A Review of Every Major Education Website Used in High-School
Written by a recent high-school graduate
Long gone are the days of writing down your homework in a planner or turning in a physical paper.
I graduated from high school earlier this year (go class of 2020!), so not only is everything I share going to be relevant but will also hopefully help teachers and educators make better choices for online learning.
This was by far my favorite way to turn in assignments for the past four years. Any tool that helps students minimize time figuring out technicalities means more time to complete the actual assignment.
One of the greatest benefits of using Google Classroom is that… well, it’s made by Google. This means if your school already provides students with a Google account, there is no extra set up or exporting needed.
Google Classroom can also create a Google doc for every student and share it, so teachers can check progress. Once a student submits work, their editing access can be taken away automatically.
Google Classroom offers the added benefit of a simplistic UI. All the due dates stay neatly organized. There are also methods to encourage students to discuss on a forum style chat, especially useful for online discussions or Socratic seminars.
My school shifted to Schoology during my last semester of high-school, so my experience is on the lesser side. Personally, Schoology’s UI and layout were slightly complicated. Of course, people my age can figure out how to use a website with relative ease.
Attaching documents is also fairly simple since Schoology can connect with Google Drive. In the past, my teachers were able to have reasonable success hosting online quizzes and tests on Schoology too.
The folder-based layout makes finding older assignments easy, there is also a built-in emailing system.
While the look and feel of Schoology is not as futuristic as Google Classroom it offers more pragmatic features. For one, it has an actual grade book. The grade book is nothing special, just a grade book.
This was used for plagiarism checking. Honestly, it was pretty frustrating since many teachers would force students to submit essays and research papers to different platforms.
For example, almost every literature essay had to be turned in on Google Classroom, Turnitin, and sometimes a hard copy (since the teacher preferred to grade on a physical paper).
I have no real complaints about Turnitin. It connects with Google Drive to turn in assignments or files can also be uploaded from local storage. I know teachers have the option of letting students see how much of their paper was “plagiarized”. Some left it on, some off.
I really wish developers would just blend Schoology and Turnitin together. It’s not that hard, just a matter of two companies partnering together or sharing an API.
Okay fine, no teacher approves of Slader. But I’ll be very forthcoming and say it is one of the top websites used by high-schoolers. Yes, most of the time it is used to find answers to textbook problems, but it is also a tremendous learning resource if used correctly.
The website’s UI is somewhat clear but is cluttered with ads. They offer a premium service that just makes cheating easier and removes ads. The only way I can see teachers and students agreeing on using Slader is for non-graded or “participation point” style assignments. I should also add, I do not condone cheating in any way. Cheating is bad. Don’t use Slader to cheat.
So those are my two cents on the four most popular education tools used in high-school. There are a few others like Khan Academy but they’re fairly self-explanatory.
A tip for teachers: If you don’t know how to use a website, chances are a student in your class does. Teachers love answering questions, don’t be afraid to ask some too : )
Stay safe, and happy remote learning!