App Focuses On Educator Support



Last month, SchoolRise announced the launch of its Taylor Classroom Observation System app (T-Obs, for short), which is designed to offer a “complete system for observing and giving feedback to improve instruction in the classroom.”

For SchoolRise CEO Kathy Au, T-Obs is a way to support teachers while offering opportunities to garner valuable feedback.

“Decision makers were getting big on the idea of evaluating teachers as a way of improving education,” Au says. “What we know from years of research is it’s not just about evaluating a teacher, it’s about supporting them with effective instruction.”

With that guiding principle, Au sought to turn the focus from teacher evaluation to support — in a fun and fresh way.

“Educators have iPhones and iPads these days,” Au continues. “I thought if we could develop an app, we could bring new attention to the idea of using technology to take on this goal.”

Here’s how it works: A principal can input the school name, teacher name and classroom information. The app then will show 10 different categories of effective instruction.

T-Obs focuses on helping teachers identify specific areas that need improvement PHOTOS COURTESY KATHY AU

T-Obs focuses on helping teachers identify specific areas that need improvement PHOTOS COURTESY KATHY AU

Prior to classroom observation, teachers can look through the 10 categories and let the observer know what areas/categories they would like to focus on. Classroom observers also can use the app to take photos, or record video or audio, of the session.

The app then generates a report that can be formatted into a PDF and emailed right on the spot.

“You even can sign the report right on the app,” Au adds. “It takes away that tedious report process.”

T-Obs, developed by Hawaii-based Tapiki, already has been implemented around the country in elementary, intermediate and high schools.

“We have the only classroom observation app that’s based on tested research,” Au continues. “And another thing is simplicity. You can very easily use the app.”

Au is no stranger to Hawaii’s education system and is a self-proclaimed “product of private and public schools,” having attended Pauoa Elementary and graduated from Punahou School. She also has been an educator for more than 40 years.

“I have a deep interest in making our schools in Hawaii the best we can possibly make them,” says Au.

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