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Totally Edupreneurial Tuesday: The Future of Ed Tech?

You don’t have to be a futurist to know that customization and tailored content should be a staple in education planning as we move forward. While there are many open-ended tools and curricula available to the public education sector, they are typically designed with a national or global audience in mind and built to please the masses.

“Clearly there is no packaged curriculum or tool to rule them all. So what is a district to do when served a robust and festive platter that doesn’t truly meet their individual needs? Do they pick and choose which dishes can be consumed, starve, or do they cook up a new recipe for learning?” – Lisa Johnson

ExitTicket Story:

So… let’s take this idea of customization one step further. Rather than making do with a one-size-fits-all commercial product, some districts have decided to create the very tool they need. Perhaps the future of Ed Tech is… Edupreneurship? Take ExitTicket for example:

“Dr Waters (Superintendent and CEO of Leadership Public Schools), and the teaching team tried several technologies, and among them was a set of Quizdom Clickers used for audience polling. They found that students enjoyed the immediate feedback and scores started improving. But it wasn’t achieving the type of proficiency gains Dr. Waters was hoping for, and the clickers were very limited in their features and functionality.” – ExitTicket Story

Dr. Waters, Dr Refsland (an ed tech entrepreneur) and a team of Leadership Public Schools teacher designers began developing ExitTicket to give teachers a powerful tool to accelerate student learning. Flash forward a few years and ExitTicket, an assessment tool that boasts amazing results with student gains of 2 to 3 years in only a year, is now available to the public. (Explore the Case Study HERE.)

Exit Ticket Developed by Leadership Public Schools

Exit Ticket Developed by Leadership Public Schools

A Sampling of ExitTicket Features with Power-Packed Potential:

  • Projector View vs. Teacher View: Teachers only project the data they would like students to see.
  • Launch Tickets for Homework: Math and History teachers (as well as classes that are looking to differentiate as well as flip their classroom) will do cart wheels for this feature! Basically you create a quick assessment to match your homework and you add a qualifier (e.g. 70 and below = green / 80-90 = proficient) and then you can prepare different assignments for students based on how they scored as well as address these issues in real time:
    • Qualifier Assignments: green/yellow/red packets corresponding to qualifiers like below, far below, basic, proficient, advanced. Students in each one of these categories vary quite a bit depending on the TEK or the assignment so students have no issue with having green one day and red the next. 
  • Questions Tied to Learning Targets: Learning target proficiencies can be made available to students so they can track their own data and be in charge of their own learning.
  • A Robust Built-in Math Equation Editor: Math teachers will flip-out AND the tool is web-based so they can do this process on the iPad if they choose.
  • Lots of Sorting and Reporting Available: Teachers can randomize questions, resort students by score, export data as a csv.

ExitTicket Availability:

ExitTicket is available to the public (some features and functionality are FREE and others are premium). Their resource center is also pretty comprehensive. It includes a four week lesson plan for trainers, a video library, and much, much more.

How many other districts could there possibly be that design a tool to support their own students? Up until a few weeks ago, I thought this phenomenon was a fluke… until I met Greg McIntyre, Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at College Station ISD. I popped into his session after my morning keynote, and was thoroughly jazzed by his story!

“College Station ISD felt their middle-of-the-road and struggling students were not being adequately supported so they created their own “Just in Time Learning” portal entitled Success 24/7” – Greg McIntyre

Success 24/7 Story:

Now at first I was skeptical. As many of our own teachers upload lectures and notes for students… I wasn’t entirely sure this was any different. Greg did clearly state what the tool wasn’t. It is not intended to be full blown lessons, flipped instruction, or an online course… more just a support of learning.

Success 24/7 Developed by College Station ISD

Success 24/7 Developed by College Station ISD

A Sampling of Success 24/7 Features with Power-Packed Potential:

  • One-Stop-Shop: All of the content (created by teachers in the district) for a course is in one place so students are not visiting multiple teacher sites or at a disadvantage if their course instructor doesn’t provide additional support materials. 
  • Designed for the End User: The interface and dashboard is designed for the end user and students constantly provide valuable feedback. Additional features such as voting on videos, shorter video clips, and the option to remove white space for easier viewing on the bus have been added at student’s requests.
    • Vocab: Vocabulary is built in to the system.
    • Assessments: Assessments are also available. These are assessments for students – like practice exams. Students can take a test and then they manage their own results and see what other content they need to review (yes, assessments FOR learning). Assessments also serve as prescriptions for instruction for the students.
    • To Do Lists and Reminders: Students have their own customizable dashboard with to-do lists, reminders, and they can view their own reports.
  • Credit Recovery: They are even using the learning portal as credit recovery. Greg said they have essentially trashed the model of “fail first semester and then go to credit recovery.” Now students receive a prescription within the first six weeks. They go to the site and complete the modules prescribed and then are allowed to take a 6 weeks exam to earn credit back for the course. This allows then to not fall so far behind that they can’t catch up. Additionally, he mentioned they had 35 students stay after early release to take 6 weeks exams to receive credit back.

“Through the use of Success 24/7 we have a developed an immediate recovery plan for students that puts them right back on track instead of waiting till summer.” – Mary Selcer, math teacher

Success 24/7 Availability:

Success 24/7 is currently only available to students within the district. However, they have created a demo version with limited functionality for outside districts to explore.

Success 24/7 Is Well Informed:

What better way to showcase this district-created resource than with an infographic (courtesy College Station ISD).

Preliminary Results of College Station ISD's Success 24/7

Preliminary Results of College Station ISD’s Success 24/7

 

“While these two tools differ in functionality and purpose… one thing remains true… they were developed by the district for the district (FDBD). I can see the clothing line now… ;)” – Lisa Johnson

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