Addimals Turns 1 – A Whirlwind Year in Review

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One year ago, we launched our first app, Addimal Adventure, at the annual ISTE conference.  To celebrate, we are giving away Teachley t-shirts to 3 of our Twitter followers.  Simply follow us on Twitter and re-tweet our announcement to enter.

What a whirlwind year it has been!  So many exciting events. Here are a couple lessons we’ve learned throughout the year:

Teachers need easy access to great tools

After an exciting launch at ISTE including interviews on local TV followed by the NBC Innovation Challenge, emails started pouring in from teachers who were excited about Addimals’ focus on teaching strategies, but their schools didn’t have a budget for apps. This was particularly heart-breaking for us because we know firsthand how tight classroom budgets leave teachers purchasing resources from their own wallets. Yet in order to become a sustainable company and continue to build great tech for schools, we need a source of revenue. Luckily, our apps are only the first step towards our vision of using game-based learning analytics to help teachers track performance, target intervention, and differentiate instruction. Why not charge schools and districts for the data and make the apps free? Going free meant that tens of thousands of K-2 students were able to learn from Addimals this past school year.

Not all schools are 1:1

We began to hear from our teachers that Addimals worked great for an individual student, but they wanted the app to be personalized for each student. Most of our students were sharing the iPad, taking turns with a small class set or sharing a cart with other classes. If one student was doing really well in the app and then another struggling student took a turn, the game would be too hard. So we got to work designing Addimals 2.0, which includes individual student logins, so students can pick up any iPad and continue playing just where they left off.

Pilot first, dashboard second

With all these students using Addimals, we now had a ton of gameplay data. OK, time to carve out a bunch of development time to build a dashboard, right? Wrong. Our developers were swamped, and there wouldn’t be time to build our platform until summer. But teachers were using the app now, and we knew their feedback would be invaluable. Taking a lesson from the Lean Startup movement, we decided to start small. We took the gameplay data and hand cranked reports for teachers, starting with a few classrooms, growing to over 80 teachers in just a few months. Every two weeks, we generated different reports, getting great feedback from teachers about the types of data they found most helpful. Now we have all of that feedback to guide our development, so we are confident that our Learning Analytics Platform will actually help teachers because we designed it with their help.

This week, we’re headed back to ISTE with our latest multiplication app, Mt. Multiplis, available free for iPad and our Learning Analytics Platform launching for schools in September. Keep an eye out for us in Atlanta to learn more about our apps or share your feedback. Don’t forget to grab some chocolate! Check out our ISTE bucket list to find out what events we’ll be attending. We’d love to chat with you!


ISTE Bucket List – Our Top 10

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Rachael and I are looking forward to heading to ISTE this weekend and getting to chance to meet amazing tech educators.

We loved reading Jennifer LeGarde’s Bucket List for ISTE 2014 so much that we decided to create our own!

1. EdTechWomen Leadership Dinner For an industry dominated by women (74% of public school teachers are women), we are consistently surprised by how few women there are in educational technology. So we are excited that EdTechWomen is advocating for more women leaders in our field, and we’re looking forward to connecting with other amazing women at this dinner.

2. ISTE Pitch Fest – On the topic of women leaders, we were shocked that last year’s Pitch Fest did not include a single woman founder in its line up. I hope there are some great women founders among those presenting this year. We’re especially looking forward to hearing Lindsey Tropf introducing her company Immersed Games, and to find out more about News-O-Matic and Modular Robotics.

3. ISTE Ignite – ISTE has taken inspiration from the Pecha Kucha movement in which designers share their ideas in 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The slides advance automatically, often leaving the speakers scrambling to finish their thoughts or stuck on a slide with nothing else to say. Kinda nerve-wracking for the presenter, kinda fun for the audience. I’ve seen these style presentations in art and architecture, but I’m interested to see ISTE’s version of the 20 slides in 5 minutes. Will speakers advance their own slides? Or be at the mercy of the automatic advance? There are four of these sessions sprinkled throughout the conference, so I hope to catch at least one.

4. Special Education Innovation Reception – As an advocate for kids who struggle, I’m looking forward to meeting other innovators in the special education space.

5. Startup Pavilion – Since we launched Addimals at ISTE last year, we have a fondness for checking out the latest startup products. We’ll definitely be cruising by the startup pavilion in the expo hall.

6. Explore and Create BYOD – I signed up for a couple of these, including one on Mobile Accessibility Tools and another on UDL with Google Tools. I hope they are as hands-on as they promise to be. We all learn best when it’s hands-on!

7. Posting to Pinterest – Jennifer LeGarde included posting to Pinterest in her bucket list, and I thought it was a great idea. I’ve been using Pinterest for a while to keep track of recipes, diy projects, and nursery design, but I am just discovering how great it is for sharing teaching resources. I’ll be posting to my ISTE 2014 Discoveries board throughout the week. Check it out and start your own ISTE board, so I can grab pins, too!

8. Local TV anyone? – Last year at ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Dana and Rachael got picked up by the local news and were also invited to talk on the morning news show San Antonio Living. This one’s a stretch, but I’m hoping we’ll get picked up on some local news in Atlanta. Any takers?


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9. Connect over Chocolate – Dana and Rachael met those newscasters as they were passing out bottles of water on the super-hot streets of San Antonio. Hopefully we’ll meet some of you this year as we hand out chocolates in Atlanta. Let’s connect over chocolate!

10. Open to Opportunities – Finally, I’m open to other opportunities that may arise. Any suggestions? Want to meet up at ISTE? Shoot us an email, info@teachley.com.


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See you at ISTE!

Kara

Happy Summer!

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Happy Summer!

Congrats, Teachers! You’ve finished out another great year, and it’s time to relax – at least for a few weeks until you need to start planning next year 🙂

We’ve put together a few coloring sheets of our apps that we thought you might like. Share them with any kids you know who love Addimals or Mt. Multiplis. Or spend a few minutes channeling your inner child and color them yourself! Happy Summer!


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Click image to download or share
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Click image to download or share

Addimals wins Apple Design Award 2014!

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Each year, Apple hosts the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) during which they recognize iOS apps for outstanding design and innovation. We are so honored that Apple chose Teachley: Addimal Adventure as 1 of 12 apps to win this prestigious award.

We have seen first hand how technology can help teachers differentiate their instruction and help struggling students. We are thrilled that Apple recognizes the importance of  apps for classrooms and chose to honor Addimal Adventure with this award.

Rachael and I traveled to sunny (yet freezing cold) San Francisco to accept the award, getting a chance to meet tons of other app developers. I was super impressed with all the student developers that we met. One teenage girl I met had built this cool app for a local animal shelter. Basically, the shelter volunteers tweet about the animals as they spend time with them and the app collect the tweets into a stream of images and mini-stories about each dog or cat. How cool!

Read about other student developers here: http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/06/09/apples-200-student-wwdc-attendees-super-excited-about-the-future-of-tech

Download Addimal Adventure or our latest app, Mt. Multiplis here:
bit.ly/TeachleyApps

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Teachley Wins Apple Design Award 2014 for Addimal Adventure

Teachley: Addimal Adventure recognized as top innovative app with 
an Apple Design Award 2014
SAN FRANCISCO- June 3, 2014 – Teachley, a New York-based edtech company founded by teachers and cognitive psychologists has won an Apple Design Award 2014. Each year, Apple hosts the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) during which they recognize iOS apps for outstanding design and innovation. Teachley: Addimal Adventure, available free for iPad, was 1 of 12 apps to win this prestigious award. “Technology offers unique possibilities for transforming education,” says Co-Founder, Rachael Labrecque, “We are thrilled that Apple recognizes this and chose to award Addimal Adventure, an educational app designed to help young  kids learn addition, with this honor.”

While Co-Founders, Kara Carpenter, Dana Pagar, and Rachael Labrecque were earning their PhDs in Cognition and Learning at Teachers College, Columbia University, they discovered a great disconnect between academia and the marketplace. “Academics are doing innovative work, but while their projects answer important theoretical questions, many fail to become viable products that address the real issues schools face,“ says Co-Founder, Kara Carpenter, “On the other hand, many app developers fail to consider the research on how children learn and instead just gamify flashcards.” The three co-founders started Teachley to bring together research, education, and gaming.

Addimal Adventure is the only research-based app that teaches important addition strategies that drive learning. While most addition apps focus on drill, with digital worksheets and flashcards, Addimal Adventure aligns with Common Core State Standards that emphasize teaching different strategies to solve problems. “The way the blocks break apart to show counting on has been a great reinforcement for my students. The app has motivated my students to learn multiple ways to add numbers quickly,” says Apple Distinguished Educator Mauri Dufour, 2nd grade teacher, Maine.

Designed to support classroom use, teachers create classroom accounts and student profiles. Using the zoom and crop features of iOS 7, teachers can quickly take photos of each student. Students use these photos to login to gameplay so the app remembers exactly where each child left off.  “I love how Addimal Adventure explains the addition strategies, allows multi-users, and saves progress… I hope other apps learn from what you have done and begin to offer these features also,” says Kathy B., kindergarten teacher, Ohio.

Teachley: Addimal Adventure was developed by Teachley, an edtech company founded by former teachers with PhDs in Cognition and Learning. Teachley was one of 6 companies out of hundreds of applicants to receive two back-to-back prestigious Small Business Innovation Research grants, totaling $1.05M from the U.S. Department of Education.  Teachley was the runner up in NBC’s Education Nation Innovation Challenge 2013.  Teachley recently launched its second app, Mt. Multiplis, currently featured in the App Store for Elementary School. Teachley’s next app, focused on subtraction, is currently in development.

Download Addimal Adventure for free at bit.ly/TeachleyApps.