Startup Weekend #DCEDU: From Friday night idea to 1 of 4 finalists
I arrived at Startup Weekend EDU in Washington, D.C., last Friday ready to dive in and work on someone else’s idea. Then I ran into my friend Greg, also down from New York. He said he was planning to pitch a couple of ideas and encouraged me to go for it, even if I hadn’t prepared anything. After all, why not? Surely I’d been mulling over an idea that had some promise?
I realized that I did have something to offer. I’d been thinking for a while about the shortcomings of our existing tools for communicating student data to parents. Complex assessment data increasingly guides educators’ work, effectively cutting even sophisticated, affluent parents out of the conversation about their child’s achievement. We’ve made some strides in the right direction with school-level data—when I showed New York City’s Progress Report format to DC teachers, they were impressed. But for a parent, that kind of summative data at the school level isn’t actionable. And as I ended up saying in my pitch, in the age of the infographic, I know that we can do better. My mission: making student data fun for families.
That message resonated with the #DCEDU audience. As we narrowed down the list of pitches to form 12 teams, I found myself joined by two developers, two teachers, and an e-learning specialist. We spent the next 48 hours creating a quick and easy way for teachers to generate kid-friendly, individualized infographics displaying local data for students and their families. This is the story of how we got there.