Using Schoology for differentiated learning

Addressing student mastery and learning targets in an LMS

Using Schoology for differentiated instructionKristi McKnight, a 9th grade teacher at Harwood Union High School in Moretown, Vermont, shares how she and her teaching partner, Mike Coyle, use the Schoology learning management system (LMS) for differentiated learning with her students. With Schoology, McKnight is able to describe how she’s giving her students choices of assignments and learning targets, and use native platform tools to track their proficiency as each unit progresses.

Along with the Tarrant Institute’s own Susan Hennessey, McKnight presented on Harwood’s work with differentiating instruction materials for students at the national conference of American Middle Level Educators this past November in Nashville.

Harwood’s 9th grade is currently 1:1 with iPads, and as part of Vermont’s move towards personalized learning plans, the school is adopting proficiency-based graduation requirements. This movement towards centering students as the driving agents of their own careers as learners gives McKnight’s work with the Schoology system extra impact. Schoology allows McKnight to partner with her students on formative assessment as well as personalizing instruction.

Using Schoology for differentiated instruction
Student view of assignment calendars in Schoology, both on conventional machines and tablets.

Using Schoology for differentiated learning is a powerful way that this particular LMS can increase student engagement in a 1:1 environment. One of the points that Hennessey and Knight made at AMLE was that students reported feeling that they had more choices within the Schoology “A La Carte” system, and that in turn allowed them to choose a materials-presentation method that was a better fit for their learning preferences.

Using Schoology for differentiated learning

There are a number of LMS platforms out on the market today, and in fact, we work with individuals, schools and districts using BadgeOS, Canvas, Edmodo, Haiku. But at least in terms of student engagement, we know across the board that choice increases engagement.

Audrey Homan

Audrey Homan is a Vermont-based digital media producer, and producer of The 21st Century Classroom podcast. She's worked in non-profit communications for more than a decade, and in her spare time writes tiny video games and mucks about with augmented reality and arduinos, ably assisted by five dogs. Interviewing students and yelling in PHP are the best parts of her job.

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