Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3.1.3 Tools within the LMS

Schoology is the LMS that I chose for my Navigate quest. The following are the academic features offered in this system:

  • Personalized Homepage 
Schoology aggregates all the academic information in one easy-to-use, familiar interface.
  • Course Profiles 
Schoology makes creating unique and flexible course profiles simple with a whole suite of student-centric content creation and learning tools and an easy-to-use, intuitive interface.
  • Flexible Instructional Tools
Schoology empowers instructors with the tools to easily differentiate instruction, pace students individually, and implement group-based learning.
  • Badges
With the ability to create custom badges using a choice of shapes, colors, and any image or animated GIF available on the web, educators are better able to build incentive and reinforce positive behavior in a fun way.
  • Calendar
Schoology's calendar is an easy-to-use, robust way to manage personal and course events, ensuring communication for all. Schoology’s calendars are color coded, provide automatic updating, and can synchronize with other web-based calendars such as Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar.
  • Online Assignment Submissions
Schoology's Assignment Submissions feature simplifies and centralizes the process of submitting, annotating, grading, and returning assignments so there's no unnecessary repetition.
  • Create Assignments and Events
Schoology’s robust content creation tools and user-friendly interface make creating diverse assignments and events simple. Created assignments and events are automatically organized in the course, group, and personal calendars.
  • Create Tests and Quizzes
Schoology’s assessment creation tools provide instructors with simple ways to create media-rich assessments using new, repurposed, and standards aligned content.
  • Extended File Support
Schoology supports Common Cartridge, Web Content, QTI-compliant content, and other ZIP files to ensure that educators and administrators can use their existing third-party content in Schoology without losing its formatting.
  • Make Learning Mobile
Native mobile apps extend this award-winning LMS to all iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire mobile devices for free, enabling cost-effective 1:1 and BYOD initiatives. Everything from assessment creation, submission, and grading to media-rich discussions are easily achieved from a mobile device.
  • Online Gradebook and Attendance
Schoology’s Gradebook and Attendance save time by automating the redundant tasks of inputting grades and taking attendance. The gradebook offers custom grading scales and easily editable settings.
  • Customized Grading Options
Schoology provides the tools to create custom grading scales. The easily editable settings make it possible to create rubrics as well as customize percentage scales and point-based scales.
  • Standards and Outcomes Alignments
Schoology enables instructors and curriculum specialists to easily align content, assessments, and rubrics to Common Core, State Standards, or custom learning outcomes. Standards or outcomes-aligned test and quiz questions can also be archived for quick and efficient assessment creation.
  • Track Student Usage and Course Analytics
With individualized and course-wide analytics presented in an easily read format, Schoology helps better understand students’ needs and develop strategies that improve their engagement and comprehension.
  • Application Marketplace
Schoology's App Center provides educators and institutions with access to high-quality instructional and management applications that are seamlessly integrated into the platform.
  • Email Address and Username Support 
Schoology lets students choose whether they would like to login with a username or an email address. This makes it easy to use Schoology with students that might not have an email address.

This LMS also offers valuable social features that are necessary to effectively host and facilitate an online course:

  • User Connections (Professional Networks) 
Schoology lets educators collaborate and share instructional resources with colleagues in your school and other schools around the world.
  • Messaging
Schoology facilitates better communication by providing instructors a way to send messages and share resources efficiently with their students and peers, and by providing students a simple and safe way to contact their instructors.
  • Customizable Notifications
Schoology makes staying connected simple with email and SMS text notifications so everyone is always up to date.
  • Announcements
Schoology's announcement feature turns any update into an announcement with one click, pinning it to the top of the activity feed so everyone gets the message.
  • Discussions
With Schoology, instructors can create interactive discussion pages, engaging students on a more personal level. Discussions are threaded to allow for easy replying and organization.
A wide range of files (including documents, pictures, audio, and video files) can be attached to any post. Instructors can also connect their discussion pages with other class sections and courses for a more widely interactive experience.
  • Group Workspaces (Collaboration)
Schoology’s learning environment facilitates collaboration on a number of different levels. Students and instructors can collaborate easily with each other and their peers by participating in live discussions, sharing resources and ideas, and much more.

From a language teacher's perspective, of all the tools listed above, the most valuable ones in an online learning environment are those that maximize student interaction and engagement. When students have more opportunities to participate in discussions and collaborate together using the target language, they gain a deeper understanding of the language and its culture.


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