OpenSchool ePortfolio is a web and iPad app that lets teachers and students manage a constantly developing academic profile used to document effort, progress, and achievement over time. With this app, a teacher can login from any computer or iPad with internet access and create and assign projects for particular groups of students.
The app’s built-in rubric creator has drop down menus that contain the CCSS Standards for ELA and math, as well as other standards for other content areas including the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), NETS (National Educational Technology Standards), NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies), and state standards. Teachers can attach these rubrics to each project, creating personalized and authentic assessments.
Students receive notifications when a project is created, and have the freedom to complete each assignment by uploading text, images, or video. Students can also reflect on the projects and assign themselves learning goals. When a project is complete, teachers can grade each assignment using sliders connected to the appropriate rubric. Additionally, teachers can communicate with their students through the application in the form of a comment. Students and their parents, who can also sign in to view their student’s work and comprehension, are notified when their assignment is graded.
In addition to the teacher portal, there is a personal section for students that is completely self-directed. Students can post and share content they find interesting with their classmates and have discussions about what was shared. They can take advantage of the iPad app and capture images and video directly and immediately upload it to their profile.
Student’s uploaded material can be viewed alongside their completed projects, assessments, and learning dashboard to provide a more complete snapshot of a student’s learning. These glimpses can be added to an ongoing academic profile of each student that can be built on year after year if a school or district were to purchase a site license. Although the application is free for teachers to download for up to thirty-five students, schools and districts must purchase a license agreement (approximately $15.00 per student with discounts based on the number of users) to gain all of the functionality for every classroom.
OpenSchool was founded in June of 2013 by Steve Zimmerman, who also founded SmartSchools and the Open School Project. OpenSchool’s mission is to “make the classroom experience relevant to 21st century students.” Their first product aims to provide this experience for students while ensuring that it feels natural for teachers, regardless of technical background. Developed by teachers for teachers, they are committed to user feedback and actively engage their users in the development of the product.
The OpenSchool team currently consists of six seasoned educators and edtech entrepreneurs (formed by a partnership between SmartSchools and A3Logics) who are based in Long Island City, Queens, New York. Since founding the company on June 20, 2013, they have at least one thousand student and teacher users in New York and Montreal.
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