OPINION: Why the switch to Schoology should not happen

Image from Schoology.

Image from Schoology.

Katie Kempff, Editor-in-Chief

When I open my computer, Chrome knows exactly which website I want to visit within a few moments. As soon as I type a “c”, it brings me to Google Classroom. An “s”, and it sends me to Schoology. 

In the past few years, I have visited these sites so often that I could probably navigate to them with my eyes closed.

At this point in time, school and technology are inseparable. The use of online platforms to complete assignments, take tests, study, and grade has modernized the school experience. These platforms have been incredibly important in the current era of COVID-19, when online school became a necessity. The most common of these platforms, Google Classroom and Schoology, are certainly familiar to almost any East student.

Recently, however, there have been complaints that the use of different platforms can be a hindrance to learning. Currently, some teachers and departments use Google Classroom, others primarily utilize Schoology, and some use a combination of the two.

Some students, parents, and teachers believe that this inconsistency in chosen platforms has made learning more difficult for students. I will not deny that having to check multiple platforms a day can sometimes be tedious. Students have complained for years that they sometimes miss assignments because they did not remember to search for it on a certain online platform, or that they become easily overwhelmed by the lack of unity in online teaching.

Because of these complaints, the district has imposed a new policy for teachers beginning in 2022: all teachers must utilize Schoology in their classes, rather than Google Classroom. While I certainly support a move toward a common platform, this is the wrong decision.

While there are certain aspects of Schoology which may make it appealing to teachers, there is no denying that it is more difficult for students to navigate. In every one of my classes that have used Schoology, I have heard numerous complaints. The interface is not user-friendly, it is extremely difficult to move information from one semester to another, and it effectively limits opportunities for students to study off of their old assignments or turn in assignments late.   

Google Classroom, while perhaps less advanced than Schoology, is the better platform to use in a school district which embraces Google products and platforms in every other aspect of learning. The synchronicity between Google Classroom and Google Drive, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and other platforms makes it a seamless transition between working on an assignment and turning it in.

Schoology also makes it difficult to view or edit documents that you have previously turned in to teachers. While it is obviously important that students cannot edit documents after they have turned them in to be graded, there are benefits to viewing assignments while they are being graded for the purpose of studying.

In addition, shifting over from Google Classroom is sure to cause confusion for many teachers who have been using Classroom for years. While this transition may be aided by the District’s insistence that teachers familiarize themselves with Schoology, my experience of teacher struggles with technology throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have led me to believe that they will continue to struggle.

I have experienced more technical difficulties and confusion in my few classes that have used Schoology than in all of my other classes combined. The platform is not user-friendly and is inferior to Google Classroom in all of the ways that matter to students. 

If this transition is necessary, though, the District is still choosing a poor time to make it. In the coming school years, we should all focus on a return to normalcy – and that includes the platform which is the easiest for students to navigate, and one which all members of the East community are familiar with. 

In my discussions with my peers, friends, and multiple teachers, they all oppose the shift to Schoology. The District needs to reconsider their chosen platform. They should ask the East community their preference before forcing them to utilize a platform that is potentially detrimental to learning.