Thanks to Facebook, I no longer have anything to talk about when I see you in person. And my students don’t have anything to talk about either.  Except Facebook.  So instead of trying to fight them and industrialize them to the school setting where NO FACEBOOK IS ALLOWED, I am going to make it a teachable moment.  I am going to grab Facebook by the well… face… and I am going to make these students wish they never friended me on Facebook because I am gonna stalk them and grill them about who said what the next day and tag them in embarrassing photos of them actually doing schoolwork or reading and I’m going to comment on every single post they make and I’m going to tag them in posts I make and invite them to homework events and…. YAH! That’s what I’m gonna do.

If only Facebook wasn’t blocked at school.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

So… I dreamed a dreamed and I wished a wish and POOF! Out came a handy-dandy little Web 2.0 tool from my fairy web-godmother (AKA course director, Rena Hanaway), and confirmation that this tool was worth the while and maybe even somewhat cool to students, from my mid-life teacher classmate, Glenn. So what is the handy-dandy little Web 2.0 tool, you ask? Why… it’s..

Lately, I have been so conflicted between following school protocol (no matter how unwarranted restrictions are) and doing what I know is best for my students and providing the optimal learning environment for them. As it currently stands in my district, these two are NOT the same. Yes, I can make do with what I have. Yes, I can make learning fun and interesting without the use of Facebook. Yes, I can communicate with my students and their parents via some other outlet. But I don’t wanna. I wanna use Facebook, darn it.

But,  apparently there is something better out there than Facebooking in education and after hearing about Schoology from more than one colleague, I decided it was high time to check it out for myself. Schoology is a LMS (Learning Management System) based on social networking that seems to easily navigable and as accessible and engaging as Facebook. The basic premiss of Schoology is using social media tools to improve communication and collaboration.

A rather unique  advantage of using Schoology is the extent of features available for free in this hosted solution (For more information see the Emerging Ed Tech Blog.)

Academic Features 

  • Class Profiles/Webpages
  • Create Assignments & Events
  • Create Tests & Quizzes
  • Manage Gradebook & Attendance
  • Online Dropboxes
  • Track Student Usage & Course Analytics
  • Mobile Applications Coming Soon

Social Features

  • Cross-School Networking & Private Messaging
  • Group Workspaces for Departments, PTA, Clubs, Teams, & More
  • Blogs & Profile Pages
  • Personal File Storage / Bookmarking

Management Features

  • School, Course, Group & Personal Calendars
  • Email & SMS Text Notifications
  • Privacy Control & Word Filters

Administrative Features

  • Email Address and Username Support
  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
  • Import / Export Courses, Users, & Grades
  • School Vanity URL
  • Parent / Guardian Access

Get Started

Once you have logged in to Schoology for the first time, as a teacher/administrator, you will be guided step-by-step to manage your courses.

 Add Content to Courses

After you have named your course that you want to manage, you will be taken to a dashboard where you can manage all of the course content. Here you can add content, assignments, quizzes, documents, links, media, and so much more.

Edit Your Profile

Just as Facebook hosts a social media feature of profiles, so does Schoology. Students and teachers can manage their own profiles, post updates and reply to comments. Schoology automatically monitors the comments feed for inappropriate conversations, language and other media.

I can’t wait to get started with my class! Although we only have a couple weeks of school left, I think this will be a great time to integrate this powerful tool and possible even use some of the data for my Challenge-Based Research project!


About Mindi Vandagriff

Proud fire fighter's wife. Energetic mom of two creative boys. Passionate teacher of everything {currently 4th grade}. Schoology Ambassador. Haiku Deck Guru. Closet #edtech geek. View all posts by Mindi Vandagriff

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