In 2016-2017, the district launched Schoology, a new online platform where Mason City Schools teachers, students, and families collaborate. It allows users to create, manage, and share content. Schoology uses a cloud based storage system for managing an online classroom. Teachers use the site to use an online grade book, post discussion questions, homework, files, links, and other information. Students are able to access all class information, take quizzes and tests, upload files through an online dropbox, participate in class discussions, stay organized with a school calendar, download and print files from home, and much more. Families are able to observe their child’s assignments and calendars while staying involved in their education. Schoology has the look and the feel of Facebook with many different functions that are necessary for the classroom.
Learning Managements Systems, like Schoology, can help re-imagine the old spiral bound gradebook and lesson planner into something we’ve never seen before. By tapping into a deeply connected system, we are better able to understand the learning needs and strengths of each student. Instead of an old paper and pencil test which average all information together into a single score, Learning Management Systems allow us to give tests, quizzes, projects, and assignments that not only give a grade score, but also allows us to segregate data by intended learning outcome and state, national, or industry standard.
Schoology also helps advance our goals for superb communication with families. Student performance data is updated live instead of via biweekly grade upload. Assignments, grade reports, calendar items, and learning outcomes are all linked to one another so parents and students can quickly find the information that they need.