Does Schoology Offer Virtual Learning Sessions?
With online distance learning opportunities growing by the day, learning management systems (LMS) are becoming essential for the quick, efficient delivery of everything from communication to lectures. Some systems are only available to educators and their students, but others aren’t so restricted. Schoology isn’t just for educators, for example. Parents and students can also use it to share content and collaborate.
The Schoology LMS primarily focuses on educational tools in the K-12 format, but it can also be used for higher learning institutions and corporations that want to create content to be used for teaching or instruction. Virtual and distance learning are sure to continue to grow in popularity, prompting many potential users to wonder if Schoology offers any tools to help students with virtual learning sessions. Let’s take a look at the features offered by Schoology, how it can impact distance and virtual learning, and what it may offer in the future.
Schoology and the Power of PowerSchool
Schoology offers the PowerSchool platform to help educators, parents and students access more than 200 educational tools and applications in one convenient location. Examples of available technology include Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive for file sharing and storage; Vimeo and YouTube for video sharing; and BrainPop, Quizlet and Funbrain for interactive learning games, quizzes and puzzles.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, the PowerSchool platform already had a certain level of virtual learning built into it. After K-12 schools, colleges and universities moved exclusively to online and distance learning, Schoology (via PowerSchool) quickly rose to the challenge and began to offer more options for virtual learning sessions, including special lessons for educators and parents to help them learn how to use distance learning tools to effectively teach their students in this whole new format.
PowerSchool Expansion into Virtual Learning Sessions
For school districts and college/university systems that were already using other LMS technology or already had PowerSchool/Schoology technology in place, Schoology immediately focused on adding virtual learning sessions and expanding the use of its current packages to better help educators reach out to schools and even entire districts that were suddenly struggling to change the way they educated their students.
The result is that each school or individual that is running a PowerSchool or Schoology package now also has a Client Success Manager they can reach out to for guidance. Whether they need help with distance learning or want someone to walk them through a virtual learning session, they can rely on their assigned client success manager to help them through it.
For school districts and college/university systems that did not have PowerSchool/Schoology or any other kind of LMS technology, Schoology offered PowerSchool to them on a self-service basis to help them navigate the new world of distance learning in the wake of COVID-19 and the abrupt move schools had to make to completely virtual modes of learning. Whether districts were struggling with how to develop and start virtual learning sessions or they needed help with certain types of software, Schoology offered PowerSchool services to them on a virtual basis for either short-term or long-term use.
Moving into the future, an Enterprise subscription sets districts up with paid access to many more PowerSchool services in the wake of COVID-19 and beyond. At this point, the expectation is that the forced need for virtual learning services will give birth to permanent increases in the volume of online learning opportunities that are available, particularly in higher education.
Teachers and Parents Taking on Virtual Learning
Schoology recognized quickly that many individual teachers (and parents) were struggling with the move to distance learning in the midst of the pandemic. But even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, many educators were already expressing interest in learning more about online and virtual learning experiences to help them improve their teaching methods and stay in better touch with their students, whether it was by using a videoconferencing app like Zoom or through an LMS platform like PowerSchool.
To meet this growing need, Schoology has transitioned to offer services for individual teachers and parents — not just large school districts and organizations — when it comes to developing virtual learning sessions. Individual teachers and parents are welcome to try out Schoology Basic for a week to help them become more familiar with virtual learning and what it has to offer. They can try out virtual learning sessions, starting with the basics of virtual learning readiness.
Anyone who joins Schoology can download a virtual readiness kit with varying contents, depending on the associated plan. The Schoology Exchange page — essentially the company’s blog — is a great resource site for educators, parents and even students who want to learn more about virtual learning as well.