Classrooms are often the last place that see the impact of revolutionary new technology.
In 2012, that started to change. Today there are a whole host of new technologies which impact educators including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), online textbooks, Khan Academy, increasing numbers of teachers using Twitter, Edmodo, Pinterest and Tumblr, and last but certainly not least, the proliferation of mobile devices in classrooms.
But while many things change, some things stay the same. Giving students fast, meaningful feedback has a long-standing, proven impact on learning. Personal attention from amazing, dedicated and involved teachers and smart assessment practices have a proven and incredible impact as well. There is an overwhelming body of research which shows how students best learn and teachers best teach — however there are very few tools directly focused on making teachers’ lives easier so they can teach smarter and better.
Our product and our approach is shaped by what we’ve seen and learned from hundreds of educators who interact daily with thousands of students. We thought about what goes into a teacher’s day: an early start; an intense succession of ideas and children and parents, each with their own demands and requirements; recess duty, detention; sometimes played against a backdrop of additional and separate challenges, like behavioral, emotional or societal problems which impact the quality of learning that occurs in their classrooms. Teachers often wage an uphill battle to ensure that every child in their classroom is learning the maximum amount, is receiving incredible individual attention, love and encouragement every single day, no matter what is going on at home.
Our company was founded to support the teachers who supported us as we were learning, because we value education, and because we ourselves have worked in classrooms and know that the resources and tools could use some sharpening. We are hard at work on our first product which we’ll release later this year. Our grading app is an formative assessment tool, designed to be user-friendly, to make teachers more productive, more effective and to drive instruction that maximizes students’ learning and outcomes. We’ve started with a small but dedicated group of classroom teachers who are giving us feedback and helping us smooth out rough edges so that our tool speeds you up, never slows you down, and makes a research-proven impact on the quality of education.
In the meantime, we invite you to participate in a dialogue with us. We intend this space to be a place for discussion, a place where we can share conversations about best practices in education, ways to better support our students, and ways we can better support the dedicated educators that we encounter every day. We’ll share stories like those of Sarah, Lisa, Kathy, Mike, and Mark; amazing teachers and school leaders who have dedicated their lives to students and are intent upon improving their practice. We believe we have a revolutionary new technology which allows teachers to put theory into practice. We believe this tool is going to improve learning based on the principle of more effective feedback while supporting the superhero teachers who are out there. We hope that all of us look back on 2013 and remember the tidal shift that occurred this year, when amazing tools caught up with incredible practice.
Please join us in this conversation and share a comment, question, or idea of your own — this is dedicated to all those awesome teachers out there, because without you, we know we wouldn’t be here right now.