Spotlight: Teacher Tech
How two alums built an app to revolutionize the way educators track student progress.
Andy and Ellen C. Raupp.
The little girl had moved from Japan to New Jersey and was stuck—stuck because she knew too much to continue to receive intensive daily services as an English language learner but not enough to pass a high-stakes standardized test. So her teacher, Andy Raupp ’09, an MS in Education graduate, advocated for the next best option: basic skills instruction for 30 minutes, twice a week, to help her assimilate into the mainstream classroom.
The student worked diligently; she was very serious, rarely cracking a smile. And Andy kept close tabs on her progress, taking detailed notes and making audio recordings of her reading aloud.
“I was able to play back her reading from the beginning of the year and at the end of the year,” he says. “Not only were we able to hear the difference in her fluency, she was able to see that her rate for reading 100 words had improved by 20 seconds. And she’d made this 20-second improvement while reading something that was four levels more difficult than what she was reading at the beginning of the year.”
After Andy shared this information with her, the student did something he’d rarely seen before. “She smiled,” he says. “That smile reminded me of why I became a teacher.” She proceeded to pass the fifth grade highstakes test.
This may sound too good to be true to those educators who feel as if they can’t possibly track progress at this level of detail while keeping up with daily paperwork and instruction.
But Andy uses a not-so-secret weapon: Chronicle, an iPad application that he and his wife, Ellen C. Raupp ’07, also an MS in Education graduate, created in 2013 in conjunction with their company, Powerhouse Education. Chronicle helps teachers capture student progress and guide instruction, feedback, and communication. The Raupps, both teachers at Hawes Elementary School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, wanted to provide themselves and other teachers with tools to implement best practices more easily and effectively.
“The app really allows us to add a new dimension to student assessments and communication with parents,” Ellen says. “The demands on teachers continue to increase,” Andy adds. “Teachers are expected to be extremely meticulous in their documentation and proof of student growth—and this app allows them to do just that.”
The Raupps hope to soon transition Chronicle to a multi-user format so different teachers can add notes to the same student file. They also want to make the app available to Android users. In the meantime, they’re celebrating their app’s success. “It’s been a fun and crazy ride so far,” Ellen says.
Make the Grade
Could Chronicle solve the challenges of tracking student progress?
The Raupps hope so. It’s packed with these capabilities:
ORGANIZATION. Users can create class rosters with detailed information for each student, including a photo, contact emails, the student’s proficiency level, and test scores.
DOCUMENTATION. Grades are easily entered, but teachers can also keep notes on student progress and file them according to customizable topics, including instructional needs and comments.
EVIDENCE. Chronicle allows teachers to capture pictures and make audio and video recordings filed under each student’s name to share with the student and their parents, providing evidence of progress and areas for improvement.
Learn more at www.powerhouseed.com.