By Claudine Gervais
At one time, Scantron forms – with their rows of empty circles for recording answers to multiple-choice questions – were the latest in classroom technology. Put down your No. 2 pencils.
Quipped, an educational technology company based in Winnipeg, is here for education’s future.
Technology is a great tool for educators to use. “Research into how students learn and innovative instructional practices create an opening for technology in the classroom,” says Catherine Gerbasi, one of Quipped’s founders.
“We’re designing tools for 21st Century learners,” says Suzanne Braun, Quipped’s co-founder and CEO. Braun became an entrepreneur 16 years ago, when she started Relish New Brand Experience, a branding and interactive studio. Gerbasi’s background is as a publisher of K-12 educational materials with Portage & Main Press.
While Gerbasi brings her experience as a publisher focused on education, Braun brings the ability to see how the latest educational approaches might be expressed creatively through technology.
Both businesses – and now Quipped – are located at 318 McDermot Ave., a former dry goods warehouse in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District.
Quipped recently earned a place among the top startups in Canada at Impact8, an investment-readiness program from the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing – one of only eight companies accepted. Quipped’s software, QUIO, is now in a good position to find backers.
Quipped launched its software, known as QUIO, as a service, based on the work of authors Caren Cameron and Kathleen Gregory. “They developed a way to assess student learning that goes beyond the traditional way of collecting a string of marks and calculating a grade, to one that provides an overall picture of student learning,” says Gerbasi.
Changes to curriculum, the latest research in the way students learn, and modern teaching methods mean today there is less emphasis on measuring and sorting students, and more on increasing the levels of performance of all students.
Change is good
Change can create anxiety for students, parents and teachers, so teachers need to make this new form of assessment understandable and demonstrate how it works.
“The expectations on classroom teachers are significant,” adds Braun. “Assessment is a lot of work. We’ve developed QUIO to help teachers do this type of evaluation.
“QUIO provides teachers with a flexible environment to collect, analyze and communicate their students’ progress. It’s a powerful tool for establishing accurate, consistent, meaningful and supportive grades based on quality evidence. It enables a teacher to have a conversation with a student about where they are in their learning journey, and where they need to go,” says Braun.
This new software is free for teachers and helps them keep the focus on learning, not on collecting data.
Learn more at http://www.quio.ca.