Home » » Schoology vs. Edmodo, Round 2 - Also, why Schoology solved my iPad workflow woes

Schoology vs. Edmodo, Round 2 - Also, why Schoology solved my iPad workflow woes

Written By marsono on Sunday, February 24, 2013 | 12:57 PM

In a previous post from December, I wrote about how I was (sadly) switching from Edmodo (my long-time LMS love) to Schoology. Of the 25 schools I support, 33 classes of students are using a Learning Management System. Since my December revelation, 26 have switched to Schoology and the remainder stayed with Edmodo. I myself maintained both an Edmodo group and started a Schoology course for the twice-weekly after school Student Innovation Team I lead. This, combined with the 33 classes, was a great way for me to learn more about the differences between the two platforms. I've learned a lot, and wanted to share it with you! Below is a quick overview of what we've learned when it comes to Edmodo vs. Schoology.

Why they both rock...
  • Full Collaborative LMS. Both Edmodo and Schoology are full-fledged Learning Management Systems, including assessment building tools, discussion platforms, assignment creators, scheduling tools and announcement boards.
  • Google Drive Integration. Both platforms allow students and teachers to connect their Google Drive accounts. As more and more districts are turning to GAFE (Google Apps for Education), this is becoming more and more necessary. Students can get Google Docs as resources from their teachers, or turn in a Google Doc for a project or assignment. It is simple to link and easy to access in both systems.
  • Interface. Both Edmodo and Schoology feature a Facebook-like interface that is clean, appealing to students and fairly easy to use. Unlike some of their competitors whose interfaces include visually unappealling spreadsheet-like screens and and cluttered menus, Edmodo and Schoology's teacher dashboards and student interfaces are brighter and include clean icons.
  • Free. Both Edmodo and Schoology are free. While some may say that Schoology charges a fee, it is free in all the same ways Edmodo does. They both allow an unlimited number of teachers and students to create accounts and use their system at no cost. They both have app stores, where you can pay to connect third-party apps, websites and programs to their platform. The one place that Schoology does charge is for Enterprise support - i.e., connecting to your district School Information System (such as PowerSchool) and important student data, login information and grades. However, this isn't required and these features are above and beyond what is free in Edmodo as well. So, in essence. They are both equally free.
  • No Email Required. Neither Edmodo nor Schoology require an email account and they both have a simple student-self-sign-up-system (say that five times fast). They use alphanumeric codes (Edmodo's is a bit easier as it's only 6 characters vs. Schoology's 10)

Where Edmodo edges out Schoology...

  • Professional Learning Community. Edmodo has been around longer - about a year to be exact. Perhaps for that reason - or perhaps because of a different company focus - its professional learning networks are more mature and active than those in Schoology. I myself am part of quite a few Edmodo groups and find them helpful to connect with other educators and get ideas. The "discover" link on your page is also a neat tool to find great resources that you otherwise might not come across.
  • Small Groups. Schoology's platform allows for the creation of different classes, and even the ability to invidivually assign quizzes or assignments, but you cannot create small groups. In Edmodo, you not only have the ability to do this, but the tool is easy and intuitive. Moreover, it is possible to have the same students in multiple small groups - a great feature when creating multiple project groups or ability-based scaffolded groups.
  • Badges. This is another great feature available in Edmodo but not in Schoology. If you want to give your students incentives for different achievements, check it out!

Where Schoology has Edmodo beat...
  • iOS App / iPad WorkflowThis was the biggest win for me. I should have honestly put this one first and could write an entire post on it. Instead, I'll just bold the subtitle and make the font red so hopefully you continue to reading to here. The Schoology iPad app solved (almost) all of my iPad Workflow issues. It's a one-stop solution for turning in students' digital work directly to Schoology assignments - from almost every productivity / creation iPad app we use (without having to first put it in a backpack or another file repository as Edmodo requires). It works with any app that allows you to either save the video or image to your photo roll, or open the file into another app. Some examples: Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, Puppet Pals, Popplet, PaperPort Notes, iAnnotate and Doceri / Explain Everything (the screencasting apps we used to replace Educreations / ShowMe / ScreenChomp). Once the work is submitted it is easy to grade, in Schoology's no-need-to-download-the-files web-based viewer and give student feedback. Students can also turn in unfinished assignments, then access their drafts at a later time to complete their work. The additional submission shows up as a "revision" while maintaining the original file for reference. Needless to say, this sure beats the email, Dropbox.com or WebDAV solutions we'd all be stringing together in the past. 
  • More on the iOS app. Moreover, the Schoology app is more intuitive and developed than the Edmodo app. It allows students to create media (video or picture) to embed in assignments or discussions, open assignment attachments such as PDFs or pictures directly into another app. The functionality of the iPad app is so clean and easy to use that some of my 1:1 iPad teachers who were against trying out an LMS (because they found Edmodo's app difficult to navigate) are now in love with Schoology! Check out this page with support on how to use the Schoology iOS app, and my video to the right with a basic walkthrough of its main features. 
  • Discussions. Schoology has a slew of discussion features not currently available in Edmodo. As there are many, I'll simply bullet my favorites below. For more information on discussions, read this article and check out this video.
    • Discussions are their own category - In Edmodo, if you want students to have a chat discussion, you simply post a note or assignment and allow them to reply to that. However, in Schoology, discussions are their own category that are both gradeable, and assignable. 
    • Reply threads - Students can directly reply to one another's comments in Schoology, and their comments show up as a reply thread (just like in Facebook). This is not possible to do in Edmodo.
    • Media embedded in comments - Students can comment in a discussion with video and pictures - both on the desktop version and the iOS version. This is especially helpful when they are discussion a math problem and they want to share a their written work.
    • Student comment spotlight - Teachers can use a "filter by user" tool to see which of their students participated in the discussion, how often they participated and where their comments are in the flow of the thread. 
    • Shared discussions - Teachers can share a discussion with another course to allow students from multiple classes to join in the same discussion.
    • Comment moderation - Teachers can also moderate comments before they are published.
  • Assessment building tool. Schoology also offers some advanced assessment tools in its assessment builder:
    • Embedded Media - The Schoology assessment builder allows teachers to directly add video and images - even formulas and rich HTML text - to both question and answer portions of an assessment. The result is the ability to have a student match pictures of animals to their appropriate classification. Or polygons to their names. Or even watch a video clip and name the genre. (In Edmodo, you can embed links but not media itself.)
    • Ordering / Sequencing questions - This is another question type available in Schoology. 
    • Assessment Settings - Schoology's assessment builder provides additional settings such as: resumable assessments, timed questions (in addition to timed test), result statistics, and question alignment to state or Common Core standards. 
  • Analytics. Schoology also allows the teacher to view a myriad of analytics about student behavior on the platform - including time in course, last time logged in, assignment pageviews and more.
  • Attendance. This LMS also has an intuitve attendance feature that includes commenting and messages to parents.
  • Updates feed. When logging into Schoology, students only see updates (course messages from their teacher) on the left panel and all of their assignments, quizzes and discussions are on the right panel. This helps students to differentiate between what they need to do and coure announcements. Many teachers I work with are using the updates to give the kids an agenda for the day. That way when they log in, they see the period agenda on the left and the to do list on the right. In Edmodo, both types of messages are blended into the same news feed, so students often have a difficult time dileneating the two. While they could look at their notifications, or updates, at the top right of the Edmodo page, the Schoology update feed is still easier for most of my students (as many have commented in the past month).
So who won this round? Schoology. The discussion features, iOS app, and assessment tool were knock outs for us. However, as we say, there are no long term relationships in EdTech. Edmodo has a new app update coming soon, and we're excited to try it out and see what new features it brings. We are all here to find the best tool to meet our students' needs. Hopefully this healthy competition will only drive LMS innovation at a faster pace. So here's to looking forward to round 3.

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