As technology continues to find its way into the classroom at a rapid pace, valid concerns from teachers continue to surface. Will educator responsibilities and/or impact be minimized? Will teachers no longer be needed? What parts of the job might be enhanced via technology? In fact, these questions have been raised by educators since the birth of education technology. With the transition to cloud-based technology becoming more widely accepted, many school and district administrators are feeling the same unease. How might technology enable more efficient resource allocation? How will these complex systems impact their jobs? How will machine learning and AI impact their schools and districts?
As we saw with the former, educators were able to start differentiating instruction more effectively as a result of some of these technological innovations. I believe the same will happen for the latter, as administrators evolve into true edtech coaches through K12 versus managing a rack of servers or blindly purchasing curriculum content for a district without being able to truly measure its efficacy. With device access having become more and more ubiquitous due to favorable technology and pricing trends, the foundation is set to truly differentiate and individualize all student learning pathways. Remember though that while technology is the vessel, instruction, curriculum, content and most importantly, collaboration are the key ingredients for student achievement.
Over the last 13 years, I was incredibly fortunate to be part of two generational and disruptive companies in Google and Dropbox. During my time at Google, I was lucky to have been part of a transformational time in the education world. In the K12 space for example, nobody expected the rapid success Chromebooks experienced, but it demonstrated what the right product, at the right time, for the right price point, could do to forever alter an industry. Dropbox was no different and provided the opportunity to fine tune a beloved consumer product, into a robust set of tools for global researchers across higher education.
During the last six months, I’ve had time off to think about the direction my career would take next. Over that time, I met with many amazing people across a variety of industries. Having that time is a luxury to discover what truly makes you tick. For me, seeing the way my seven year old son’s eyes lit up when he was reading My Weird School or Notebook of Doom, or watching a nature documentary, was the clearest sign I could get that I needed to be back in the world of K-12 education technology. The time seemed right to step out of my comfort zone and into a start-up, where I could influence product, marketing, and of course, revenue.
That led me to Kiddom. A serendipitous call with its CEO Ahsan Rizvi, and a follow up meeting in San Francisco with 25 truly dedicated and passionate people, had me sold. Hearing from the teachers about how much they love the platform, reminds me of similar experiences prior to the launch of Google Classroom. I truly believe that if you stay focused on the end user, good things will come. And we are, as Kiddom is now present in 70% of US school districtsand we are just getting started. By focusing on key pieces of teaching and learning such as standards-based grading and reporting, understanding content efficacy and utilization, simplifying collaboration, and enhancing parent engagement, Kiddom has built an incredible set of products loved by and advocated for by teachers across the country. Teachers will always be at our core, as we continue to solve pain points they face every day in and out of the classroom.
As the roles of people in K12 evolve, so do the tools they use. In this case, the systems that have managed the process of learning in school. Kiddom isn’t just iterating on the monolithic LMS, but rather rethinking from the ground up what a true K12 operating system could offer. Our school operating system enables educators to collaborate and individualize instruction more effectively. Classrooms gain access to a library of teaching resources and curriculum development tools. Beautiful, actionable reports help students, teachers, parents, and administrators monitor progress and take action. Pedagogy and technology work in harmony on Kiddom to help schools unlock their full potential.
To ramp up our Academy product for school and district administrators, we’ve nearly doubled the size of the company this year, to set up for a strong 2nd half of 2018. Having been at Kiddom for six weeks, and with the school year winding down, my excitement about our impact continues to grow by the day. Our Academy pilot kit also launches this week, which will help administrators learn what many of their teachers have become so excited about. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” Sounds like the definition of lifetime learning to me. Come join us on this journey to reshape teaching and learning with our new K12 OS!
By: Jason Katcher, VP of Revenue
P.S. Are you an administrator seeking resources to support your teachers? Book a 1:1 walkthrough with a member of our team.