by Kara Thompson ’20
Every year, MCPS revampssome aspect of its communication platform. Two years ago, it wasthe switch from Edline to Portal as a method of checking grades. The most recent addition has been MCPS Classroom, a similar site to Google Classroom, which is commonly used by teachers.
According to MCPS Chief Technology Officer Peter Cevenini, teachers a few years ago asked “for a system that better met their instructional needs.” After much deliberation, MCPS bought the new platform. Canvas, the site at created Portal, is also the one that created MCPS Classroom. MCPS personalized Canvas, which resulted in the learning management system myMCPS, where both MCPS Classroom and Portal can be found.
There were a few training sessions at Sherwood for the introduction of the site that explained how to upload syllabuses, how to create a home page, and how to add items to a calendar, and teachers were asked to do these things as the bare minimum. Beyond that, teachers seem to be on their own and use either site at their discretion.
Many Sherwood teachers continue to utilize Google Classroom to post information and assignments. Some teachers have a preference as to which site they use, while some use both. However, this can be confusing for both students and teachers.
Biology teacher Glenn Miller is a fan of the new MCPS Classroom. “I like the organization of MCPS Classroom better. . . [and] that the grades from MCPS Classroom sync with the school system grading program,” said Miller.
Junior Melissa Bitting likes MCPS Classroom better. “It is more versatile, as teachers can post different formats of assignments, and it is much easier for teachers to post documents and Powerpoints,” she said.
On the other hand, many other teachers prefer Google Class- Teachers Left To Decide Whether To Use myMCPS or Google Classroom by Kara Thompson ‘20 room, like science teacher Laura Dinnerman. She feels Google Classroom is easier for both students and teachers to organize.
Many students, such as junior Conall Sahler, agree with Dinnerman. “It has an easier interface and isn’t as confusing as MCPS Classroom to get to,” explained Sahler on his preference. Since Google Classroom has been utilized for many years, many students and teachers feel more comfortable and at ease using that over the newer MCPS Classroom.
History teacher Michelle Games sees benefits to both. “I like Google Classroom primarily for assignments and work, and MyMCPS Classroom is where I post Powerpoints and worksheets,” she explained.
The current situation in which teachers choose to use MCPS Classroom or Google Classroom or both, looks as if it will continue. MCPS does not seem to have any plans of mandating one of the other, allowing teachers to choose whichever they want to use.