ClassroomIQ bridges the gap between pencil-and-paper assessments and the cloud by enabling teachers to grade assessments on any web-connected device. This platform automatically grades hand-written short answer and multiple-choice answers and also allows teachers to self-grade more complex open responses. We caught up with Steve Dillinger, founder of ClassroomIQ, to hear more about the platform and the future of the organization.
Tell us the story behind ClassroomIQ.
In 2010, I organized a grassroots movement to improve the low-performing elementary school in my Chicago neighborhood. Through my work with the school, I was exposed to education at all levels- from teachers in their classrooms to administrators in the central office. I was struck by the lack of technology available to teachers for improving their own workflow. I found that too much time was spent on administrative tasks, time that could be better spent helping students. I believed I could leverage my experience developing productivity tools for the financial industry to develop productivity tools for teachers, so I started developing ClassroomIQ.
Besides faster grading, what other aspects of your platform have led to teacher and student satisfaction?
Ask a non-teacher to explain what grading is and they will typically describe scoring– assigning a point value to a student answer. While teachers using our platform report much faster scoring times (up to 100% faster when using our auto-scoring technology), the real benefit comes from the other component of grading – student feedback.
Classroom-level assessment is not an end in itself. There is tremendous value in providing feedback to students addressing the concepts they do not grasp. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, feedback is often terse and returned to the student after moving on to a new unit. By that point, it has little value.
We provide a suite of tools enabling teachers to provide meaningful feedback for every student on every test, and also to return that feedback more quickly (often the same day). Students can view their scores and teacher feedback on any web-connected device and are ready to review the material in class the next day. This turns feedback from a few scribbled words returned a week later into a powerful learning tool.
How have you seen the edtech space evolve and how does ClassroomIQ continue to set itself apart from other education platforms?
When we first started working on ClassroomIQ, education trends predicted paper would disappear and technology would take a primary role in educating students while the teacher would become a supporting player, only stepping in as needed.
It hasn’t turned out this way.
Even in districts that spent millions of dollars providing every student with a laptop or tablet, teachers remain at the center of instruction and classroom assessments are still given on paper. This created a virtual ‘moat’ between paper assessments and digital platforms. Our technology bridges that gap, enabling schools to make the most of both worlds without compromise.
The transition from paper to digital will take decades. Unlike pure digital edtech companies, we are not waiting for the future to arrive, and unlike pure print edtech companies, we are not watching the ship sail. Our technology enables us to partner with schools every step of the way, putting us in a unique position.
What are some of the challenges you face building an edtech business and how have you overcome them?
By far the biggest challenge has been raising money. Explaining to investors what we do, why it is important, and the value it provides teachers and students has been a challenge. Fortunately, as we’ve gained market share, continued to successfully execute our business plan and become more familiar with investors, it has been (a bit) easier.
What is your vision for ClassroomIQ? How will you continue to make an impact in education?
We believe our hybrid paper-to-digital technology puts us at the technological epicenter of students, teachers, administrators and parents. We will continue to leverage this position to provide more value to everyone involved. In the coming months, we plan on releasing a Parent Portal, allowing parents to see not just their child’s scores but also their work and teacher feedback.
We talk to teachers on a daily basis. They know the tools they need to be more efficient and effective. ClassroomIQ will continue to evolve based on their feedback.
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