Friday, January 18, 2013

Schoology and Edmodo Part 2

In the first post on free blended learning platforms, I focused on the value of a quality Discussion tool within the platform (read that post here!). This week I will breakdown the features that help organize the online learning environment.

Managing a hybrid/blended course is relatively straightforward when your content is kept to a minimum. Do you just want to post homework? How about weekly discussions? Interested in posting only assignments? What if you want to collect assignments? What if you are aiming for a paperless classroom? All of these and more can be managed with the free classroom management tools Schoology and Edmodo.

For the purpose of this article Blended Learning involves a course taught in person that utilizes online learning opportunities in which students interact online with classmates and content.


Organizing within Schoology and Edmodo (both free to individuals) appears to be similar at first. On further inspection you will find several differences in the details. They both provide  the following features:
  • Groups: In Edmodo this covers all types of groups including courses. In Schoology, Groups and Courses are distinct, though similar. 
  • Resources: In Edmodo this is the Library (for teachers) and Backpack (for students). In Schoology it is simply called resources but can be confusing if not well managed. 
  • Post: A generic term in both platforms that refers to anything 'posted' to the group
  • Gradebook: In Edmodo this is now called Progress
  • Calendar: Manage assignments and events for any group
  • Folders: Share a folder of resources with a particular group. In Edmodo you would organize your content within the Library and then share a folder to a group. In Schoology you could organize content into folders within your general 'Resources' and share that to a course/group OR you can create a folder within a group.

Schoology 'Materials'

Schoology shines with a section called 'Materials'. This section exists independently within any course (unlike the Edmodo Library, which is not personalized by course) This is the key tool to organizing a course. Instead of all posts appearing in one stream of consciousness (a la Facebook) the Materials section allows an instructor to get serious about organizing. 
  • Assignments - Post upcoming assignments with due dates and open a drop box for collecting student work (optional). Everything in the Assignments goes to the gradebook.
  • Discussions - Post a group discussion question. Add it to the gradebook if you like. Easy to manage and kept separate.
  • Tests/Quizzes - Create tests and quizzes with all types of questions. Let Schoology grade parts for you, and then do your own grading as needed. Create question banks as well. Goes automatically to the gradebook.
  • Files/Links - This could be consider a resource section. Post any files or links to the group here if you like. Even if content is added to a folder for the course, it will appear here as well if it is a file or link.
  • Pages - Do you have static content? Post it here for all-the-time, easy access.
  • Albums - Create an online repository of images and include commenting space
I would not go so far as to say that Edmodo has none of this, but Schoology's design is superior (though it has a longer learning curve.)


Organizing within in Edmodo is mostly managed by two features. One is the Library (and sharable folders within) and the other is choosing what type of Post you are going to make when you enter a new post. A detailed tutorial on the Edmodo Library can be found here (video)

The Post feature in Edmodo allows for five different types of post. Most posts can have files and links attached as well as Library items.

  • Note: A note is the basic type of post that both teachers and students can create. 
  • Alert: A short (140 character) announcement that is bolded in the stream and is meant to stand out.
  • Assignment: A post that has a title, a body, a due date, and attachments. Assignments are added to the gradebook. Assignments are also stored somewhere in Edmodo so that when you choose 'Assignment' you can then choose to load an old one or create new. 
  • Quiz: Create a quiz with autocorrect questions and/or open response type questions. Quizzes are added to he gradebook. Individual questions can have attachements. Quizzes are stored somewhere in Edmodo so that you can pull up old ones when you are ready to assign one.
  • Poll: Create a poll and send it into the stream

I recognize I am starting to feel quite biased toward Schoology, however I still see room for both platforms. While several districts are adopting one platform for everyone, you may find that individual teachers and grade levels will find more comfort in one platform or another. I know in my district there are teachers using Moodle, Edmodo, and Schoology. It is an exciting and quickly changing landscape. Please contact me with any questions you have or leave comments below!

Chad McGowan is a high school technology teacher and professional development specialist in educational technology. Over the past 16 years, Chad has taught a variety of math and computer courses for grades 7-12. Since 2000, Chad has been guiding other professionals, pre-k-12, in educational technology. Follow Chad on Twitter @ahstechteacher and through this blog.


  1. Your two posts comparing Schoology and Edmodo are fantastic, and I found your breakdown of their features to be helpful for others who aren't familiar with the two services. I'm a big Schoology fan and would love to see this company grow so that we can keep using their product. I also wrote a blog called "Why I Chose Schoology Over All the Rest" on my Welcome to WonderTech blog
    Hope to keep the conversations going.
    Twitter: @wondertechedu
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    1. Thanks Alice. So far I'm thrilled with Schoology. I know there are some small things that I would like to see improved or added, but I must say, it is fulfilling my needs.

  2. Thanks for this...with semesters switching I took the plunge and I am leaving Edmodo (I feel like I am cheating!) for Schoology. I just wanted something different and this looked neat. You have given me some confidence in my choice.

    1. I am using the semester break to switch the rest of my classes over as well. I know that guilty feeling. Edmodo has done wonders for me, but I feel almost like they are the MySpace of this field, in early but overcome by a smoother functioning platform in Schoology. Time will tell.

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