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Schoology is the online hub that our teachers generally use to share resources, assign coursework, and communicate information to students and parents. Ms. Rita Yeh, Mandarin Teacher at O’Dowd, is a stellar educator who is constantly striving to better her teaching practice and to use available tools more efficiently. Here are some of the ways that Rita is using Schoology so that it works for her:

 

1. Schoology Polls for Accountability

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As a part of a participation grade, every student is a class leader at some point in the semester. This class leader is expected to do variety of tasks, which includes passing out & collecting homework, writing the daily agenda on the board, leading everyday routines, etc. At the end of the period, the class evaluates the student leader in a poll on Schoology so that leaders have a sense of accountability towards their performance. Rita then follows up with the leaders, verbally affirming what they did well and what they could work on.

2. Media Albums for Presentation Skills

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Another aspect of keeping students accountable in their language learning is by posting video recordings of student presentations. In a Unit 2 folder, Rita has a Schoology “Media Album” that contains that dialogue performances of every group. Students can comment and view each others’ work, allowing for deeper understanding of one’s language skills and personal performance.

Giving a presentation to an audience is one thing, but watching yourself on video is another form of understanding self awareness when public speaking, a crucial component of language learning.

3. Embedded Flashcards in Assignments

Think of a website where you had to click dozens of times before you got to the part of the website that you had intended to get to countless clicks ago. This task is no less frustrating for students.

Quizlet is a free online tool/app that helps you master and practice what you are learning by allowing you to create flashcards and study sets. I’d seen Schoology’s Quizlet “External Tool”, and I’d never really understood the purpose of it since I couldn’t select the exact cards that I wanted– but Rita showed me how:

  1. As the teacher, create the flashcards on the Quizlet website.
  2. Copy the embed code for the flashcard set.
  3. Paste the code into a Schoology assignment.

Quizlet

The flashcard set of your choice will now be built into a Schoology assignment, which creates less clicking, making it easier for students to access.

4. Mastering the Event Calendar

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Rita has trained her absent students to check the “TODAY in Mandarin” calendar event if they have missed a class, so that they have no excuse about not knowing what happened during class. As an added layer of student support, she sends a standardized email every time a student is absent to remind them to complete the work listed on the TODAY in Mandarin event calendar. While the daily class description is brief, these are simply supplements to the actual Schoology assignments in her unit folders.

Event calendars can be linked in emails, so she could theoretically link the URL from the calendar event into the email as well, but that’s just more work for her.

 

5. An Efficient Grading Workflow

In Rita’s class, grading is split into two parts: completion and accuracy.

  • Completion. Rita’s students have been trained to take phone pictures or uploaded printer scans of their work, so that Rita can check that they have done the work.

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    This makes the process really quick, as she can just click through all the submissions and enter the grade next to each picture submission.The process for students is especially easy using the mobile app, because all they have to click is “Submit Assignment”, and the app will provide a camera option, allowing students to take a picture of their document for a direct upload.

  • Accuracy. After submitting homework for completion online, students bring the hard copy work, where they make corrections to their work in class. This assignment then becomes part of a participation grade. While this grading flow may not work for everyone nor is it used in every situation, it certainly lessens the grading load on her end on a day-to-day basis.

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