Schoology NEXT 2018 Day One

These are essentially raw notes from the Schoology NEXT 2018 day one events and sessions.


Before the conference got under way, the conferees networked at a breakfast.



The conference opened with a video followed by a speech by Jeremy Friedman, CEO Schoology. He noted that today is his wedding anniversary.



"Schoology started nine years ago. Tim, Bill, Ryan, myself. Started by four. The "why" of our story is important. Start with why. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Book. Ted talk. What, how, why. What Schoology does, everyone knows. How we do it: what makes us different, what is our differentiated process. Why will be the least well know. Not to make a profit, that is a result. Companies that start with why are the greatest companies. The why of Schoology.
Advance what's possible. There are too many barriers to effective teaching and learning. If we can reduce the barriers, the obstacles, free up time, more time for great interactions with the students. To free up time and increase quality interactions in the classrooms."

"Enhancing the pace we can get information to you. One of the areas we are moving into is personalize learning for every learning. 39 states reference personalized learning, 17 states have them written into their vision states. ESSA plans. Personalized learning is not a feature. It is an idea. Many definitions. At the core this is individual interactions, individualized interactions, between teachers and students. "

"Three areas of focus in this effort: mastery, personalized learning, assessment:
Personalized learning: student voice and choice. Multiple pathways to demonstrate competency. Student set goals. Communication and collaboration.
Assessment: Collect high quality data that can be used to help focus instruction. Assessment Management Platform. If we do this right you get high quality information. Our success is defined by our clients success. We continue to grow. 1800 district customers, 200+ connected apps, 99.99% up time."


Director of Technology at Park Hill, Kecia Ray of K20Connect, discusses their Schoology adoption story.  AMP is being piloted in her school system. The schools develop their own school level assessment and deploy using AMP.
Managing expectations in a drive through society. The pressure to generate instant results. Implement on Monday and the expectation is that by Friday results will show.
90% of the districts said are moving towards personalized learning
75% are moving to flexible and collaborative classroom
90% are moving toward digital content and curriculum
Assessment should be formative, iterative. Today, too often, assessment is seen as an event. Assessment should be about informing learning.
In the ten largest school districts technology is implemented first in pilot implementations. In all ten districts, the pilot schools outperformed the other schools in the district.


One is left wondering whether pilots always outperform the other elements in a system, pilots are special and believing that one is special can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps one should pilot continuously. Pilots forever, everywhere.


The first session of the day was Copperas Cove ISD on AMPed Data and Mastery. Schoology AMP is driving assessment and informing learning for 8000 students (4% ELL in Copperas Cove Independent School District. Speaking were Dr. Earl Parcell and Dani Patterson.
Principal Martin Walker Elementary & Director of Instructional Technology, Technology Integration Facilitator respectively.
Curriculum, instruction, and assessment were each in their own silo. Curriculum was a binder in an office. Instruction was paper based. Silos of digital utilization.
Pilot was 20 teachers. Then rolled out systemwide.
AMP harmonized curriculum, instruction and assessment. Teacher enables an assessment, pops up for the students, they take it, she sees the results as soon as they submit. So AMP being used to deliver standardized tests across a school.
The output is essentially the Schoology Mastery output plus some summative charts.
AMP is fairly clearly a system just for distributing tests/quizzes schooolwide.
Seems like somehow they have obtained student access to mastery.
11:30 session Palo Alto Unified School District


Using Schoology AMP To Drive PLC Work. Chris Bell and Emily Garrison, Palo Alto Unified School District, Palo Alto, CA. 12,000 students. Public PK-12 school district. 1 PK school, 12 elementary, 3 middle, 2 high schools.

Schoology customer since 2011-12 school year
Extensive Schoology professional learning for Schoology: Blended Learning program and other teacher sessions
Teacher contract mandates use of Schoology for secondary teachers
How is AMP different from Schoology Assessments
AMP is still assessments in the Schoology sense
But extra cost
But but built in collaboration
Scores can be viewed by all teachers in AMP team
Rich, detailed data analysis
Essentially an assessment that can be distributed to all classes across multiple schools.
The real power of AMP is that one can drill down to individual data.
Why we use AMP
Already extensive use of Schoology LMS throughout district
Easy for teachers to build AMP assessments
Students were already familiar with taking assessments in Schoology
Getting teachers together to discuss AMP data is crucial.


Lunch break. Discussion with Timothy Trinidad, Founder and Engineering Lead Schoology.
Mastery data API is being worked on internally. Not yet a public API.
Aggregating assessment data up from the class level is being looked at, preliminary discussions. When I suggested a two year time frame, the answer was maybe.

An after lunch discussion among team members here included trying to understand how many programs use a common assessment (which would be amenable to AMP)
Also discussed was automatic grade transfer: would the grade override column be the key?


Monday 2:00
Building a District Schoology Community
Rocco Marchionda
Instructional Systems Analyst Manager, Neenah Joint School District
Going beyond clear instructional uses…
Courses build classroom level communities, often in their own groups
Parents build groups that they use to communicate. Parents in the class can communicate.
Groups also include book clubs/AP testing/Civics testing resources
Updates, resources,/materials, upcoming events improve a Schoology environment. Every teacher should be doing status updates. We want resources and materials.
Building level communities:
Every school that comes in has its own page in Schoology.
Principals post coming events.
The college has a page where updates and resources pertinent to the institution can be posted. Should be used as a communication tool.


After this session Ken and I began exploring whether groups might be able to replace the Wiki for the participatory governance committees. Minutes would be posted as outlines. Outlines could be made public, but how to find them? Surface lists of minutes? Post them to the College resources and then make them public? Lots of details to work out here.  Groups would support discussions, permit updates to committee members, enhance interactivity and communication.

We also noted that the college does not utilize their own College updates capability to get information out to the college community.

I was then interviewed by Daniela Pardo and Ben Herndon. Their focus was on helping Schoology understand what data matters most, what questions am I trying to answer and how can Schoology help streamline the process of analyzing results.

I spoke again of higher education's need to aggregate course level assessment data (mastery data) up to program and institutional learning outcomes levels. I explained assessment in higher education. I noted the need to track non-student generated data. I explained the nature of TrackDat and how we use that tool, and the exploration of whether Schoology might supplant TrackDat. I noted mapping grids that map course learning outcomes to program learning outcomes, and program to institutional.

That is an orange juice in the hand of the runner.

The day ended with a networking social session in the evening on the patios of the conference center.


Afterward I walked up El Camino to a Panda Express for some Kung Pao chicken.


A long day - hoping to make this journey one with value to the institution I serve.

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