Skip to main content

How Floop Started: Startup Weekend EDU from an Educator’s Perspective

Re-posted from the Seattle Public Library's Shelf Talk blog. I wrote this blog post back in 2016 to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of Startup Weekend EDU Seattle 2015, the weekend where Floop got started! It's been almost 3 years since then, and now, Startup Weekend EDU Seattle 2018 is just around the corner. Learn more about Startup Weekend EDU Seattle here.

Last year, Startup Weekend EDU started with rapid-fire pitches. In one minute each, participants shared their idea for improving education. One problem pitched by an educator jumped out to me: Teachers don’t have enough time to give the high-quality feedback that students need. Floop would enable a fast feedback loop between students and teachers. As a high school math and engineering teacher, I related with this problem all too well. I was even carrying around my paper stack of 150 quizzes with the hope that I could grade during downtime.




floop
Team Floop at SWEDU 2015
After the pitches, we formed teams around the ideas that resonated with us. Team Floop was composed of educators, engineers, designers, and product managers. We had only 50 hours to develop our solution, but between the high energy of the event and the de-stressing karaoke sessions, we managed to hack together a prototype, validate our solution, and develop a business plan. Sunday culminated with Demo Day, where we presented our demo of Floop: Students take a picture of their work through the app. Teachers see student work in Floop, drag and drop comments, link videos or practice problems from a bank, and add personalized comments. Students then respond to feedback.

Since that weekend, we’ve continued to work on Floop. We won the Global Startup Battle Education track right after Startup Weekend, learned from teachers at SXSWedu in Austin, TX in March, and are now part of the 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellowship. As Startup Weekend EDU approaches this upcoming weekend, Floop will celebrate its one-year anniversary by volunteering at the event and witnessing the development of new education ideas.

Floop is working on a small part of the feedback problem, but as an educator, I can think of a million other solutions I want for my classroom and my students. I want passionate, engaged, compassionate people working on these solutions. We need more teachers and students involved in solving problems in education. We need more people with diverse talents working on good ideas. Startup Weekend EDU enables just that. If you feel like I do, check out Startup Weekend EDU!

For more information, visit the Startup Weekend EDU website. Tickets to the full event are now sold out, but you are still invited to watch the full demos at the Central Library (Level 1 Microsoft Auditorium) on Sunday, Oct 7, from 3-6 PM.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Part 2 - Tools for an Equitable Feedback System: Engaging with Criteria

This series of posts will cover a variety of bite-sized strategies that can be incorporated into a more holistic feedback system. To learn more about the research behind these approaches, we recommend you first read our white paper.

Part 1 - Feedback is Emotional



For feedback information to be useful, it must communicate:  Where am I going? (What are the goals?)How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?)Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?) (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).  Supporting students in engaging with the grading criteria helps give context to the feedback to come. In other words, it does the groundwork of helping them determine for themselves, "Where am I going?"


Floop Team & Dr. Naomi Winstone: What does the research say about feedback best practices?

Over winter break, Floop co-founder Melanie and I had the privilege of talking with prominent feedback researcher Dr. Naomi Winstone. Her research has discovered that feedback interventions all seem to target at least one of four metacognitive skills, described by the SAGE process, and hypothesizes that a holistic approach to developing feedback systems should target all four of the skills: Self-Appraisal: judging one's abilitiesAssessment Literacy: understanding the grading process, standards, and criteriaGoal-Setting & Self-Reflection: being goal-oriented and monitoring progress to meet outcomesEngagement & Motivation: having an attitude of receptiveness to performance information Essentially, for feedback to reach that level of effectiveness that we've heard from experts like Hattie & Timperly, students need to be motivated to engage with feedback and have the feedback literacy skills to use it, and the instructional environment must give them the agency to act …

Peer Feedback on Student Presentations: Use Roles for Better Feedback and Engagement

When students provide feedback to each other on presentations, do you wonder:
How do I help students give each other meaningful feedback?How do I keep all students engaged during presentations and presentation feedback? One solution to both of these challenges is assigning feedback roles.
Roles during practice presentations For team presentations, I have students practice and give feedback with another team. For the team presenting, all team members stand and present as if it were the real thing. For the team giving feedback, each person focuses on a different aspect of presentation feedback. Here are roles I've used for 3-4 people teams:
Content - Provide feedback on the content of the presentationPresentation Skills - Observe and provide feedback on presentation skills and slide designTimer - Write down the times for each part of the presentation (or video tape it!) If you provide each role feedback guidelines, like a checklist, questions, or rubric, it can help students give each…