Schoology NEXT 2018 Day Two

These are raw notes from the second day of the Schoology NEXT Day two of Schoology NEXT 2018 San Diego opened with a video. The opening keynote was delivered by Kellie Ady, Director instructional strategy. 25 years teaching in Denver. English, high school. Moved into technology as a tech director. Now with Schoology.


Concerns based adoption model (CBAM). People do not fear change, people fear loss. [Perhaps attachment is the root of suffering.]


Schoology is about removing barriers to effective teaching and learning. Schoology Compass: free set of reference materials and tools to guide Schoology users. Compass level I: Individual teachers are deploying ad hoc edtech into classrooms. Districts invest in infrastructure. Solutions are ad hoc.



Level 2: District-wide standards emerge. A set of tools is formally adopted. Curriculum starts aligning to tech.

Level 3: Pervasive adoption occurs. Critical mass is reached. Level four is advancing what is possible, innovating from the existing system. Compass is designed to aid one in the movement from entry, emerging, achieving, to innovating.


Schoology usage models
Ongoing professional learning support
Storage of curriculum framework
Student centered learning
Assessment and feedback
Engaged communities


Joel Haynes, Vice president of product. Joined in 2017. My journey started in three school districts in California over 16 years. Assessment, professional development. We used an LMS but it did not work all that well for us. We needed another option in 2011. A couple teachers stumbled into Schoology and used Schoology to flip their classrooms, do blended learning. My children used Schoology, my wife as a teacher used Schoology. What is coming. A roadmap.


The foundations of the roadmap. The learning climate is a foundation to the roadmap. What is the learning climate fostered by the package. Classroom assessment and reflection is an important foundation to the roadmap. Instructional rigor and student engagement are a third foundation. Instructional relevance is a fourth foundation. Literacy across all levels. The fifth area, knowledge of content. This is about the teacher - practices and pedagogies. Highly effective teaching uses these foundational aspects of effective teaching.


Personalized learning for all students is a core vision for Schoology. Voice and choice for students. We need to support voice and choice that enable students to use their voice. It is metacognition, thinking about thinking. Where are they in what they know, and knowing what they know, knowing what they do not know. Students choice in their learning experience.

Competency and mastery. The standards and learning objectives and aligning to those are part of the journey. Along with this, individualization of learning experiences. Insights into student learning, where they are on the learning path. Goal setting by students is important. Schoology has to support student goal setting, enable this. Supporting collaboration is also an important goal for Schoology.

Personalized learning for all students. The experience should be effortless, the technology should not get in the way of the learning. Content organization is going to have to change for different grade levels. Kindergarten versus secondary school. We also need to highlight evidence of learning. Portfolios, how we engage parents. Collaboration withing and across the learner's community. Leveraging masery to highlight every learner's path to success.

Platform developments over the past year include the new navigation experience. Course dashboard in the app. New items in gradebook: decaying average. Highlighting the row and column. Display of category grades. New LTI partners.

What is next? Simplified login: QR code login. Learning objectives and alignments. Entry, management, and modification to learning objectives. Alignment of learning objectives to materials.


Mastery gradebook is getting a makeover. A change to categories: approaching, developing, mastery, excelling.


Another new feature is the course experience.

Where we are headed, looking further out. We are headed to personalized learning. How one finds and delivers content to students is a center of innovation. We are investing in personalized learning activities.  These are features that comprise a healthy learning ecosystem. Collaboration tool innovation. We are also focused on learner outcomes and objectives. We want to surface not just a spreadsheet but insights beyond this. Empowering student to share evidence of learning in various forms, including portfolios.

AMP is a critical component to this effort: assessment management platform. To better target what the teacher needs to understand learning. Enhanced item authoring. Additional tools such as question or item level options, being able to embed audio or video in content. We are bringing better item bank integration. High quality search tool to permit import from item bank. Standardized aligned items. Enhanced assessment security. Password protected assessments are being developed. So students would need a password to log into a highly sensitive assessment (final exam).


We want to improve insights inside AMP. Looking at providing longitudinal AMP data, not just snapshot in time. Showing how students "flow" on benchmarks across time. Accessibility is being improved - making assessments printable. Improving grading workflows. Developing tools to simplify the transition to AMP.  Grading workflow improvements in assessments: grade by question in assessments.

We are seeking to deepen understanding of mastery by marrying data from learning activities and assessment. Strengthen these connections. This is happening in AMP, a consolidated environments. Improve outcomes by facilitating data-driven conversations. Improve test quality.


Catlin Tucker Blending Technology and Learning


Active engaged learning in the classroom and beyond the classroom. We are giving students more control over pace, time, place of learning. Providing support videos so students can go back and review material they did not understand. Watch the video over and over. She uses the playlist model in essay development.


This is a path. Steps to the process. Personalizing the path for the learner. There are yellow rows that are times when they will meet with the instructor. The path is laid out. What has to be done on a project when.

At the start of term we first discuss how to arrange the space. An online agenda lays out what the day's target is - she does not necessarily start each class. The students know the agenda and can start working on what they are working on. Not unlike the statistics presentations, but more thoroughly integrated into the daily curriculum throughout the year. Students work together on projects.


Assessment. Traditional grades are not motivating kids. She partners with her students on assessment. She wants the students to reflect on their learning and assess their own learning. The traditional flow is the teacher provides assignment, teachers guide, students work in isolation, students receive their grades. Students are inactive, passive, recipients of education, not active learners. This is a missed opportunity for a conversation. She is always trying to figure out how to give students more control over their learning. All assessment and feedback has been moved into the classroom. For two years she has taken no grading home. Most of the time she is on her computer while the students are on their computer.


This was indeed the model I used in Kosrae this past summer. I on my computer, the students in the lab on their computers working on science lab reports. I was reacting and commenting in real time as they worked on their assignments. My assessment tools were not the self-reflective ones she is using - grids where students self-evaluate what they can do and cannot do. She permits ongoing editing and revision of documents. Edit, revise, improve. Just as I did this past summer. We are both using Google Docs in this same manner. Interesting. The playlist is interesting. A path in time to get a lab report done? Steps and stages? Prompts? Did you tell the reader what you found? A grid. By the way, one can set comments to suggest rather than comment. I have to learn to use this feature more.

She has also organized TedEdClubs. The students delivered Ted talks in the classroom. These go online as YouTube videos. One student attracted the Ted team and flew her to New York city to present. As she said, if she had let her fear of putting the students online shut down the publishing of the TedEdClub talks, that moment in NYC would not have occurred for that student. Connect, publish. Her students blog their science results.


Justin Serrano Schoology president since May 2018. Was with a consulting firm in education technology and affiliated with a software company. Interview with Amazon as content strategist for AWS Educate. [Theresa] started out as an elementary school teacher. Been in the classroom for almost 20 years and then moved to Discovery Education as the team leader then to McGraw Hill to help broaden my impact and bring powerful impactful technology into the classroom. Now with AWS for the past two years. How do we bring technology into the classroom to help. Available in 190 countries.


AWS provides content. They work with Schoology to provide access to resources. AWS educate's focus is to Teach Tomorrow's Cloud Workforce Today. Their tagline notes, "With the increasing demand for cloud employees, AWS Educate provides an academic gateway for the next generation of IT and cloud professionals. AWS Educate is Amazon’s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning."

10:30 session
Schoology's Road Ahead. What's new and coming with Schoology LMS.
Ryan Hwang: co-founder and senior product manager, Britta Tremblay, product manager, integrations, Kelsey Collins product manager learning experience.


The guiding light is personalized learning for all students of all ages. Student voice and choice, empowering learners, competency enhancements. Large investments in mastery tools and updates. A lot of individualizations. Student pace and surfacing the right level of support. Goal setting. Core concept that we want to enable and support. Collaboration support. Student to student, teacher to students.

Surfacing content, designing an effortless experience for students, leveraging mastery and assessments to highlight and track student progress. All of the tools you need in one place.

Recent releases. Britta will discuss recent integrations. All tools in one place. Integrations. A fussy Apple connector has caused loss of the video feed/presentation twice. Interesting. The connector seems to be easily dislocated. SIS integrations. These integrations are hard to build. They are working on the OneRoster integration. Also working on content integrations - LTI.

On the SIS front: OneRoster. Allows leveraging shared... If an SIS is built against the OneRoster specification, then you get the improvement that comes with new APIs immediately. In use: InfiniteCampus, Aeries SIS. In testing: Focus School Software, ProgressBook Suite. On the content side we use LTI.

The next generation is LTI Advantage. Names and Role Provisioning, Deep linking, Assignment and Grade Services. Adds new functionality to LTI. These are new capabilities in Schoology. Course list passing, deep link capability, and grades can be passed back and forth.

Core LMS changes this past year. Third failure of Apple interconnect to screen. ChromeOS. Never disconnects accidentally.  Over the past year Schoology has been working to improve the user experience. They want to optimize the time you spend in the LMS. We removed the left navigation. Streamlined workflows. Cleaned up the interface.

New avatars for user and course profiles. Groups too. More personalizable. Another focus is more effective tools for teaching and learning. Improved the gradebook and course mastery tools.

The gradebook now highlights the active row. Grading category columns. The gradebook when set to show one category shows the category average next to the overall average for comparison purposes.



The decaying average is in the Mastery settings, Grade Overall Learning Objectives and is now the default setting.

In beta, a student specific view of substandards within a standard in mastery screen: a two level hierarchical review. Can be shown to students, parents.

Course assessments are being phased in. A redesigned tool and new question types. Improved student experience.

Course assessments now includes the option for password protection. Can lock down the assessment at the course level. Live progress is in beta. The ability to see how students are doing while the test is in progress. A dashboard. Primarily time versus how far they have gotten through the test in real time.

Thursday night the ability to convert test/quizzes to assessments. This is done over in resource. Move the test/quiz to resources first.

Up next....

Improved experience on all devices. New navigation is continuing to be improved. Badges release on iOS this week, Android later. Later this year on Android. Ability to see badges on mobile apps. Simplified login via QR codes. New user experience. Starting to bring that new navigation experience to Android, iOS.



Mastery and assessments. Learning objectives and alignments. Entry, management, and modification to learning objectives. Alignment of learning objective to materials. Working on hierarchical learning objectives.


Mastery tool. Better represent individual learner mastery. Improve understanding across domains. Schoology leans on calculation methods, how can we provide manual entry of accomplishment of mastery. A teacher can enter mastery directly. Other functional enhancements.

Course assessment printing is being worked on. Observational grading support is being added. Grade by question is being brought to assessments to improve workflow.

We are progressing towards personalized learning concepts. We start with the course experience across all devices.

Where we are headed. Enabling personalized learning for all students through organizing and delivering high quality content, improving collaboration tools, individually assigning folders, a focus on learner outcomes and analytics, empowering students to share evidence of learning in various forms.

Questions and answers

Common cartridge continues to be supported and will be supported, both thin and full common cartridge. LTI Advantage will have perhaps more granular capabilities such as deep linking and the ability to upload (zip) files.

Will question base convert? No timeline, not yet.

Support for import question banks? Yes....

After the session I spoke to Ryan Hwang, gave him a Green Banana Paper business card. Noted the need for hierarchical assessment, the need to be able to pull the same outcome from numerous classes up to the program and institutional level. The need to handle small bandwidth. A nearly 100% Android market - something true elsewhere overseas.

11:30 session.
The road ahead for assessment and AMP. Joel Hames, Ben Herndon, Stephanie Powell.


The Importance of Assessment for Teachers
● What do I need to adjust in my teaching?
● Am I being consistent for subjective questions?
● Which students seem to be having trouble?
● What tripped up my students?
● Do I need to adjust scores?

The Importance of Assessment for Administrators
● What do we need to adjust in our curricular program?
● Are we seeing consistent performance across sections or schools?
● Are student groups performing equitably or are there gaps?
● Are there teaching gaps evident in groups or subsets?
● Do we have the right people teaching the right courses?

The Importance of Assessment for All
● Are we seeing growth over time?
● Can we predict future scores?
● Are standards being taught?
● Are there problem questions?
● How did students do overall?

AMP is designed to support formative assessment - as opposed to summative assessment


AMP provides to instructors the ability to continuously adjust their instruction, the learning in their classrooms. AMP also provides support for administrative needs to report learning.

Course assessments occur within a single course. You have that capability now. AMP provides information on the managed, common, benchmark assessments.

Over the past year Schoology has improved the process for embedding audiovisual materials in assessments. There is an easy way to upload those materials. Better multimedia support. Image resizing is now easier: drag handles on images in assessments.



Question level tools such as a protractor or compass in an assessment. Preview is new: previewing an assessment.

Schoology has also worked on improving their item bank integration. Thousands of professionally authored items. Another focus has been on creating a responsive, secure environment while taking an assessment. The assessment should look the same across platforms. Respondus provides a locked down assessment environment. Assessments will also have a password protection.


Live progress is a new feature, provides information on how far the students have gotten during the assessment.


Schoology added a demographics report on learning. How have specific groups performed and are there inconsistencies.


This could provide the gender breakdown data for TracDat as well as provide demographic information along other data slices - state for example.

Printing is being enhanced. Text to speech capability is being worked for those who may have reading issues. This is an accessibility enhancement.

Grading workflow. Assessments can now be marked by question, a capability that tests/quizzes has had from the get go. Assessments now has that capability.

Observational grading is going to be added.



Observational grading can also permit reporting in of results from printed exercises.

New reports are being designed. A new capability is a report that looks for distractor rationale. Course assessment reports, comparison reports, and mastery reports. 


Comparison reports can allow one to look at comparisons. The mastery report will be enhanced. We want to aggregate by school, district. Right now you can only see individual student data and the overall, this would allow slicing by school or district. That might provide a path for program and institutional student learning outcome aggregation.

Where is AMP headed? Three themes drive AMP. First, deepen understanding of mastery by marrying data from learning activities and assessment. Alignment, reliable, valid. Take the data from AMP and feed that back to the classroom - back to the teacher and the student. So the student can take ownership of their own learning, see where they need to improve. 

Data presentation should reflect student growth and achievement. Decision driven data collection, not data driven decisions. You decide what data to collect up front. Be targeted, selective. Improve access, quality, and access. Scanning capability is being worked upon.



Question and answer

What is the timeline for text to speech? Beta right now. No specific date. But in the next few months. There are some nuances to be worked out. Text to speech is being developed in conjunction with a partner who has that expertise - expertise in Spanish and in math and science terminologies.

Will demographics be available at the district level? Not sure. Talk to us.

Converting homegrown question banks? Critical component to transition. On radar. No timeline. 

Students submitting oral and video responses. On radar. Test/quiz does this, assessments not yet. 

Observational grading will be available in both platforms: institutional and AMP. 

Item banks are an AMP only capability, not an LMS option (institutional).

How to get printed assessments back into AMP? Via observational grading. But each and every question will have to be manually entered for each student because the analysis is at the question level. 

During the break I meet Osric James of Trinidad who is working at the equivalent of the secondary school level in Trinidad. 

Tuesday afternoon 2:00 PM. Kellie Ady, director of instructional strategy; Lisa Bona, manager of professional development. Lisa was at Scantron for 18 years writing tests, designing tests, professional development within Scantron, has degrees in math and English, background in statistics. Math is a language. 


Assessment is a process by which we make inferences about what students know, understand, and can do. Assessment is a process of gathering evidence. Start with why: are you trying to support learning (formative) or evaluate learning (summative). Then decide what methods might work best. What targets will be measured?

Formative assessments are things like a FitBit, a weight scale. Benchmark or interim assessment is like an annual assessment by a doctor. Summative is like CSI: after the fact measurement that will not be used to improve learning in real time.


Course assessments are local to one course. Common assessments are intended to target multiple classrooms. 

Matching assessment methods and learning target types. Today we are focused on selected response and constructed response. 

It has to be the question that drives us. 


The shift to common assessments, to aligned standards, to learning targets.


Formative assessment should not go into the gradebook. If the grade goes into a gradebook, then you are doing summative assessment. Formative assessment is a guide to what remains to be learned. Used to interpret and adjust. 


Steps in the assessment process. Develop an assessment blueprint which includes standard reference, standard test, number of questions, question types, cognitive complexity, notes.


Rigor is a thinking process: how much thought. Difficulty is of using numbers like 25 and 32 and numbers like 361. Harder numbers. Start with a blueprint. Three to four questions per standard. Question banks have questions indexed by the metrics seen in the table above. 

Bloom's taxonomy is focused on verbs, Hess is focused on nouns. 


A common assessment creation timeline has to be constructed. 


Selected response questions are when a student chooses a response from a list chosen for them. Just recognize the correct response. Constructed response there may be multiple correct answers. Fill in the blank is constructive response. Fill in the blank drop down is selected response. 

Selected response works well on benchmarks, summative tests. They are easy to score, familiar to students.

They tell you what a student CANNOT do, not what they CAN do.  Unless there is a distractor rationale, it is hard to interpret student results. Note that AMP tracks versioning because questions can be edited.

Highlight hotspot, label image, and ordering selection are all selected response. These three might be more useful in formative assessment. Not as familiar to students. 

Constructed response includes fill in the blank, essay, math short answer. With the math questions there is a math keyboard. The students may need training on using the math keyboard. Histogram, line chart, bar chart... and these may be both selected response or constructed response. 

The highlight image comes in to the teacher as a video that the teacher can play. Those drawings can be difficult to accomplish on a Chromebook because of the low quality of the trackpad. 

Formative tips in Schoology include the option for zero factor materials, zero point items, rubric feedback, mastery reporting, text-based achievement display versus numeric achievement display. In rubrics there is a comment field for each criteria that you can make comments in. This comment capability is also found in the Google Drive Assignments rubric marking interface.

Know your purpose, think about naming conventions for assessments, identify and align targets, have an adequate number of items, mix up the activities, mix the levels of rigor. 

Performance based assessment can include observational grading workflow. She suggests that you cannot mark work that is marked by a rubric if it is not submitted, but there is the end run in the gradebook to this in my experience. 

The only catch to the good lunches is that one can get sleepy in the afternoon. 


The 3:00 session today is on external tools with Dwight Vicks, Product Engagement Specialist, Schoology. Katie Dewey Hill, Nearpod; Greg Gardner, WeVideo; Allison Recker, WeVideo. 

Schoology is committed to being an open LMS. Schoology works with IMS global and their certification requirements, OneRoster.  There are many tools in use in the classroom today.


IMS Global is a non-profit collaborative to allow companies and products to work together. LTI: learning tools interoperability. There are different levels of LTI. The market trends are towards interoperability. Schoology wants to host as much as possible on one platform. Provides a rich, one stop location for instructors.  This streamlines workflows, allows teachers to pick and choose content, and having the tool in the LMS increases usage of purchased tools.

The ways in which LTI tools integrate varies from tool to tool. Tools can be configured district wide by system admins or at the classroom level by the instructor. Some tools are free, some are paywalled. Some are in the app center, but there are also tools out there that may be LTI compliant and has a key and secret. App center is where the integration is known to be solid. 

Apps in the app center are often installed automatically by the app center. Where the app appears will depend on the functionality of the app. Some will reside in the left toolbar. Some will reside in Insert Content inside the rich text editor such as the one seen in the edit assignments dialog box. Others reside in the Add Materials dropdown. 

Katie Hill, Nearpod, is passionate about LTI tools. The group is told to open a NearPod lesson, but for those of us who do not have NearPod configured as an app, the message is "We were unable to locate an external tool for the specified tool link. Please make sure this provider is configured."


Katie has to step aside, WeVideo presents what WeVideo looks like inside Schoology. A demonstration of a video response to an assignment. Students submit responses to an assignment as a video.  The app is a video editor that "lives" inside of Schoology. Green screen capable, layer aware. 


The edit process is as straightforward as one can make the complex task of video editing.


The above is a book report submitted as a video. The grading workflow is the same, the video submits as an assignment inside Schoology. Clicking on the submission in the right hand submissions bar pulls up the video for marking by the instructor in a dialog box. 

Nearpod VR now has a working demo by swapping in Katie's computer. She seems unaware that many of us cannot run the demo as we are not configured for NearPod. She notes that about a dozen are in the demo, and she asks us to change the pen color to draw on the picture. Again, she seems unaware that the vast majority of us cannot do what we are being told to do. Always check to see if your students have access to what you have access to. 

Kelsey says to file a support on the disappearing rubric scores.


4:00 session with just COM-FSM. Technical details. Discussion of being able to send password reset to a secondary email address. Sandbox course options.  

Discussion of technical details. I talk about assessment needs. 

There is a permission that would permit the students to see their mastery data. Would be blank for faculty not aligning learning outcomes to their assignments. Would that be confusing? To be discussed with a VPIA, dean of assessment and others. I argue that it would not be confusing as long as faculty were aware that this entry existed and would generally be blank unless they were using student learning outcomes. 


A course with no student learning objective alignments.

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