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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Schoology: Wrapping up the semester

Now that January is in full swing, our blog this week provides some timely tips for wrapping up first semester in Schoology.

Tip 1: Navigating the End of the Grading Periods

The current grading periods (quarter 2, semester 1) end in Schoology on Jan. 23, 2018. After that date, current courses will move to the archive. They will still be accessible by students and teachers. To access your archived courses, click the 'Courses' link in the top menu bar. Then, click 'Browse' in the lower right of the box that appears. Finally, click the 'Archived' button above the course list.

There may be a few days when both your past and new courses are live in the 'Courses' menu for students. This is temporary so that we can complete grading and the sync with Infinite Campus for secondary schools.

Tip 2: Finding Grade Info for Inactive Students

Sometimes, you need to access student grade data for students that have left your class during the quarter/semester. In your course, choose 'Members' in the left menu and then look for the 'Inactive' link (shown below). Click the bar graph icon next to any inactive student to see their grades.
Finding the grades of inactive students screenshot

Tip 3: Saving Your Course Materials for Reuse

Though you can access past course materials in your archive, it is best to save the current version of your courses in your Schoology Resources.

Click the 'Options' button on your course materials page to save your course to Resources. In your Resources, delete any old versions of courses or create a Past/Old Materials folder to keep them organized.

Please contact your media or technology integration specialist if you have questions or need help.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tech for Teachers Schoology Group

Do you ever find yourself wondering where to find information on the instructional technology tools used in Robbinsdale Area Schools? We are here to help!

We have updated our list of applications for teaching and learning (originally designed for new teachers) to include information on access and support.  Click on the appropriate link below for your list. Note that these documents are frequently revised.  Check the Schoology group shown below for updates.

Elementary School - Technology for Teaching (October 2017)
Middle School - Technology for Teaching (October 2017)
High School - Technology for Teaching (October 2017)

Tech for Teachers Schoology Group

Tech for Teachers Schoology Group screenshotWe have recently organized technology resources for teachers in a Schoology group. The group, formerly called Schoology Teacher User Group, has been named Tech for Teachers to reflect the resources you can find there.

Currently, we have help files and links for Edgenuity (high school only), G Suite, Khan Academy, Naiku, Schoology, and WeVideo. This list will be dynamic and growing, based on the district technology resources at the time.

Licensed staff in Robbinsdale Area Schools can find these resources by logging into Schoology and clicking the Groups link in blue bar at the top of the screen.

If your PLC or department would like to schedule training, please contact your technology integration, media or curriculum division specialist. We welcome your questions and suggestions about the materials and resources available in the group.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Kami PDF Annotation Tool

Great News, we have a PDF document annotation tool available for district staff and students. With Kami tools, you can annotate, markup, and collaborate on your PDF, document, or image files.

Kami works with Google Drive. PDF files can be shared with students via Schoology Google Drive Resources link and when the students click on the link it forces them to make their own copy within their Google Drive.

File Types:
  • PDF (.pdf)
  • Documents (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, RTF)
  • Powerpoint (Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Slides)
  • Sheets (Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets)
  • Image Files (.jpg, jpeg, .png, .gif)
Kami Tools:
  • Dictionary
  • Highlight
  • Strikethrough
  • Underline
  • Comments 
  • Add Text
  • Add Equations
  • Drawing Tools
  • Add Shapes
  • Insert Images
  • Insert Signature
  • Add Voice or Video Annotations
  • Text to Speech Reader
  • Share your work with others
  • Collaborate in real-time
  • Split and merge files
  • Offline support 

To Set up and start using Kami:

You can add it as an app or extension from the Chrome Web Store. It is recommended to add the extension which will allow users to access full functionality, the same as the app. Once you have added Kami you will see the word "Schools" next to the Kami logo on the left of the upper toolbar. This signifies you are using the upgraded version.

Tutorial Videos and Support:

Kami Youtube Tutorial Playlist (Most of the videos are 30 sec. in length)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Schoology Series Part Two - Communication

Quick Tips for Meeting Schoology Expectations

Comprehensive and current information strengthens the partnership between the school and home. A few simple steps and a consistent approach can communicate and support students and families.

Personalize IT!

Course images matter... Are you the “Gray Book”? Stand out and add your personality! Use an appropriate, course-related image to help students and families locate your course.

Free Images
Free Vector Icons

Profile pictures can help new students and families know who to expect to see when they join our schools. It’s an easy way to help kids become familiar with their teacher. A simple profile might include brief bio and contact information

Not excited by your own headshot? Use an avatar that captures your spirit. Bitmoji is a pretty fun site to create an icon that looks a little like yourself.

Organize IT!

Communicate IT!

A word about assignments in Schoology...

And how does this look in Elementary?

Even though elementary teachers do not use the Schoology grade book, all grade levels should have a Schoology presence. This includes a course image, a profile picture and updates.

Lance Mayer, 4th Grade at Zachary Lane has included information from Math in Focus about Bar Models for Parents. He also has a folder structure that is well organized for both students and parents to access.

Meghan Morrison, 5th Grade at Noble is making great use of Schoology Discussions to give voice to all her students.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Year New Features - Schoology Series

Sharp pencils and fresh notebooks, a new school year is underway! The school supply aisle at Target isn’t the only place to find new things. Welcome to the Instructional Technology Blog 2017 - 2018 edition. Here you will find tips, tricks and new ideas for bringing creativity and collaboration to your teaching, along with practical how to’s for navigating Google and Schoology.

Level Up Schoology!

Check out this presentation on 9 ways to take your Schoology course up a level. It’s time to use visual cues and clues to make your ideas engaging.

  1. Your course needs a symbol - think of a fun or practical image that describes your course or teaching style. Need help - get an icon from Noun Project

  1. Visual Anchors - Just like in a physical classroom, creating routine and structure is important in your digital classroom. Consider adding visual anchors to your folders in Schoology to create an anticipated structure for your course.       

Pro Tip!
 The Noun Project at the elementary level is great for helping students with emerging literacy use simple icons to share complex ideas. Plus, the images are Creative Commons licensed for use with

A Great Start to a Beautiful Friendship

A brand new feature of Schoology is the Google Drive Assignment integration. It's a great way to help manage the workflow between Google and Schoology. A real winner for the new school year!

  1. Shared correctly automagically and securely! The teacher retains ownership of the document and individual student copies are automatically created.  Students have editing rights until the due date after which they can only view the document. Students are also restricted from making a copy, sharing or printing - which makes group projects a little tricky for now.

  1. Choose wisely - this feature is to assign a Google Doc, Slides or Sheet to students. That means it triggers the assignment features in Schoology (due date, late notices etc…) IF you just want the kids to have a copy of the assignment, there are other ways to do that. Here’s a quick tip to force a copy.

  1. Save to Drive.pngGet ready for offline mode - One of the features of Google Drive is the ability to work offline for times when students do not have access to the internet. In order to use this feature students must add the document created in Schoology to their Drive. Good news it is as easy as one click!

How does this look at the elementary level?

I am using Google inside Schoology to make it easier for students to make their own copy. Instead of sharing my copy, then having them each make their own copy, they can click on the link in Schoology and it makes a copy for them. It names it for them (streamlining and standardizing the naming process), and is automatically ready to go. Just as easy for me to make the assignment and saves a step for the students.- Meghan Morrison, Grade 5 Noble Elementary

Meghan has been using the Google/Schoology integration with some of her ELA assignments. Even if you are not using Schoology regularly at the elementary level, using the Schoology/Google integration can really streamline the workflow for students and teachers.

Happy New Year to everyone! We look forward to partnering with you this year!

Robbinsdale Media and Technology Team

Monday, May 22, 2017

Digital Housekeeping

As each school year ends, it is a wise idea to do some digital housekeeping in Schoology and Google Drive. In our post this week, we provide some tips to help you put things in order before summer break.

After all of your had work this year building or updating your course(s), you don't want to start over next fall. Schoology Personal and Group Resources are the best way to preserve a copy of your work. The video below shows how it works. Please note that courses/content saved in Resources is separate from courses in your Course Archive. Archived courses include student data.

Another important place to organize is your Google Drive. Take time to create and maintain folders. If you have files that you no longer need, we recommend that you place them in a folder named 'Archive' or similar. You can always delete them next fall if desired. If you are changing buildings or roles and own shared files or folders that others need, be sure to transfer ownership.

For staff leaving the district, the document linked below provides information about downloading a copy of your Google Apps data (Drive, Gmail, photos, etc.). It also shares a couple of ways to save your Schoology data. You will need to use a personal computer or external storage in this process. Long time district staff may also want to download a backup of their data every few years. Please note that multimedia files such as videos and high resolution images can take lots of storage space.

Exporting Google and Schoology Data

Please work with your media or technology integration specialist if you have questions or run into problems.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Classroom Innovations that Embrace Personalized Learning

Anne Johnson is a science teacher at Cooper High School.  She decided that she wanted to take a unit she has taught in the past and make it personalized for students.  She had the idea that if students had the ability to go at their own pace and have some choice of activities, her students would be more engaged and empowered in their learning.  She broke up the learning of the unit into pods.  She then arranged her classroom into small groups. “When a student arrived at a POD and didn’t understand what to do they would ask another student for help, which free’d me up to work with the more needy students”

One pod was a “Help me” POD for those students requiring more guided work.  Students were assisted in navigating going from one pod to another with their Schoology course.  If a student completed one pod, they moved to another table group for the next pod.  Each table group had the materials needed for that pod.  Some pods involved watching video lectures and others involved experiments or craft activities.  Students were cleared to move to the next pod by passing a quiz or completed a set of work.  Johnson explained that “Students that completed ALL assigned work were rewarded.  Six lucky students got to pick from a box of treats, trinkets, and gift cards (no more than $3).”  Johnson reported that “Student completion of work increased for all classes.  There were students that don’t turn in work, completing work on a daily basis.  Students seemed to enjoy the fact that they could take charge of how fast they learned this topic.”

Johnson started thinking about this change when she took part in the summer Technology Adventure Cohort last summer.  She commented that her time to explore technology such as PlayPosit and Schoology helped her to figure out how to lay out the unit for the students.   She also was inspired when she learned she could get some new furniture, wrap-around whiteboards and technology in her classroom.  “I look forward to coupling the new technology installed in my classroom with this model of learning.  Having access to more ways of expressing themselves, such as using whiteboard space, better group dynamic,  or ergonomics, should increase the engagement of students even more.”