This is going to sound cheesy, but… The winners of our first RemixEd event are - everyone!
All of the teams did a fantastic job. Each teacher came in Saturday morning with a very rough description of what they wanted. By their final presentations, each was able to articulate the problem they were trying to solve, and a go through the solution they created. It was impressive how much each one improved in this short time frame.
And the collaboration and creativity. Wow. I saw participants getting up, walking around, and helping not just different members of their own team - but helping members of other teams! Amazing!
To give you a taste of the wide range of creativity here, let me share with you all of the teams that presented at RemixEd.
These intrepid high school students were one of the two all-student teams that stepped up during the event and asked if they could create their own project.
This tool lets students share and edit class notes collaboratively. Notes are organized by classes and topics, and can be text or images. There is even a point system to encourage participation and high-quality notes.
They ended their delightful presentation with:
"P: Participation. O: Organization. S: Study skills. T: Teamwork. N: No distractions. O: Online backup. T: Time saving. E: Easy to use. S: Student-teacher bond. What does that spell? Post Notes!" How awesome is that?
"Let the beat rock… so all can learn!"
This tool lets students create lyrics over pop songs to demonstrate their learnings. Think of it like educational karaoke. There is a word bank that maps to a lesson plan, a rhyming dictionary to make the songs flow, a list of songs that work well in this context, and a way to match syllables with a song’s rhythm.
They ended their entertaining presentation with a rendition of Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song, with custom lyrics about germs, antibiotics, and vitamin C:
"Today I just woke up feeling really ill,
I’m just laying sick in my bed.
Don’t feel like picking up my head, so leave me here I’m good as dead.
All my white blood cells are battling for my health.
Sick as a dog, sick as a dog.”
"Our focus is on English language learners. We looked at different aspects of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening, and speaking."
This tool gives students a structured way to do peer editing and peer grading of their papers. A number of templates, shortcuts, and controls are offered to make this process visual and simple.
TagIt approached their problem scientifically to get actual data. They sent out a survey built in SurveyMonkey and distributed via Facebook to get feedback from teachers on the writing process. This team also included behavior research to support their presentation.
"Providing students with quality time to learn after-school and instilling accountability in teachers and administrators."
This tool is a web-based real-time tracking tool for student attendance and homework completion. Seeing this data allows teachers the ability to make informed decisions that are based on the actual productivity of their students. Administrators and parents can even see this data.
TimeStampz addresses a time-consuming process at Citizen Schools, where teachers need to track and report this information manually. Sounds like they really need this tool!
The Organized Binder is a classroom process that’s been in use in classrooms around the country for several years now. This process involves a flexible, yet powerful way for teachers to cover their lessons in a manner that is transparent, makes expectations known, and unveils the “hidden curriculum” to set students up for success, regardless of their previous academic performances. It also includes printing out multiple PDF files and putting them into a physical binder so students can better organize their notes.
This tool is the tip of the iceberg for a cloud-based version of the Organized Binder. Instead of a very painful and manual process, they demonstrated an easy way for teachers to sign up and get Organized Binder’s PDFs.
In the presentation was an amazing chart showing student performance before and after the Organized Binder process in a low-income school. The increased performance was amazing. If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow the Organized Binder on Twitter or Facebook.
"Students can’t concentrate on learning because of all the distractions around them."
This tool teaches students, especially special needs students, how to manage one’s time. Every time students spend time on an educational website, their time is tracked. After they’ve spent enough time learning, they earn privileges that allow them to go to fun websites. This “gamified” system rewards good behavior and reinforces learning. All of the time spent is displayed in a visual dashboard that students, teachers, and parents can see. There are even measures to minimize the negative aspects of bullying and encourage exercise and family time.
They presented a great working demo of their tool that actually tracked their developer’s time spent on various websites.
This tool includes a physical scanner that digitizes all paper-based homework to easily track them online. It also incorporates Google Docs, Evernote, Box.com, Dropbox, and other storage tools, so that teachers and students both never have to worry about losing homework again.
Here’s another all-student team that stepped up to work on a project this weekend. They unfortunately weren’t able to stay around and present their hard work, so co-host Rob Rinsky did the honors. Their comprehensive presentation included slides on company goals, market size, company needs, potential business partners, competitors, production costs, sales and marketing, finances, investment needs, and even one on jumping the “chasm” (a marketing concept for technology startups). Very impressive!
To make an event like this a good learning opportunity, we are thankful that all of these generous people volunteered their weekends to come by and help the various teams. All of these people are involved with startup companies and have built software before. They all have been to hackathons too. That experience helped the teams fine-tune their solutions and presentations.
We broke this group up into technical coaches (those with a software development background) and general coaches (those with a business background).
We had an amazing panel of judges. It’s sadly rare that educators are seen at education technology gatherings in Silicon Valley. It’s even more rare that educators are judges at events. So we made it a point to have only educators as the judges of RemixEd. From left to right in the photo:
Events like this aren’t cheap. We really wanted to have healthy food options instead of the usual pizza and Red Bull seen at hackathons. And we really wanted a space that was conducive to intense collaboration and brainstorming. We were able to get all of this thanks to the generosity of these great sponsors.
As far as we’re concerned, all of the teams here are winners. Everyone went from a very rough problem statement or potential solution in their heads, to a detailed plan or working demo. There really wasn’t much time to build a full solution here, but the amount that each team accomplished was truly remarkable.
So I’ve made you read long enough :) Here are the winners of RemixEd!
Congratulations! And thank you everyone for participating and being a part of this effort to help educators and students!
- Mike Lee, Cofounder of edshelf