Milton students heading back to virtual learning this week experienced technical difficulties.
After a week off for spring break, Milton students and staff experienced intermittent accessibility issues with Schoology, a Learning Management System provided by PowerSchool. The virtual learning environment is cloud-based and used by thousands of districts nationwide.
Milton School District issued a news release Wednesday, April 1, saying: "Many school districts across the nation are facing extended closures. As such, many have begun a transition to a virtual learning model. Schoology, being one of the more popular virtual learning systems, experienced a sudden and extreme increase in demand for its resources beginning March 30."
According to a statement from PowerSchool, that has put a “strain on parts of the software and resulted in some service interruptions. This is the cause for issues [some] may have experienced. This is not an acceptable situation especially during these times.” (To read the full statement, visit https://www.schoology.com/blog/scaling-schoology-increased-demand)
In a communication to families sent on April 1, the Milton School District expressed that the timing of these issues is unfortunate, but understandable as a result of the global pandemic.
Because the issues are caused by Schoology’s technology at the national level, the news release said school district support staff are unable to directly control or repair access.
While the Schoology developers work to resolve their technical issues at the national level, Milton teachers will use additional avenues to get information and materials out to students.
District Director of Technology and Innovation Ryan Curless said: “[these methods] could be in the form of student or parent emails. We will use other programs and communication tools to reduce the overall traffic and reliance on Schoology while they repair their systems.”
To help prevent additional technical issues on Schoology, the school district news release says students should:
- Log out when not using the program.
- Download assignments to work offline as needed.
- Be flexible in their virtual learning schedule.
According to district Director of Curriculum and Instruction Ryan Ruggles, families should plan their virtual learning schedule around what works best for them.
“Our district believes that virtual learning should be done within a student's own time and space,” he remarked. “Students do not need to all log in at 9 a.m. Students can work earlier or later, based on their needs and the family's needs.”
For those with concerns on how the intermittent functionality issues of Schoology will impact student learning, Ruggles offered words of reassurance: “As we encounter access or technical issues that are beyond our control, we will continue to problem solve, be creative, and as a district, we promise to be flexible and responsive to our families’ needs. We are all in this together.”
About PowerSchool / Schoology:
PowerSchool’s mission is to power the education ecosystem with unified technology that helps educators and students realize their potential, in their way. PowerSchool boasts over 20 years of innovation, starting as the first web-based student information system, through industry changing user interface and mobile apps, to our Student Information Systems and Unified Classroom platform. Today, they are the leading provider of K-12 education application technology supporting over 45 million students in over 80 countries. Visit www.powerschool.com and www.schoology.com to learn more.