Many Vikings have lynbrook.schoolloop.com bookmarked on their laptops, navigating to it as the go-to student portal at Lynbrook. However, there have been changes in the past couple of months, with the school district beginning the implementation of Schoology for the upcoming school year.
Although School Loop has served as Lynbrook’s online student-teacher interface for over ten years, the FUHSD board recently decided it was time to upgrade the current learning management system. They had representatives research and familiarize themselves with all the options available to get a feel for newer learning management systems in general. The FUHSD technology team also piloted other learning management systems, such as a beta version of Canvas, but after sitting in on a presentation by Schoology, a startup founded in 2009 which has now been adopted by 60,000 schools across the country, the district representatives almost unanimously agreed that this would be the best option moving forward.
“The reason we liked Schoology was that it had a very sophisticated, comprehensive feel that we felt would suit the needs of the district well,” said Assistant Principal David Erwin. “There’s a very efficient connection between students and teachers, and the platform takes on the burden of coordinating assignment submissions, making course materials accessible and automatically posting grades.”
Schoology offers many unique features which FUHSD administrators hope will improve the learning experience of its students. For instance, Schoology has a detailed “discussions” platform that allow students and teachers to interact online, as opposed to School Loop, which only offered Loop Mail. Additionally, Schoology provides detailed data analyses on student performance on assignments to interpret trends in grades throughout the year.
“What I love about Schoology is how expansive its features are,” said history teacher Mike Williams. “I can click on students and see all the assignments they have in other classes, so that I can take care not to overload any of them. It really gives me the space to tailor their learning experiences.”
On January 3, 2020, the district held a training session for teachers who wanted to test Schoology prior to its formal release at Lynbrook. This “early adopter” group was strategically chosen to incorporate faculty who taught a variety of subjects, in order to ensure that each department had at least one teacher who would be well-versed with the new platform. Starting from the next academic year, teachers from this group will be tasked with mentoring their colleagues on how to implement the new platform and take advantage of its novel features.
“Schoology is as simple or as complex as you want to make it,” said living skills teacher Megan Miller. “I started out using the platform for smaller, simpler things because the features and platform are very broad, but I’m slowly working on incorporating more online features for my classes. I’m already starting to use online submissions, something I didn’t do much on School Loop, because Schoology makes it super easy to integrate all the other platforms that my students may be using, like Google Classroom.”
When it comes to the student community at Lynbrook, there are mixed feelings on FUHSD’s decision to transition to Schoology.
“We’ve started using Schoology in some of my classes, and I have conflicting feelings about it,” said senior Grace Huang. “On one hand, it feels much more refined and has a lot more features than School Loop. On the other hand, it’s kind of complicated and confusing to use at times. I think I’ll just have to get used to it.”
Although Schoology is currently unfamiliar to many students, the Lynbrook community can expect to see students and staff switching over to the platform in the next academic year.