Although funding from the Vision One91 technology levy won’t arrive until the 2016-17 school year, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 is moving forward with one tech tool that will be at the center of all the others.
The District has chosen Schoology as its new “learning management system,” a web-accessible tool that acts as a home base for all things academic. For students, Schoology offers a place to receive and turn in homework, participate in online discussions, monitor their grades and upcoming work, and develop their own portfolios. For teachers, it will house curriculum resources like lesson plans, texts, assessments and much more. It also makes it much easier to provide learning materials that are personalized to each student, rather than having an entire class work from a single textbook.
Instructional Technology Coordinator Rachel Gorton called Schoology very student centric and says its features and recommendations from neighboring districts were key in its selection.
“It will be a simpler, more flexible and more powerful way for students to be engaged in their classes,” Gorton said. “Rather than going to several different classroom websites to find what they need, this puts it all together in a central location and provides tools far beyond what we can offer now.”
For the 2015-16 school year, Schoology will be used primarily by social studies teachers in grades 7-12. Social studies was chosen as a pilot subject because it’s undergoing a curriculum review this year. Those teachers are receiving training this summer and throughout the school year. Social studies classrooms will also be outfitted with Chromebooks so that all students can access the resources available through Schoology.
Other teachers and students will have access to Schoology and ongoing training throughout the year. Additional training to be provided next summer as the tool and increasing digital content is rolled out across the district.