Guest post by Matt Woodward, Co-Founder, Reflect Growth
Even those who work outside of education have seen the recent media coverage over the government’s concerns about teaching quality. Although you may not fully understand it, everyone in the community will agree that raising and maintaining teaching quality has got to be important. Great schools, with amazing teachers, equal great outcomes for their students. The Australian government have provided teachers with a framework against which they can gather evidence to prove they meet a set of standards at one of 4 levels. Reflect Growth, seeks to take the idea of teaching quality much further than that.
Using an online community, we are currently validating a software service that will meet an urgent need in the education community for clarity and ownership of professional development in line with (but not limited to) those government statutory requirements. We are empowering educators to take ownership of, and elevate, teaching quality in our community.
The software we are creating will enable teachers to measure an idea of quality teaching that they, themselves, have co-created. Ensuring that they are empowered to achieve continual growth in their capabilities as teachers, the software platform will profile, analyze and share their professional practice. They will be connected to high quality professional development opportunities and then be provided with an engine that will assess how effective that development has been for them and their students. Profiles of practice, analytics which show strengths and weakness and identify pathways for progress (as well as a safe community of online support and development) will ensure that teachers can see themselves as lifelong learners of the profession.
Having been founded in September 2014, Reflect Growth is an early-stage EdTech startup. We’ve had our heads down and been determined to bootstrap as much as we can (without detriment to our progress, or quality!) so we can really focus on driving value into every second we spend on the project. We’ve been measured in our approach, but remained agile and responsive to the feedback we’ve been receiving as we’ve validated our idea with our co-create community. As we begin accelerating our efforts to design, develop & test our Minimum Viable Product (MVP) it’s only now that we’ve begun seeking some support from available grants so we can market our project more widely and give it the best chance of success.
Being based in Adelaide, in some ways limited our options as a startup. There was no existing accelerator, or incubator, that seemed to fit our needs. We already had a very clear idea of our product, how we were going to commercialise it, and the route to market. But we still needed support to get us off the ground (servers & software can be damn expensive!). Microsoft’s BizSpark program provided us with resources and networks that have enabled us to shift gear dramatically; giving us access to the latest software and monthly Azure credits to pop-up the required infrastructure for product design & development.
No sooner had we enrolled on BizSpark, Microsoft also launched an Innovation Centre right here in Adelaide! This provided us with a means to strengthen our relationship with the local Microsoft team and join the Foundation of Adelaide-based startups receiving access to mentorship, exclusive events, loan devices and access to their amazing facilities.
The connections we made through Microsoft already have been invaluable, and we can’t wait to grow our start-up knowing we’ve got a fantastic team at our side to support us.
If you’re an educator, or passionate about teaching quality, we’d invite to join our community and co-create something innovative, disruptive and empowering.
Attribution: Images taken by Hannah Grant of Captura Photography at the Reflect Growth Co-Creator meetup.