This year the SDOL instructional coaches and I are working on defining professional learning that is beyond mere compliance. We're working on curating and crafting online professional learning (using Schoology as a platform) that provides our teachers with respect for their time as professionals, autonomy, voice, and choice. Before we get into the messy, creative work of designing personalized online professional learning, we need to stop and think hard about what we know about our learners. What are their strengths? What do they need? What will get them most engaged in the process of individual growth?
We started this process by pulling together our Top 10 Tech Tools to help us better understand ("assess") our learners. Although many of these tools aren't new to us, we wanted to take a moment to pull them together and start thinking about how we can both gather information about our learners and rediscover tools that can infuse our online professional learning courses with more interactivity. No more "read the article. answer the questions. discuss" professional learning. It's not good enough. We have great teachers who we expect to support great students; our staff deserves endless opportunities to create, investigate, share, collaborate, and feel inspired and respected as they work on their professional growth. So. If we really understand the learners we are working with we can plan professional learning that truly engages them in their own process of growth = we all learn. It's what we believe about students. It's why we leverage tech. It's why we craft learning environments that support ALL learners. If we expect teachers to customize learning for kids, why wouldn't we do the same for adults? Right? We've got to start with understanding. We need to get to know our learners.
Check out the secondary instructional coaches' Top 10 Tech Tools for Understanding Our Learners Google Slides! Share your own faves in the comments!
Thanks to Fritz, Destiny, Joel, Darina, Kelly, and Chris for their help!
I've been getting this question a ton the past month. The confusion is understandable. Courses and groups look eerily similar in Schoology. It's definitely important to figure out which is which before you start inviting others and building materials or resources. Here are the basics to help you decide which is best for you!
Simply put: courses are for instruction; groups are for collaboration.
Your student courses have already been set up for you. Whether you’re using Schoology or not, your students can see your course. This is because they are synced with eschool. If students are added or withdrawn, the changes are made to your course roster. The same classes you have in eschool are represented as courses in Schoology. You cannot add or remove students from your Schoology courses without having the change made in eschool. You can create or join PD courses. These will be a self-guided e-learning experience.
The students in your course have access to all the materials you post for their learning and can interact through assignments and discussions. Other teachers cannot see your content automatically, so if you'd like a colleague have access, you'll need to add them manually as an "admin." You can choose whether to "publish" instructional materials to students immediately or on a determined date.
With a COURSE, you CAN...
Unlike courses, groups are NOT synced with eschool. Therefore, they are NOT created automatically for you. YOU can create groups for ANYTHING and add or share the access code with whomever you want to collaborate! Groups are great for professional learning, team meetings, PLCs, book groups, collaborative lesson planning, shared learning goals/scales, student organizations, committees, anything you want everyone to participate in together!
With a GROUP, you CAN...
+5 Points - Navigating the Groups & Courses Tabs
1: Crown = You're admin! You can add others!
2: Create a new group/course
3: Join a group/course using an ACCESS CODE
4: See All - here's where you go to delete a group or find archives of courses
5: ORGANIZE! Click here for a list of your groups/course. Too many? Put the most frequently used up top!
How are YOU using Schoology groups or courses to enhance learning collaboration??
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Coordinator of Instructional Technology
Instructional Technology Coach