How I Use It
Schoology has some great features, but the more that I use them, the more problems I have with my grade book. I love the student completion feature. I can see exactly what percentage of assignments my students have completed for a course. I can see which assignments are missing, and they can easily track which assignments are missing. However, when you enter a student completion rule, it automatically deletes any due date that you had on that assignment. There is a hack many teachers have found, but it is time-consuming.
I also like the lock feature that prohibits a student from turning in an assignment. I would like to lock assignments so that they can no longer be completed a week or so after the due date. However, when I lock an assignment, the due date is deleted and the order of assignments gets shuffled in the grade book as well. Parents and teachers have no way of looking back and seeing when that assignment their child scored poorly on or didn't complete was due.
I like that I can organize Schoology and have folders for each week, and within them, I can have folders for each day. I can also create assessments that are easy to grade (some grade themselves). However, these assessments are not very engaging when compared to assessments made in Google Slides or Nearpod.
Some applications like Nearpod are supposed to integrate with Schoology, but they do not work well with the platform. Google Docs and Slides integrate beautifully, and if you can use a combination of Google products with Schoology and Kami, you will have great success and be able engage your students. These products used in conjunction with Schoology make it fairly easy for students to turn in work and for teachers to assign it. However, applications like Nearpod and Edpuzzle do not integrate as well. Storyworks by Scholastic is supposed to integrate, but it really doesn't at all. Many of these apps work from time to time in Schoology, but they do not transfer any data. So when Schoology says that it "integrates", they just mean that the apps will open in a window inside of Schoology. There is no sharing or transferring of data from these apps to the gradebook in Schoology. You also cannot use student completion rules with these apps. It doesn't work. You may as well place a link that opens in a separate window.
If your district does not have Google or Microsoft products to integrate with Schoology, you have very little that you can do with it. Also, without these products, turning in work is incredibly confusing for children. I teach fourth graders, and even with lots of coaching on Zoom and instructional videos, my students were confused. Their parents didn't understand how to use the platform either, even after several weeks of trying to learn it.
One or two of my students caught on within only a few weeks. The rest needed several months, and even then, they couldn't figure out how to submit assignments.
The messaging feature is pretty easy to use, but there is no way to find old messages between a teacher and student or a teacher and their parents. They can be read once, and they they are nearly impossible to find again.
Schoology is a great concept. There are many excellent features. However, it is difficult to use and causes a great deal of frustration for teachers and students alike. I believe these things could be fixed and with some updates, this could be an incredible resource for schools.