Earlier this month, the married couple, who have each taught at the Ridgewood elementary school for close to a decade, launched Powerhouse Education, an iPad app designed to help teachers organize the educational experience of their individual students.
The Powerhouse interface stores
grades and test scores along with customizable notes that are organized by student, which the couple says puts information at the tips of teachers’
fingertips and empowers them to better serve their classes.
“When you’re in the trenches of the classroom, you can get exasperated,” says Andy, noting that with teachers increasingly being evaluated based on state test scores, tracking students with quantitative assessments - in addition to regular classroom observation - has become even more important.
“There’s a need for this in an age of increased accountability for teachers,” he says.
The app also has a significant multimedia component that educators can use to photograph, or even videotape, assignments to catalog and return to later, or email to parents to keep them more involved in what actually happens inside the classroom.
The Raupps, who say that since their early August launch have seen sales from around the world, plan on pitching the product to aspiring teachers, those that are not only under more scrutiny to keep up on scores but possibly more open to a new kind of grade book.
But, Ellen says, they’ve made it easy for everyone to use, providing loads of instructional videos and working for the last year with Synapse, a company that develops apps, to create a user-friendly interface.
“We really tried to make this as intuitive as possible,” she says. “We spent hours and hours making videos to teach people how to do everything.”
For more information on the program, and a peak into how the pair is trying to tweak how teachers track lessons, check out the app’s website.