- 1,600 students
“Sometimes we feel like we’re Schoology’s only customer. We have never had such incredible support from a vendor.”
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
Getting the Most From a 1:1 Mobile Device Implementation with Schoology
Small district chooses Schoology to support its 1:1 iPad® implementation in order to streamline content sharing, collaboration, and communication.
When Fairview School District needed to replace laptops, district leaders decided to step back and determine their 1:1 learning goals before choosing their next devices. They also identified specific skills they wanted students to learn. District leaders wanted to foster more independent learning and classrooms with differentiated instruction and greater collaboration. These goals reflected a shift in district philosophy to a more student-focused approach to learning.
District leaders chose iPads as their primary device. As they researched instruction and communication tools, they wanted all stakeholder communication in one place for students, teachers, parents, and administration. After seeing a demo, the tech committee unanimously decided to adopt Schoology as the district’s learning management system. Fairview chose Schoology because it supported district goals as well as making communication among stakeholders easier, more efficient, and more transparent.
Schoology lets teachers individually assign tasks to students according to their specific needs. This is all done with complete anonymity, as students cannot see each other’s assignments—only their own. Teachers have multiple ways to present students with instructional information and give assignments, such as text, video, and audio, and students can choose the method(s) that work best for them. This has helped Fairview foster student-centered learning. Schoology contains the entire learning path—process, content, tasks, assessments, and communications.
Fairview district leaders were initially concerned about Schoology’s integration with their student information system (SIS), so Schoology worked directly with the SIS provider and found a solution in just one day. “Sometimes we feel like we’re Schoology’s only customer, “said Justin Zona, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. “We have never had such incredible support from a vendor.”
Zona went on to say that Fairview’s stakeholders were immediately comfortable with the Schoology platform because it looked so much like social media. The middle school and high schools were fully implemented within five weeks. Teachers were “all in” after only seven hours of training—one summer in-service day and one to two hours at the beginning of the school year. Schoology’s ease of use and efficiency made adoption simpler for everyone. Even low-tech teachers had confidence resulting in quick and efficient implementation. Parents had been asking for more transparency and better communication tools, and Schoology put them all in one place.
Schoology played an integral role in achieving the district’s learning goals and objectives months ahead of schedule, allowing the district to effectively implement the 1:1 iPad initiative for middle and high school. Teachers credit Schoology with showing students how to use the iPads for instruction rather than just entertainment. Students now work at their own pace and have some choice about how they demonstrate their knowledge because Schoology allows teachers to assess students in nontraditional ways. For example, as an alternative to a worksheet or test, students can demonstrate their knowledge by capturing a video or creating an audio presentation. Schoology makes these tasks easy and helps students develop 21st century skills.
Student engagement is leading to higher student achievement. Students also appreciate the flexibility that Schoology offers—particularly those students who were homework challenged. For them, Schoology has been transformational by providing multiple options to demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency within the platform.
High school ELA teacher and technology integrator Pam Stevens reports that high school students had been accustomed to collaboration and to finding and sharing resources, using Google Apps for Education. “But Schoology is now the center of activity. It guides students via assignments, discussions, and rubrics. It also facilitates collaboration with students and teachers.” Stevens appreciates the ability to build multi-grade groups in Schoology. This allows some topic areas, such as writing skills development, to expand beyond individual class grades. It provides benefits to both younger and older students as they share ideas about writing.
By streamlining content sharing, collaboration, and communication with Schoology, Fairview has maximized their return on investment in new devices. But Justin Zona is quick to add, “It’s not the iPad that’s changing the game. It’s Schoology!” Fostering independent learning empowers both teachers and students. Students with choice and flexibility are exceeding the district’s expectations. “We like to think it’s not a new strategy to challenge our students,” says Pam Stevens, “but Schoology and iPads pushed it up a notch.”