individuals or grading groups for easy differentiation. Not only can teachers upload audio or video directions for assignments or assessment questions, but younger students, or students with special needs, can record their responses as well. Teachers can provide quick feedback and communication to students and parents and can keep track of student progress using badges, a gradebook, email/app notifications, and workload monitoring (with the Enterprise version). However, all of this isn't necessarily apparent out-of-the-box, so to speak. So teachers will need to take quite a bit of time to sort through the support materials, play around, and build up their digital classroom piece by piece. However, with thoughtful, gradual implementation and consistent use, students and teachers will be able to upload, create, collaborate, and check progress with relative ease.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Teachers can customize the platform to their students and build creative assignments, breathing variety into digital learning.

Pedagogy

Teachers can upload resources, initiate collaborative tasks and discussions, annotate/evaluate writing, and design meaningful assessments with relative ease. 

Support

There's a help button conveniently located on every page, and an extensive set of guides and advice in the Resources section of the site. 300+ integrations allow useful connections to other apps.


Common Sense reviewer
Carrie Garges Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Tobin S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Harbor Creek School District
Harborcreek, United States
Great Disappointment - Instability with Service Outages
If you are not a technically adept person who is not motivated to develop their own content, this isn't for you. Also, if Schoology doesn't overcome the service reliability issues I would not recommend it. I am extremely frustrated and disappointed after creating material for 3 entire levels on this software. As for PowerSchool, if you are a decision-maker, avoid it at all costs. Older grading programs I used had more features, capability and reliability than PowerSchool.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users cannot interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is not shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted advertising.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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