1M Users Strong, Schoology Grabs $6M To Take On Blackboard, Moodle
by Rip Emerson
Schoology, the makers of a one-stop, cloud-based learning management system for primary and secondary schools, is announcing today that it has closed a $6 million Series B round of venture funding. The round was led by FirstMark Capital and includes a contribution from existing investor Meakem Becker Venture Capital, bringing the New York-based startup’s total funding to $9.3 million.
For those unfamiliar, Schoology is building on the concept behind services like BlackBoard, Moodle, and Edmodo by way of a collaborative learning platform that allows schools to integrate online education, classroom management, and social networking through a good-looking, Facebook-esque interface. The cloud-based solution is available both for free, as a stand-alone product, and as a fee-based, enterprise-grade solution for schools and districts.
The appeal of Schoology for teachers is that they’re able to sign up for the service in a few minutes and can easily invite their students into the system using a unique access code. Therein, teachers can build a curriculum, create lesson plans, assign tests and quizzes, while students can submit their homework and join groups to participate in collaborative study projects, etc. Teachers can then grade assignments and also have the ability to take advantage of collaboration and content sharing with other educators within their school or school district, as well as adding apps into their workflow.
Schoology believes that its value proposition is in the way that its platform can be used across schools and spaces, allowing a diversity of organizations to participate in shared classes, groups, and discussions. In this sense, as FirstMark Managing Director Amish Jani says, Schoology doesn’t need to spend months and years convincing heads of a school system that the technology suits their needs, instead, “users simply adopt it, and Schoology then has the privilege of notifying districts or universities about additional capabilities available to them with a few clicks of a button.”
The goal is to push schools towards the adoption of Open Educational Resources. As education adopts digital textbooks, adaptive learning, and the flipped classroom, there will increasingly be a need for platforms that bring these next-gen technologies together. Schoology wants to be that platform, much in the same way that Boundless Learning is approaching the problem through creating open, expanded digital textbooks as the framework for the future of educational platforms.
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