Google Classroom vs. Schoology


Students and teachers have mixed reviews on leaving Google Classroom for Schoology.

This year, FCPS implemented a switch from the learning platforms Blackboard and Google Classroom to Schoology. As Longfellow makes the transition, students and teachers are navigating the possibilities and pitfalls.

Seventh Grader Jameson M. spent much of last year at Haycock Elementary using Google Classroom for all of his assignments. He quickly noticed that Google Classroom was an easy, accessible platform. 

“I personally like Classroom more, since it has more student-to-student communication with the ‘people’ tab. It also had direct links to Google Workplace products like Slides and Docs instead of having a link to a doc that takes around 4 seconds to load,” Jameson explained. 

Several teachers, including history teacher Noel Kellams, prefer Schoology’s technology but admit the platform takes a little getting used to. 

“I was an early adopter of Google Classroom, but I am liking Schoology for what it adds,” Kellams explained. “Some of it is still a little confusing, so right now, I’m kind of in between the two, but I am starting to lean towards Schoology.”

According to the official FCPS website, FCPS switched to a new platform because Schoology has certain abilities that accommodate both teacher and student needs. Among student-related reasons are:

  • Collaboration for curriculum development.
  • Tools for problem solving, inquiry, and design of innovative solutions that increase student engagement.
  • Real-time communication between students and teachers.

Despite these supposed improvements, seventh grader Reese K. holds Google Classroom as the better platform.

“Schoology has a lot of folders and things that I’m not as used to,” said Reese. 

Pros and Cons of Google Classroom

Google Classroom has many desirable features, such as the platform being flexible for students and teachers. Google Classroom, of course, also has a sense of familiarity as it is what students and teachers are most used to and have spent the most time exploring and using.  

“I’m sure I’ll figure Schoology out,” said Journalism teacher Andrea Duggan, “But Google Classroom’s interface made it easy for me to set things up with multiple documents attached to an assignment and make sure journalism documents were shared so the students and I could work on them together.”

Google Classroom also has its fair share of flaws. An article in eLearning Industry lays out a few of the problems. First, it is not compatible with Google Hangouts or Calendars. No calendar means it’s harder for students to keep track of what needs to be completed. Also, when teachers make changes to Google, the student interface doesn’t update automatically, which means they may miss important information if they don’t refresh their screens. 

In addition, it doesn’t keep student information as safe. According to Common Sense Education, users can interact with untrusted users, and profile information is shared during interactions. Unlike Schoology, Google Classroom has very limited parent communication. The article also mentioned that “User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.”

Pros and Cons of Schoology

Schoology is resourceful in some ways. According to Common Sense Education, Schoology is a safe platform because users cannot interact with strangers. Schoology’s integrated calendar reminds students of upcoming assignments, tests, and school-wide events. Most importantly, it’s organized and is easily accessible for families and the school community. 

“We can easily communicate with our entire Longfellow community through our parents, students, and community courses in Schoology,” explained Longfellow’s technology specialist, Mary Reid.

On the other hand, Schoology has its own challenges. 

“As with any new tool, it is something that has to be used over and over before teachers are comfortable posting materials for student access. Teachers who were used to posting things in Google Classroom may find that they have to complete a few extra steps to create assignments. Since it is a complete Learning Management System and has many more features than GC, teachers almost have too many choices, so that makes creating assignments and organizing materials more challenging,” Reid explained.

Students and teachers are adapting to this new learning platform, and regardless of where opinions stand, FCPS has committed to using Schoology.