One change the McNicholas student body and teaching staff are adjusting to as they begin the 2013-2014 school year is the software switch from Edline to Schoology and Rediker. Schoology is a website for students and teachers to aid classroom communication and organization by providing a common area to access assignments and lesson plans, while Rediker provides the gradebook for each class.
“Edline was very elementary in its capabilities,” Director of Educational Technology Katie Ritter said. “Schoology and Rediker are more interactive and have discussion boards, which is more suitable for the students due to the implementation of the Tablet PC Program. From a curriculum standpoint, Schoology resembles the format of websites most college students use. With Rediker, teachers can look at analytics of their students’ grades through graphs and charts and since Schoology is interactive, it builds a sense of community between students and their teachers.”
Ritter also believes that the Schoology website format, similar to Facebook’s format with a profile for each student and a ‘Recent Activity’ feed where teachers can post reminders, will be easy to navigate.
Requests were made to make the switch by some McNicholas parents who heard about Schoology. Various local high schools in the Forest Hills area use Schoology. Once the members of the McNicholas Administrative Team were informed about its advantages, such as the online discussion boards and familiar format, they agreed that it was time to switch.
Ritter and Director of Technology Andy Ey started making the switch in May and launched the sites within the McNicholas community in early August. “We held three information sessions for parents and students about navigating the websites,” Ey said. “In addition to that, we had to train the whole staff about how to use Rediker since we have been using Edline to enter grades for seven years.”
“It may take some time to adjust, but these two products have a lot to offer,” Ey said. “The switch will definitely be beneficial in the long run.”