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Schooled on Schoology

Hannah Foley
Westport Public Schools Director of Technology Natalie Carrignan talks to the Board of Education about the move to Schoology, which is planned for next year.

On Monday, June 3, Natalie Carrignan, Westport Public Schools Director of Technology, spoke before the Board of Education concerning the switch from Blackboard to Schoology, the learning management system that will be used by the district during the 2013-2014 school year.

With a layout similar to Facebook’s, Schoology provides students with a wall where posts from all of their teachers can be viewed in one spot. Teachers can enable comments so that, just like on Facebook, students can comment on a teacher’s post for clarification. Their classmates will be able to see the comments as well.

“It really allows for communication and interface between the students and teachers,” Carrignan told the Board.

The district will make the switch from Blackboard, the leading system used by college and secondary schools, to Schoology because, Carrignan said, Blackboard’s infrastructure is old and, therefore, does not allow for new features to be implemented quickly.

“Blackboard is clunky,” she said. “We chose it because it was the best at the time, but our expectations have changed.”

The district extensively researched and tested 15 different programs before settling on Schoology.

“We had 209 points on our comparison list, like ‘how many clicks does it take,’ ‘how clean can it be’ and ‘can kids who can’t read well yet navigate it as easily as those who can,’” she said.

Carrignan added that Google Apps and the Home Access Center will still be used next year, as Google provides the email service for the district and the Home Access Center is used for attendance and official grades.

Parents and students will use their current Blackboard usernames and passwords for their Schoology accounts.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Foley
Hannah Foley, Editor-in-Chief

Hannah Foley ’14 has many talents, but when combined together, she is unstoppable. As a major contributor to Inklings newspaper as Editor-in-Chief, WWPT radio, Staples’ award winning radio show, and Good Morning Staples, she is truly a triple threat. Each alone are impressive enough, but Foley is able to manage them all together.

It all started with journalism as a freshman, when her class joined forces with the television production class. She immediately began hosting at Good Morning Staples, where she can still be seen to this day. She later found herself as a part of the news department for WWPT, and the rest is history.

Foley has continued to impress, winning a John Drury Radio Award for second in the nation for a feature news story she wrote and read on WWPT.

Although each is unique, Foley feels that her participation in the individual organizations benefits the others. “Since they all have a base in journalism, they all require that you master different skills and those skills can be applied across the board,” explains Foley.

One of Foley’s proudest articles written for Inklings is a column  about her experience living in Brooklyn during the 9/11 attack.

But the thing that introduced it all to her still holds a special place in her heart.

“I love layout, I love eating food at layout, and I love the moments that happen at layout,” Foley says. “When I look back at high school, I’m not going to remember that test I took. I’m going to remember sitting at the table with my staff eating Roly Poly’s, laughing while Ms. McNamee and Mr. Rexford make jokes.”

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