Tech Task #10 – Schoology and Edmodo

Our Tech Task this week in ECMP355 was to compare two online Learning Management Systems: Schoology and Edmodo

1. Edmodo is designed to facilitate an online learning environment, allowing teachers, students and parents to connect. The program allows for individual student attention and personalized learning. It allows you to set up online assignments, mark assignments and interact with multiple student groups.

2. Our favourite features on Edmodo are that it is visible and clear, easy to learn and appealing.

3. Some features, however, seem to be amiss.  There is no way that a parent can message the classroom teacher.  This creates an issue because if the parent has a problem with a grade or anything relating to assignments, or any questions, they do not have the ability to ask the teacher about the issue.  Likewise, the teacher does not appear to be able to message the parent.  One could argue that this would lead to an overflow of questions by parents towards teacher and overload the teacher with interjections.  However, the teacher should be able to send messages to the parents if they have any concerns regarding their student’s performance in the classroom.

4. The design is modelled after other social websites (Facebook), making it familiar and easy to use.

5. Edmodo and Schoology have a few similarities and differences. They both use a Facebook-like interface. Both programs allow for easy access for students and teachers. Both programs include some difficulty in parent interaction but Schoology has more than a viewer-only setup for parents. Schoology allows for different groups and courses while Edmodo works on a group basis that could be for a class or an after school group. The navigation on both are pretty straight forward. Schoology includes a recent activity page similar to Facebook’s News Feed.

6. Edmodo seems pretty easy to learn. The Teacher’s account seems to be the hardest to learn as there are many aspects involved. The teacher has complete control over the groups, assignments, marks, and comments. The students have a similar access except they cannot create new assignments. The students can only work within the groups created by the teachers. The parents do not have much to learn but this is balanced by the parents only getting viewable access.

7. As a student, these tools provide easy access to grades, assignments and connection with teachers.  Any questions or concerns can be instantly addressed and discussed.

8. I believe the parents would really appreciate something like this. I think parents should always have access to their children’s grades so that they can keep track of how they are doing. Coming from a personal point of view. My mother always demanded to see my marks and because of this it pushed me to succeed in school because I always wanted to impress her. Therefore this technology would be helpful because then the students could not hide their marks from their parents.

“I believe the Children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.”
Whitney Houston – RIP

9. Edmodo has a business model which does not seem to be quite profitable.  Though it has over 6 million users, the website is free to join, and also has a free downloadable app for iOS devices.  However, according to an article on Forbes.com, Edmodo “sees potential revenue in publisher promotions of classroom textbooks or materials,” meaning that they hope to be funded by school advertisment.

1. Similar to Edmodo, Schoology allows for Students, teachers and parents to connect, view assignments, activities and results as well as discuss the past, present and future.

2. Favourite features include the links to courses and groups as well as the discussion board.

3. Some features seem to be missing in comparison to Edmodo. Mostly the connection to the parents seem missing. It was hard to connect the parents into the program. Once they were connected, it was still difficult to message the parents or talk to them. The parent had to initiate the conversations for the teacher to talk to them. The teacher connection to the parents is better then Edmodo but is still difficult.

4. The design on Schoology is quite similar to Edmodo.  It is very clean cut, and quite Facebook-esque.  However, Schoology can be slightly more difficult to maneuver than Edmodo in the beginning.  It took a while for the teacher to find the access code for parents to be admitted to the site.  On the other hand, Schoology did have more features to Edmodo with regards to its title bar, adding the options of Courses, Groups, and Resources.

5.Edmodo and Schoology have a few similarities and differences. They both use a Facebook-like interface. Both programs allow for easy access for students and teachers. Both programs include some difficulty in parent interaction but Schoology has more than a viewer-only setup for parents. Schoology allows for different groups and courses while Edmodo works on a group basis that could be for a class or an after school group. The navigation on both are pretty straight forward. Schoology includes a recent activity page similar to Facebook’s News Feed.

6. I think that Schoology is also quite straightforward in regards to a learning curve. As you sign up, you know that there will be some new aspects to learn but the similarity to Facebook alleviates some of the challenges in learning. Similarly to Edmodo, the teacher’s account would be the hardest to learn. There is so much that the teacher can do and needs to do to allow students to be included in the courses or groups.

7. Schoology would be quite simple for students to learn. Most students are already learning to use many programs and can easily use internet-based devices. Schoology might be an easier way for some students to connect to the teacher and to stay on top of homework.

8.  Parents would be more keen on using Schoology as opposed to Edmodo because Schoology is more inclusive of the parent and gives them more “rights” in a sense.  For example, on Edmodo, parents can merely view their child’s marks and profile, where on Schoology they can also message the teacher if they have any concerns and the teacher can answer.

9. Schoology is a cloud based learning management system that incorporates social learning into its design. It is free to sign up for Schoology. Schoology’s business model is based on school sales and subscriptions, meaning that it can be used for free but encourages school support. Cempaka schools in Malaysia just announced a $1 million investment for the use of Schoology. For more information, check this article from Inside Higher Ed.

Although both of these systems have their own unique uses and functions, I cannot see myself using either of them in the classroom at this time.  This is not a question of the quality of the websites, however; merely a personal choice.  Unquestionably, the networks have their own perks and values that I can see potentially benefitting the learning of students and the connection between teachers, parents and students in a learning environment, but I feel hesitant to use a website as a learning tool so early in its stages of development.  Though both Edmodo and Schoology have been around for a few years, I would like to learn more about how effective they are in classrooms and what I could expect students to gain from its use before taking advantage of the network myself.
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