With both being learning management systems that are aimed towards giving teachers and students an easy way to learn and teach in the online space, it was inevitable that Google Classroom vs Schoology would soon start being compared to see which is better, especially over recent years where online teaching and resources have become much more important than ever before.
While both are incredibly useful in their own right, there are a few key differences that are important in knowing since chances are you or your institution will be using the program for the long term, and since they can differ in what resources and features they actually offer, it’s always important to make an informed decision.
Here is a full breakdown of these two programs and which you should consider using to take your digital learning experience to the next level which is guaranteed to be effective and meaningful in the long run.
What Is Google Classroom?
First founded in 2014, Google Classroom has been applauded since its release for not only its constant updates but also for just how easy it is to use, encouraging collaboration between students and teachers which is further supported by a plethora of features to make each of its menus and tools as easy to understand as possible.
Creating classes, setting assignments, and keeping track of grades are just a few features Google Classroom offers that have held it up as an incredibly reliable and efficient online learning program for a few years now.
What Is Schoology?
Owned by PowerSchool who are one of the leading providers of cloud-based learning focused on K-12 education, Schoology is dedicated to providing an accessible platform that encourages collaboration between educators and students, or really any learners with a variety of learning management features that make tracking progress easier than ever while also containing some incredibly unique features of its own which make these interactions even more effective for long term use.
Comparing Google Classroom And Schoology
While both serve the same purpose and have been around for quite a few years to the point where they have been updated to include a whole range of learning resources and features, there are still a few key differences between both programs to know about which should convince you to use one or the other depending on your situation as a student or educator.
Here are all the major differences and similarities between these two programs to know about to help you decide which to use:
The last few years have reminded us all how important virtual learning is as an essential backup when teaching can’t commence in person, and luckily, both programs offer an easy and reliable experience when it comes to teaching virtually and work in much the same way.
Using Google Clasroom, teachers and students are able to make use of Googe Meet which will allow them to record sessions while also providing a chat log for students and teachers to post any queries or questions instantly.
Schoology works much the same with the integrated BigBlueButton’s Schoology Conferences app that also allows teachers to set up and record a session with a chatroom along with an interactive whiteboard if you purchase the Schoology Enterprise tier.
You can even share files during these sessions which is always useful when asking for an assignment to be handed in or to display a piece of homework during the class.
One thing that should be noted with these sessions is that while Google Classroom can hold up to 500 participants at a time, Schoology is only limited to 100 people so while it may have just a few more features to use at the higher tiers, for those large conferences, it does lag behind Google Classroom.
When it comes to setting assignments, it’s not just important to be able to create the document just the way you would like, but it’s also vital that it is easy to see by the students and can be interacted with easily since this can be a common problem when it comes to online learning.
Google Classroom makes this simple by giving teachers a few different options for how they want to create and distribute an assignments.
Whether you want to send out an assignment to multiple classes with a single click, or you want to set a deadline date for all students to see, educators are given a tremendous amount of options on how to set up an assignment so that it is clearly understood and seen by all students.
When logged into Google Classroom, students will receive a notification that an assignment has been set which saves a tremendous amount of time and ensures that students won’t have to go navigating through multiple menus to find it.
While students can complete their work through third-party applications, this has been seen to be quite unreliable so it is therefore more advisable to finish the assignment on another Google application such as Google Docs or Sheets.
This is not the case with Schoology which supports up to 300 apps for both uploading and completing work ,meaning teachers can use content from third parties such as Microsoft and Google, and students will be able to finish the assignment on virtually any writing software they choose.
On top of this, Schoology also gives teachers the option to add additional features and resources to an assignment so that they can get the most engagement out of the students.
These features include being able to display a grading and learning objective which can help students improve on their previous work so they know what they need to do to reach their expected grade.
While setting assignments is easy and can be done in little to not time on Google Classroom with a good amount of options regarding how the document looks and how it’s distributed, there are a few drawbacks that do not affect Schoology the same way and with there being a few more ways to cutsomize an assignment along with them also being easy to view on the main interface once assigned, Schoology is a little better in this department.
Learning is all about the interactions between the educator and the student, and while this is incredibly important in the classroom, it’s also important outside of it so that students and teachers can discuss other matters without being on a set schedule.
Google Classroom does offer a few good features within its classes that encourage interaction between students and teachers, specifically the Stream feature which allows students to chat or upload files and photos that others can then comment on or give their opinion.
Teachers can also get involved with this chat log by asking questions or making announcements, making this an incredibly useful tool that encourages discussion about what was most recently taught.
Both students and teachers also have the ability to make changes and add comments to a Google File while viewing it at the same time, making it easy to point out where a student might need to improve or where they have done well.
Parent’s will also be notified via email of how their child’s work is going which allows them to also be involved rather than being out of the loop.
Schoology offers all these features but expands them to a much larger scale while Google Classroom only offers these features within a single class.
Schoology also provides chat logs for students to talk about sports, clubs and any extracurricular activities outside the classroom which helps make Schoology feel far more like an actual school where students can still meet new friends and discuss ideas rather than immediately logging out once the class is over.
This isn’t just restricted to students however, teachers also have a Public Group feature which allows them to chat not only with educators from the same school, but even those from other schools who are using Schoology around the world, providing an easy way to learn about new techniques and resources that can be used for the next class.
Parents can also get involved by signing up for their own personal Schoology account where they can view how their child is doing in their studies along with their past grades and any assignments they are currently working on.
While Google Classroom does therefore encourage some level of interactivity within the classroom, Schoology offers it around the entire platform and encourages interaction between teachers, students and parents much more.
While both Google Classroom and Schoology provide teachers with the ability to keep track of their students grades and assignments which they are able to respond to with feedback, Google Scholar does lag behind in terms of how much you can actually view in regards to a students academic progress.
Google Classroom does provide a handy Gradebook feature where teachers can see a students grades up to that point and the feedback they had given while also being able to upload these grades to a CSV file or Google Docs to keep them safe.
There is also a handy external feature called Originality Reports which helps to detect any signs of plagiarism within an assignment which can save a tremendous amount of time and is a good way to encourage students to always write their own work.
Some other additional features include being able to compare competency patterns across multiple classes at a time, along with a system that alerts teachers to when students are dropping in their expected grades and when they could require further support.
Important to note is that these additional features will require teachers to integrate with Schoolytics since this is the programe that offers these advanced analytics, however for Schoology, everything is built into the programme including being able to view a students level of interaction with resources, along with when they last signed into Schoology.
Schoology’s Gradebook is also a little more advanced with teachers being able to not only see grades up that that point, but also having the ability to create grading scales and categories which can help a student know what will be required when they next come to write an assignment.
Rather than a system that spots plagiarism, Schoology instead features an anti-plagiarism feature which is much more effective at immediately picking up and recognising work that has been copied.
While the Gradebook and Originality Report feature works just fine for teachers who want to quickly be able to see how students are progressing, Schoology offers just a few more advanced features that can make it a little more useful for when you want to clearly set out how students can achieve the next grade along with all of these features being built into the programme already so you won’t have to go through an external software to make use of them.
Both platforms are free to use for both students and teachers who want to make use of the basic features, however while with Google Classroom these free features are fairly limited, with Schoology the basic plan allows you to use many of it’s built-in features right off the bat with the upgraded paid plans being a lot more optional.
There are three paid plans that you can choose from with Google Classroom, these are :
1. Google Workspace For Education Standard
$3 per student and includes all the free features along with Gmail and Classroom logs, audit logs, advanced device and app management features, and a security centre.
2. Teaching And Learning Upgrade
$4 monthly payment which includes all previous features along with access to Originality Reports, Google Meet features with up to 250 people at once, breakout rooms and interactive Q&A’s.
3. Google Workspace For Education Plus
$5 each year, includes all previous features along with live streams providing up to 100,000 people at once along with 500 participants in Google Meet sessions, personalized cloud search, and syncing rosters from SIS’s to Google Classroom.
Schoology on the other hand offers the majority of its grading, learning, and teaching resources in its basic free plan, however you do have the option to upgrade to the Enterprise Plan which includes some of the more advanced features including phone and chat functionality, system-level administration and SIS integration which can save you a tremendous amount of time in the long term.
Schoology unfortunately does not provide details on the pricing of the Enterprise Plan, so a school will need to get in contact with them for a quote which is a little more troublesome than the up-front payment of Google Classroom, however this is only required if you want those few extra features that Schoology offers.
While Google Classroom was regarded as the king of online learning software for many years, since Schoology has received an extensive amount of updates over the years, for many schools, teachers and students it has now become the go-to option since it provides all the resources and extra features you could need all in one place.
In contrast, Google Classroom does still offer a decent amount of tools to use and if you just want to set up classes, track progress and grades, and establish meetings with a large amount of students once, Google Classroom will still offer a very reliable and streamlined experience that is easy to understand and get to grips with.
You do also have the option to upgrade to one of the three paid plans if you want to, however the basic version does have enough features to still make it an effective learning tool.
If you are looking for even more added features however such as having more control over grade requirements, a few extra tools to customize and provide feedback on assignments and much more encouragement for interaction both inside and outside the classroom, then Schoology is the much better option to go with.
In terms of pricing, Schoology’s free basic plan offers a lot more resources and tools to students and teachers than Google Classroom which instead will need to be upgraded to access some of the deeper and more advanced tools such as the Originality Reports and being able to use Google Meets.
You can easily stick with the free plan for Schoology as long as you use it since you will still have access to all the resources and extra features that are needed to make learning as engaging and intuitive as possible, making it an incredibly generous software in terms of what it offers.
Schoology is therefore the much more advanced, detailed, and efficient learning online programe that will give you the most amount of resources to assist with the overall learning experience as much as possible, however if you do just want a quick and easy platform that still gives you a decent amount of learning resources for both students and teachers, Google Classroom should definitely still be a consideration even if it is just the basic version.