Schoology vs. Google Classroom: 8 Common Questions Answered
We don’t have to tell you that technology is a powerful tool for educators—you already know that. We also know that using it can be an adjustment at first, which is why many teachers or districts begin their edtech journey with Google Classroom and other productivity tools. But, for districts to continue to grow and take digital learning to the next level, they need more than just a classroom solution. They need something that can scale and have a broader impact.
So, what do you do? You graduate to a full-fledged Learning Management System (LMS).
Last week, Tara Amsterdam, an Instructional Technology Coach from Colonial ISD, joined us in a webinar to discuss her district’s adoption of a district-wide LMS. She spent the hour discussing the difference between Google Classroom and Schoology, how having a district-wide LMS has impacted not only her teaching, but communication and collaboration for her district as a whole, and much more.
If you missed it or want a recap, check out the full webinar below.
During the webinar, we had a ton of great questions come in that we thought all educators could benefit from hearing the answers to. So, we figured we’d take the time to answer them now.
What are the major differences between Google Classroom and Schoology?
Google Classroom is a free file-sharing tool that teachers use to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. Schoology is a scalable district-wide Learning Management System that enables K-12 districts to be successful by increasing student engagement, impacting teacher effectiveness, infusing districts with more data, and transforming school districts into open collaborative teaching and learning environments.
Google Classroom is a first step to a Learning Management System.
Can you use Google Drive with the Schoology platform?
Yes. In fact -The best way to use Google Drive is with Schoology. Schoology’s apps allow you to not only embed content from Google Drive directly into your course but also allows you to use Google Docs as assignments. This means you can automatically make a copy of a Google Doc for each student with a single click while still using Schoology’s grading and collaboration features.
Which tool has better integration functionality? (For all you tech nerds out there)
That is a tough question to answer because it depends on who you are as a user. If you are a very tech-savvy user or software engineer, Google Classroom’s API allows you to provision and manage classes, and allows developers to integrate applications with Classroom. If you are not as familiar with coding and APIs, then integrating with other systems is going to be tough.
That is why Schoology supports a wide variety of content formats, including LTI and QTI-compliant content, Web Content, Common Cartridge, and SCROM packages. Of course, we also have a public facing API but we know that most users aren’t software developers. That is why we strive to be the most open LMS on the market - allowing districts to seamlessly integrate new and existing content created in-house or through many vendors.
Which tool is better for integrations of all our EdTech tools? (SIS, BrainPop, etc)?
Google Classroom does not provide a central hub to house and access all the tech tools used in the classroom—it’s an additional tool.
A full-fledged LMS provides schools and districts with a centralized digital location and a common language. Districts are able to utilize this digital environment for so much more than just instruction. Schoology integrates with BrainPop, Quizlet, Nearpod, Padlet, Flipgrid, and just about every other tool you use. Schoology also integrates with all major SIS players like PowerSchool, Infinite Campus, Aeries, Synergy, Skyward, eSchool, FOCUS, Progress Book, Illuminate, and many others including in-house SISs.
Does Google Classroom integrate with Schoology?
No. Google Classroom does not integrate with Schoology, but Google Tools integrates with Schoology. As mentioned above, educators can use all of their favorite Google tools like Docs, Sheets, and Slides as well as YouTube and other tools right inside Schoology.
Why would we switch to Schoology when Google Classroom is free?
Google Classrooms is a stepping stone to a full-fledged LMS.
Above we mentioned a full-fledged LMS will provide districts with better integrations for tech tools and SISs. With that said, Schoology is a unified system that brings all your learning tools together, district-wide. The average teacher uses 8-12 tech tools each day in addition to their SIS. That means that in order for teachers to gain a true picture of their students progress, they have to jump around from system to system. If it’s confusing for teachers, think about how the students feel. They jump around from tool to tool with different logins and are unsure of where to access and submit their work. So while all the tech tools may look really exciting when you walk into the classroom, it is essential to take a look at how these tools are actually impacting student learning and teacher effectiveness. A tech tool can be really interesting but if it doesn’t improve learning, it’s not really valuable.
“Schoology is the all encompassing umbrella for our teachers, admin, support staff, paraprofessionals, secretaries, psychologists and everyone involved in the school”
- Tara Amsterdam, Instructional Tech Coach, Colonial ISD
My teachers are resistant to change and really like Classroom, help?
Tara Amsterdam, an Instructional Technology Coach at Colonial ISD, had a similar problem. She built a whole PD program that breaks down the differences between Google Classroom, Google Tools and Schoology. It also outlines how you can use Google Tools with Schoology. This enabled teachers to be more effective in helping their students increase outcomes and performance, and foster collaboration.
Often, teachers don’t like change because they don’t understand the change. It helps to educate teachers about the differences between Google Classroom and Schoology, as well as help them see why the school or district is making the change. If teachers understand how a full-fledged LMS will save them time, improve their effectiveness and increase student engagement, they’re more likely to welcome change. We’ve also seen a lot of districts bring teachers into the evaluation process to advocate for what they need in a tool.
If you're interested in learning more about Tara's PD program, you can view it here.
Are we able to link videos into the system from Schoology? How about quizzes? Tests?
A full-featured LMS supports any instructional practice with tools for differentiating, individualizing, and personalizing learning; gamification; flipped learning; standards-based mastery learning, and tests and quizzes. In Google Classroom, you can’t align tests and quizzes to learning objectives, standards-based grading or customized rubrics - which is something you can do with a full-fledged LMS.