A New School Year and a Switch to Schoology

A New School Year and a Switch to Schoology

Jenna Saltzman

It’s almost a month into the new school year and so far everyone has been adjusting to their new schedule. However, this year all across the district there was an eminent change in how students and teachers will be working. As of last year, the school board has finalized the decision to make a most likely permanent switch from Google Classroom to Schoology. 

According to Principal Donovan, the plan to switch to Schoology has been in the making for around a year and a half to two years but was put on pause during the pandemic. In preparation for the new platform Principal Donovan stated that he along with some teachers had  “made up their own classrooms in Schoology to test it before it came out.” 

One of those teachers being Christine Riter, from the social studies department, was one of the pilot teachers for the platform. “ It was a joint learning experience where my students last year and I experienced the new platform together.” 

Riter, along with every teacher in the district, was first made aware of the switch to Schoology late spring of last year when professional development meetings were held to introduce the platform. 

“Last year teachers from every department were asked to volunteer to pilot Schoology and being the only teacher from the social studies department to volunteer, I was chosen.” Compared to Google Classroom, Riter stated that she believes grading and creating assessments on Schoology is one of the platform’s better aspects. Along with that, she added that her students last year liked the app and even preferred it over the website. 

When asked whether she believes the new platform could affect students’ grades, Riter responded “I don’t believe it will have an impact on students’ grades because I don’t think teachers would allow that to be a factor. Once students get past the learning curve of a different platform it should become less of a concern.” 

While a majority of students have expressed feelings of anger and annoyance with the new platform, some of DHS’s teachers have answered questions regarding the platform and what they believe can be done to give students and teachers the online resources they need to have a successful school year. 

One anonymous student conveyed their strong hatred for the platform when stating “Looking at Schoology makes me wish I could graduate school earlier.” More students emphasized their annoyance with the platform’s layout, collectively agreeing that one of their main complaints is how you can’t tell whether something turned in or not. “It looks like 2000s Facebook.” 

When asked how students believe teachers feel about the platform, an anonymous student replied “You know that the teachers don’t like Schoology because they keep on assigning us work on paper that they would not have done last year” adding on, “ if you had asked me a year ago on whether I wanted to use paper or online, I would have said online but now, I would prefer anything over Schoology.” 

When asking teachers what they feel is the hardest part about the switch to Schoology, a majority stated that they feel the platform is not as user friendly compared to Google Classroom. Chris Staffieri, from the social studies department, shared his universal belief  that “the UI for Schoology is convoluted.”

Kristin DiMarino, a teacher from the health education department added that a difficult part of adjusting to Schoology for teachers is “figuring out the best way to do something when there are ten different ways to do it.” 

Along with that, Doug Belliveou from the English department stated that one of the main reasons he believes the switch to Schoology is so frustrating for some teachers is because “Teachers developed a lot of tools during the pandemic that many feel they cannot use as effectively with Schoology.” 

When asked whether there are any features on Google Classroom that teachers would like to see added to Schoology, Rich Holmes, from the social studies department, answered communication with entire classes as well as parents. “I know they have a Parent Square, but that is just another platform we have to figure out.” Holmes emphasized that he along with other teachers are frustrated with the many new platforms they have to figure out which ultimately makes teaching more difficult. 

Despite a majority of teachers and students wishing to go back to Google Classroom, Schoology is here to stay and as a result everybody in the district will have to adjust to the new platform.