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What's the difference: Powerschool, Blackboard, Schoology, School Messenger

 

Powerschool, Blackboard, Schoology, School Messenger?  What's That?

We have several communication systems in Sharon.  While it can feel overwhelming sometimes, each is designed to help students learn and adults communicate well with one another.  Here are some explanations.

Powerschool is our Student Information System.  It holds demographic information including address, phone, email etc, plus all student grades, state information, and local ID codes.  Powerschool acts as a hub for most of our other systems.  For parents, you use Powerschool to see kids' grades.  Elementary parents really don't use PS much aside from changing addresses or emails.

District code for mobile devices:  DGJB

Blackboard is just the name of our web sites.  Blackboard is what most teachers use to set up their own "web site" where they post homework and assignments each week or each night.  The main purpose for Blackboard is to make your life simpler because your student's classes/courses are pre-populated under their teacher's website.  Less searching.  

Schoology is like Blackboard.  It is a web-based Learning Management System that maintains course information including assignments, discussions, tests and quizzes.  It is much preferred by many of our secondary teachers because of its interface (which looks much more like Facebook or other social media sites) and its functionality (it directly links to Powerschool so assignments can be given and grades can be recorded in one place.  It also links really well with Google Apps, which teachers like a lot).  Schoology is brand new this year so it will take us a while to get used to having another system to check.  But, Schoology has the potential to be much more than just a homework notification product.

School Messenger is the name of our Broadcast Email, Phone and Texting service.  We mostly use email unless it is an emergency or we need to provide a more personal touch.  Emails usually come from  NoReplySPS@sharon.k12.ma.us and can come from any number of groups in the Sharon Schools.  Unsubscribing from one, unsubscribes you from them all.

FAQ

Why don't we have just one system? 

Because they've all been adopted at different times.  There's a legacy, comfort and functionality piece that is hard to break away from.  Secondarily, we continue to search for something that can "do it all" but they are few and far between and often don't meet their promises.  Schoology is much more focused on secondary teaching styles, hence, Edline continues to be the primary tool for elementary teachers.

Why are there student and parent log-ins? 

That's mostly for secondary.  SMS and SHS students do get graded and thus do want to see what is going on.  Most systems do provide different logins for different types of users.  Students see slightly different info in Powerschool.  In Edline and Schoology they only see their own info, where parents (in Edline so far) can see all of their children's info.