The Struggle is Real: Teachers Challenged to Adapt to Schoology

Social+Studies+teacher+Eugenia+Volkova+uses+Schoology+to+post+materials+for+her+Government+and+Economic+classes.

Social Studies teacher Eugenia Volkova uses Schoology to post materials for her Government and Economic classes.

Written by Ajay Nair

Journalism teacher Laura Negri opens Schoology and begins to search for her newspaper classes. It would be easy if they were grouped together, or sorted by class period, but she only has the course names and numbers and more than 50 different classes to search through to find the one section that has one particular student. Because she has so many classes listed—both first and second semesters all visible at the same time—she cannot use some of the functions that would let her move more quickly through the interface. In frustration, she begins to rename some of the sections after the one or two students in each, so that she can find them later.

“Getting used to any new program is difficult,” she said. “Schoology works its own way—not like eChalk or Google Classroom or other things I have used—so you have to learn how to organize your classes and assignments a new way. It takes a while to get the hang of it,” she said.

“And it was made for a conventional school, so there are some things about Kerr that are just harder to do.”

Social Studies teacher Eugenia Volkova began noticing the limitations of Schoology right after it was implemented.

“I don’t like that I am not able to address all of my classes [and] courses together. I have to post the same message several times. Though technology brings a lot of improvements, it can also seem to add a lot of unnecessary stress as well. If it doesn’t work properly, a lot of time is wasted while trying to fix the problem. So instead of improving the learning process, it actually impedes it.”

Technology Specialist Cynthia Payne says teachers need to be more experienced with Schoology first before they get the full benefits of it.

“The main con is that change is difficult for most people and the adjustment period is still going on. We are finding small things that drive us crazy, big things that don’t work as expected through the district network, and are going through normal growing pains,” she said.

“For the switch to be completely successful, it will be necessary for many people to review the traditional PAKs and move into a model that presents students with the material in a different format. This definitely won’t happen overnight.”

However, not all teachers had a hard time adapting to Schoology. Science teacher Clarissa Caro, who has been using Schoology since 2010, has found the learning management system to simplify the process of handling her classes.

“I love Schoology. It gives [me] so much flexibility and has increased communication with my students. I have students posting direct questions on assignments as well as send messages when the thought strikes instead of waiting until the next day to ask me something.”

When asked if Caro would want to revert back to eChalk, she said no.

“eChalk was a site that was mainly for posting things that was a one-way communication tool. That is ineffective when you want to give feedback on assignments. We are moving to a time where many of the courses that are offered at the college level are online, using learning management systems such as Schoology or Canvas,” she said.

“If we are supposed to be training students for the next step, Schoology offers a learning management system that will be similar to what they will see in their future.”