Schoology: Hybrid Curriculum Design Made Easy
Many schools are adopting hybrid curricula, meaning that online learning is being integrated with traditional in-class learning. Some schools choose to use a hybrid learning format that frontloads homework. In this model, students preview teacher-based instructive content before coming into class so that while they are in class, learning is student-directed, with students applying and furthering their understanding of the content they reviewed the previous night. Students work individually or collaboratively with teacher guidance in the classroom, with the teacher as a coach and guiding role model rather than a lecturer.
Schoology is a very innovative new technology that allows teachers to create hybrid courses easily. The interface mimics Facebook, making Schoology intuitive, but there’s also a lot more flexibility. You can include files for students to download and links to any content from the web. You can create assignments, give quizzes and even manage grades.
One drawback of Schoology is that it is not a complete technology for online learning. For example, if you want to host a fully online course, there is no integrative ability to host video conferences. Current practices in online education are far beyond the world of threaded discussion, and Schoology promotes far more interaction than a threaded discussion. This brings up another limitation with Schoology, which is that it will only be truly innovative if a teacher experiments and adapts their curriculum to justify and utilize an online component to their course(s).
Considering the above, Schoology will be best applied in high schools, where students are mature enough to use interactive, social media-based learning content. High school students have a strong foundation of traditional hands-on learning skills at this point, which enables them to interact with the technology without failing to develop hard study skills. In essence, the older a student is, the less likely they are to become dependent on technology. Using a format like this at the high school level is very beneficial because it gives students interactive and professional exposure to technologies that will help them to build soft skills, which are increasingly important in the world today and tomorrow.
So, if you’re a high school teacher and interested in integrating online learning with class-based learning, I recommend checking out Schoology.