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WCA to Pilot Social Networking in the Classroom

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Schoology, a start-up company, has created a cutting edge software program for improving the classroom experience and communications between school and home and has invited Westminster to pilot it and test it out. Students from Washington University who felt traditional school made systems were inadequate and impractical designed the program. Essentially it is a digital classroom that is based off of and acts similarly to social networking websites such as Facebook.
This system takes all of the school’s information, such as grades, events, and announcements, and makes them readily available over one interface, unlike other programs where teachers and students have to check three different databases. Kent Kehr, technology coordinator, said that Schoology is a blend of schoolmaster with a friendly interface, which is similar to Facebook.
“It is a more robust networking system that connects students, parents, and faculty,” said Kehr.
Teachers are able to post assignments on their own personal profiles, communicate with other co-workers, and interact with families through private conversations that mirror the principles of instant messaging.
Students are able to see all upcoming school related events on Schoology, and receive text messages to remind them of approaching deadlines. Although students may intentionally leave their parents in the dark, now parents can view their children’s homework schedules, and keep tabs on what their workload will look like week to week.
Not every classroom is going to be participating in this trial run. Fourteen teachers in high school and middle school have been chosen to pilot this program, and if it proves reliable Westminster will consider integrating the software with schoolmaster, the current software, in the upcoming year. All senior worldview classes will be participating in the test as well as several other randomly chosen classes.
“We thought it would be wise for a few teachers to work through this system in the upcoming year since it is a startup company. There will be bugs in the program, and the teachers can figure out what other features should be added before the whole school switches over to it,” said Cory Snyder, registrar.
The program is intended to be a win-win situation for WCA and for Schoology. Westminster will have the chance to be a part of this company from the ground-up and have the software custom built for its needs and Schoology gets a willing partner in its effort to develop a new education tool.

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The School Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy
WCA to Pilot Social Networking in the Classroom