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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
Hello, I'm Erin and welcome to another week in our teacher tips series. Today we are going to take a look at Schoology. Schoology is a learning management system that is free to use for educators. One of the powerful features of Schoology is its ability to integrate with Google Apps. So today we're going to go ahead and review the learning management system and how to use it. As well as talk about how we can integrate our Google Apps account directly with Schoology. If you don't have a Schoology account, you can get started by clicking the Sign Up button in the upper right hand corner.
I'm going to go ahead and log in to my Schoology account, so we can become familiar with the layout and start creating classes. Inside of our Schoology account, the very top section, this gray bar, is our main navigation, home, courses, groups, resources, as well as our account navigation will always be visible to us. Even if we're inside of a course or looking at an individual student. On the left hand side of our main navigation, we can look at our recent activity. Things that are happening across all of our courses or inside any communities that we're following. I can access a calendar that's going to also include all of my courses.
I can send messages to both other teachers as well as students. I can view the students that I collaborate with as well as teachers that I collaborate with. I can subscribe to external services so that I can information flowing right from the web inside of Schoology. There's even an app center that I can use to enrich my Schoology experience. Because Schoology is a learning management system, however, the real power comes when I can create a class, provide resources for students and then give students the ability to access that class online. Let's go ahead and dive right into that. Under the Courses tab at the top, I'm going to go ahead and choose Create.
I'm going to create a life science class. And instead of having the section name be section one, I'm going to go ahead and call this Period One. The subject area, I will choose Science. And for grade level, I'm going to put seventh grade. You also have the opportunity to add a range of this point. For example, if you taught fourth and fifth grade math, and you wanted to have all of your math students access one individual course. You could put a great range in here and then give every single student the same access code. Lets go ahead and click the create button. So now, I'm in a class view. I've already created my LifeScience class and I'm at the class homepage.
In the middle of the page I have an overview of the class. Currently, there is no assignments or quizzes or files. There is no discussions. I haven't added any albums and there's no additional pages. On the left hand side I have the main course navigation. Currently I'm looking at the materials of the course, which is the default home page. I can also look at updates or things that have happened inside the course. I can view the grade book for the course and we'll talk about the two versions of grade book in a second. I can also go into my attendance taker so I can choose which students are present and which are absent. I can view all of the members of the class and I can even look at class analytic to help inform future instruction.
Setting a course up is fairly simple. All you have to do is just add materials to the course and then students can access these materials as you desire. For example, I can quickly come into tests and quizzes and I could go ahead and add or create a test and quiz. I can give a name to this quiz, I can add questions to it, and then my students would be able to log on and take this quiz. Furthermore, when it comes to grading, Schoology works really well from lower elementary all the way through even college age students. Here I have the opportunity to do actual grades, or I can select badges.
Badges are a way to give students visual indicators of how they're doing in the class. For example, perfect attendance or leadership, either star performer, student of the month. Badges will be more appropriate for the younger grade levels, not necessarily older grade levels. If you'd like Schoology to be your entire classroom, I recommend using the regular grading system so that way at the end of the course you can go ahead and export those grades to whatever system your school uses. Let's go and scroll back up to the top. Now, let's go ahead and open up our course options. As you're first starting your course, it's important to make sure you've got everything set up properly.
I'm going to go ahead and edit the info for this particular course. The first screen we come to is the exact screen we used when we created the course. We have the course name, we can change the section name. We have the area as well as the grade level. I can now go in, however, and change some of the course details. I can add description and a location. I can choose what day of the week that this course meets on. I can also go into the privacy settings for the course. I can choose what areas of the course are visible to which particular users including at the school level. This schoology level, or even everyone. I can also come into external tools.
And here I can go ahead and link some external tools to my schoology. For example, if your school has a subscription to online videos, you might be able to make those resources directly visible inside of your schoology account. I can also choose to moderate all posts inside of my course. If I'm using this course with younger grades, and I don't want them to be able to post to every single user without me the teacher, first approving that, then I might go ahead and enable moderation. So that every single post we get routed through me, and I can choose whether or not to let it pass on to the final user. And then finally there's a Recycle Bin, if at any time you delete documents from your course, you could always come back to the recycled bin to re-establish those.
In addition to setting up your course, you also have the ability to create and join groups. Groups are a great way for teachers to do collaborative planning. For example, you might want to have a group that is your teaching team inside of your building. If you are a home school, you may want to find a group that has other home school teachers involved with it. That way you guys can share best ideas and practices as you work towards helping your students do the best they can. Also, there's a resource section, where you can look at your personal resources, but you can also go out and look at your public resources. If you have a group established, you can also share resources here among your group.
Here you can find a variety of resources you can integrate straight into the class you have inside of Schoology. You can also then link assignments to these resources and make them available to your students. Anytime inside of Schoology you can always go up to your course, re-access the course you're trying to work on, and continue to add assignments, tests, and quizzes, and then make it available for students. The way students access this course is fairly simple. You have an access code that's created in the bottom left hand corner from the school home page. Here students can simply take this access code and from the Schoology home page go ahead and create an account.
I'm going to log out to show you this process real quick. Students would sign up the exact same way a teacher does except for when they click the signup button, they're going to choose student. Here they'd enter the access code that you provide to them and they would click Continue. At this time the student needs to put in their first name, last name, email address, password and confirmation and their date of birth. Students can also choose whether or not to receive periodic Schoology updates. Please keep in mind that every student needs to have a functioning email address. The email address is how they're going to verify their account as well as how you the teacher can communicate with your student inside of Schoology.
The next step is to look at how we can take our Google Apps account to integrate it with Schoology to make sharing of resources and calendars seamless.
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