Responses from the Needs Survey included:
Several teachers had questions about creating assignments in their Schoology courses and about the different settings that can be used when adding assignments. The link above will take you to a tutorial video showing how to add assignments in your course, and some of the different settings that can be applied.
Several teachers are also looking to attach files to their assignments, particularly Google files since the student's Drives are linked to their Schoology accounts and many students have not yet downloaded word processing software to their computers. The link above will take you to a step by step direction sheet for creating assignments and attaching Google files that will create copies for each individual student to complete and submit back to you through Schoology.
When students are submitting files through Schoology, many of the files will be links to download what the student submitted, rather than files that can be viewed in the Schoology document viewer. However, if you have students convert their files to PDFs before submitting through Schoology, then you will be able to view and annotate all of their work in the Schoology document viewer. The link above has several tutorial videos showing how to convert different types of files to PDFs.
Syncing Grades with PowerSchool
Several responses to the survey were about setting up gradebooks for syncing, or having errors when trying to sync. The link above will take you through the steps of setting up your PowerSchool and Schoology gradebooks to eliminate syncing errors. If your courses are linked you will need to configure each course's gradebook separately, configuration does not carry over in linked courses. Also, if you are finding that you only have errors when using the "Homework" category in PowerSchool, try creating a new category in PowerSchool and sync to it instead, this has fixed many issues in the past.
A few things to remember about Syncing grades from Schoology to PowerSchool:
- PowerSchool will always be the management system that we use for grades. The Schoology gradebook is a nice added feature to our learning management system, but should not be the place that you are using for overall grades in your class.
- Schoology grades only sync to PowerSchool when you manually click on the sync button (two arrows in a circle), it is the one feature that does not sync every night. Also, remember to never click the sync all button, this tends to cause problems with the process, only click on the sync button next to the individual assignments that you are trying to sync over.
- If you are planning on syncing a grade to PowerSchool be sure that you have added a due date and grading category when creating the assignment, test, quiz, or discussion, this will help to eliminate problems in the syncing process.
If you use rubrics on a regular basis to grade assignments in your classes, you can create those rubrics in Schoology and use them to grade your assignments electronically. The link above provides step by step directions for creating and using rubrics in Schoology.
Tests & Quizzes
An important reminder that an entire Schoology course has been created and is available for MLP points on how to create tests & quizzes, the different settings that can be applied, and how to use them successfully in your classroom.
Several teachers had questions about creating tests and quizzes in Schoology. The link above is a tutorial video showing how to add these materials to your courses, and some of the settings that can be applied when creating them. The link below will also take you to additional information provided last year about creating and grading tests and quizzes in Schoology.
Messages can be sent through Schoology to all students in your course or group by following the steps in the link above.
Responses from the Needs Survey included:
Some strategies that teachers have been using in their classrooms to monitor students as they work on their computers.
- Computer cased zipped and under chairs until it is time to use them
- Using "Hands Off", "Turn Screens", "Shark Screens", "Shark Your Partners Screen" when directions are being given.
- F3 to check open windows, using the dock to check running applications
- Turn around at your desk/table so the computer screen is facing the teacher when using the computer
- Using the Reflector application on the teacher computer and having students use AirPlay to display their screens on your computer
- Active supervision and setting the classroom up so you can see all screens at one time
A note from a recent meeting with technology staff regarding blocking websites (especially gaming sites): Gaming websites are currently a blocked category, however not all sites are categorized as "gaming" so some popular sites are not being blocked. There is the possibility to block individual sites, but there are websites and programs that students can use to navigate around this. So, it could essentially become a never ending cycle of students continually finding ways around our attempts to block them from accessing games on their computers.
Minor Discipline Issues
Enforcing technology rules happens in the classroom as each teacher's rules are different, unless it is the overall rules stated in the AUA signed by all students and staff at the beginning of the school year. If students are not following your classroom rules for using technology, that is a minor discipline issue that should be dealt with in your classroom based on your consequences for breaking classroom rules. However, remember that 3 minor issues result in referral to the office as a major discipline issue. That could be 3 times in your classroom throughout the week, or 3 times in more than one class throughout the day. Some examples of minor discipline issues regarding technology include:
- Not charging computers at home (coming to school with a low battery is different than having a low battery from using the computer throughout the school day)
- Playing games during class if there is a classroom rule about this not being allowed
- Not following teacher directions regarding technology (being on the wrong website, not sharking screen, using computers when not allowed to)
- Inappropriate personalization of computer (hiding dock, language/images on screensaver/desktop)
Printer drivers and printers can be installed on student computers through Self Service, the link above has step by step directions to follow when going through the installation process. The ink cartridges for the student printers are not cheap, so please be sure to monitor what your students are printing!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey!