Saturday, March 13, 2010

A New App for Teachers

A New App for Teachers

It seems as though there's an app to help with every career these days, and now that is true for teachers! And it's about time. Teaching isn't just about teach. There are so many records to keep and so much paperwork to keep organized. That's why two former school employees, Ben Threadgill and Ryan Haight, got together and formed BrighterLogix, a company that makes software applications for teachers and schools. Their goal is to make the paperwork and organization part of the job easier for teachers.

As of right now, Threadgill and Haight are the only employees at their one-year-old, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company, but they've already created the app "SideKick." SideKick is a lesson-planning application that is customizable and has already been adopted by several school districts, as well as several individual teachers.

For example, in Oklahoma, Catoosa Public Schools is using the software. The principal of one school that teaches pre-K through first-grade students, said the teachers love it. "It's been working very well. They've made lots of enhancements that have made it very user-friendly for us," Kerry Sitton told Tulsa World.

The founders of the company are no strangers to the education world; Haight worked in the Catoosa Public Schools technology department, and and Threadgill worked for Western Heights Public Schools in Oklahoma City. By working the field and getting a first-hand look at the technology offered to teachers and other educators, the two men realized most similar technology was expensive, complicated, or just too inflexible.

Threadgill said his experience proved to him that lesson-planning was an important first task to accomplish, "Teachers often write them out on paper, make copies of them and hand-walk them to the office to submit them." But SideKick changes that. It involves a searchable lesson plans database and an interactive calendar that allows teachers to make plans day by day. It also incorporates state standards that teachers must comply to.

Currently, the two creators are signing more individual teachers up to use the apps in hopes they'll take them to their school districts.

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