Subscribe to Edtech Elixirs! Enter your email address below.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Organizing your Class: Schoology versus Google Drive

As our school year began, Glenda Price from East Middle School asked me a question.  Which is better to organize and distribute materials to students: Schoology or Google Drive?

I don't want to create a false dilemma here.  You can and should likely use both tools in your classroom.  It's really more of a question of determining your purpose and being intentional in your instructional choices.

That said, there are advantages and disadvantages for both tools.  This blog entry will break down how each tool could be used and the pros/cons.

(Note that although Google Classroom is a tool available for Google Apps for Education users, I am simplifying the discussion by omitting it here, mainly because the use of the enterprise edition of Schoology is what our district supports and encourages.)

If all students create Google folders and then share with all of their teachers, they will be likely have a very full email inbox with “shared with me” requests.  That said, there are several advantages: the students are the actual owners of their own class folders, teachers can organize these student folders as they like (by dragging and dropping them from "Shared with Me" to a preferred space in their Drive), and the teacher can save time from actually creating individual student folders.

Another option would be for students to create shared links with editing rights to their folders, and give teachers those links through a Google Form.  (Ask for their name, collect email addresses, and have a short answer question where they could paste in the URL.)  That way, a teacher has a Google Sheet with all the hyperlinks one click away. They could have a Form and Sheet for each class.  Bonus:  no “shared with me” notifications AND no dragging and dropping of folders.

You could have teachers create Folders (one per student), then share them with students.  That would be easier to MANAGE from the teacher side (teachers are obviously organizing as they create them), but it’s very time consuming….that’s a lot of folders to make!

Don’t forget how aspects of Schoology can make sharing and submission of work easier.  Do I really need shared Google folders I have to constantly check, or do I only need their Google Doc (or Slides or whatever) one assignment at a time?  If so, use Schoology Assignments.  Again, have students create a share link to the file, paste it in the “Create” tab when submitting the assignment, and voila — you can access each of them easily, and again, without all of the “Shared with Me’ notifications.

Distribute any Google documents using Schoology.  Paste the link in an Update, Assignment, or as part of a Schoology folder. If you need to distribute a “template” for them to edit and make their own, create a shared URL and use the copy trick…change the end of the link (everything after the last forward slash) to “copy.”  When they click the link, they automatically have to make their own copy.

Last but not least, don't forget that as part of your Materials in Schoology, you can "Add Media Album."   This is the only way to create a place in your Course where -- if enabled in the advanced settings -- you can have both students and teachers contribute media to a shared space.  For more directions and information, visit this Schoology support page.

Do you have other ways to electronically share or distribute material?  Post your thoughts in the Comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment