Watch How Troy School District is Transforming Education
I'm obsessed with stories. Stories bind cultures and mobilize peoples. They inspire us, entertain us, and ripple moment-to-moment throughout our lives shaping who we are and how we view the world.
The best part about stories is that everyone has one.
Today marks the beginning of a new project at Schoology designed to magnify stories throughout our educational community via high-quality, on-site video production. It's called the Advance What's Possible Campaign, and the first story of many to come is ready for your viewing pleasure.
Below, you'll meet Gareth Eve and Ron Keoleian of Troy School District (TSD) in Troy, MI. They gave our team a tour of their district and shared how they are transforming learning.
After you watch this video, visit our Advance What's Possible page for more stories (and even let us know if you'd like to share your own).
The Road to Educational Transformation: Troy School District
See more stories on our Advance What's Possible page
Ron Keoleian: Troy, Michigan, is a suburb outside of Detroit. We are a school district of 1,300 students. Our core values are to focus direction, deepen learning and create a collaborative culture. We think that Schoology does a great job of helping kids achieve all three of those.
Gareth Eve: My name is Gareth Eve. I work in the Troy school district at Smith Middle School. I teach math classes, digital apps and creation lab.
Ron Keoleian: My name is Ron Keolejan and I've worked in the Troy school district for 13 years. I teach in the morning and in the afternoon I do tech integration from grades kindergarten to twelfth grade.
Gareth Eve: Toy school district goals really are focused on that deep learning. We really want to push students thinking outside the box and not just repeating facts.
Ron Keoleian: We decided as a school district, with the community and teachers and students and all these different stakeholders, to go one-to-one. With the one-to-one initiative one of the things we wanted to do is find a way to use the iPad and find a way for teachers, students and parents to easily communicate, collaborate.
So we did a bunch of research and we got teachers altogether and we played with a lot of different learning management systems out there. The one that we chose three years ago now was Schoology.
Gareth Eve: To increase the buy-in of Schoology was pretty simple. I invited teachers to come to my classroom to check out what we were doing and the cool things. I think really word of mouth of the students. They were finally saying, "Hey, I don't know what this homework is, can you post it on Schoology?" Teachers then say, "Hey, what is this thing, Schoology?" The kids organically grew this, that this was a tool that they really needed to be successful.
Ron Keoleian: I think it's really awesome that for a district of 1,300, 500,000 visits to Schoology every month. We have 20,000 discussion posts every month. To see this take off and allow teachers and parents and students to do what's best for them on the platform is really cool to see.
Gareth Eve: We use Schoology all the time to communicate with parents. Number one, I don't think it's a deliberate communication, number one for me is the transparency. The class is open, any parent can see what we're doing on a daily basis through Schoology.
Ron Keoleian: The one thing is, we told teachers early on, we try to make it as simple as possible. Put your materials on there, figure out the grade book and send some updates. Then we knew, just like we did, that teachers would go investigating within it to find all the cool things that could benefit them within Schoology. That's when it took off and our jobs almost got easier.
Gareth Eve: Schoology feature I cannot live without is the ability for students to either import pictures or videos. When you get the media in there it's where it really shines and gets people interested. The kids really appreciate that too.
If I had to give advice to a new teacher using Schoology it would be just to go for it. They really need to setup a page, turn on the updates and let the kids go wild with it. That's really where they're going to take control of the community, because it really needs to be a collaboration between students and the teacher. I think when you break those walls down, it's when the best learning can happen.
Ron Keoleian: Now, going into year four of Schoology, one of the things that I love is that every time we have a training session it's not necessarily about how to use Schoology, it's more how I can make my teaching and the students' learning better with the tools of Schoology.