Welcome to Volume III of the monthly Tract digest, where I share news and happenings from the past month at Tract. Enjoy!
-Ari, Tract Cofounder + CEO
An Amazing First Year Thanks to You!
As we close the book on 2021, I couldn’t be more grateful for the incredible community of teachers and students we’ve built together at Tract. When Esther and I decided to start Tract, we knew for certain that teachers are the unit of change. If we could help support teachers in a way that made student-directed, project-based learning easy, and more like building your own YouTube channel for kids, then we’d really be on to something special.
I’ve been blown away by the creativity, adaptability, and commitment to improve education for our students despite the constant change, headwinds, and constraints our teachers face every day. Preparing our next generation for the world ahead is the most important, purposeful work of our lives.
We started in our first school in March. Twenty guinea pig 5th graders with wide eyes. We weren’t ready, but we knew we had such a tremendous leader in Dr. Regina Stewman and a school that was on the bleeding edge of innovation in Sonora Elementary, so we couldn’t say no.
Fast forward to today, and we are now in 200+ schools, used by 275+ teachers, and 8,000+ students from 14 countries, and almost every state in the US!
Students have created 1,000+ classes (learning paths) and 15,000+ projects. Our content library is now covering more and more of the curriculum with student voice. Students are finding ways everyday to create, share, and teach. Being an observer and watching their passions take shape has been the most gratifying experience. They're funny. They’re creative. They’re teaching me new things everyday. And most importantly, they feel good about themselves. Our community is uniquely positive, supportive, and full of substance. A breath of fresh air in a world of toxicity.
Thank you for being a part of our first year!
Improved Classroom Management
Teachers can now remove students from a class. Upon removal, the student account is disabled and they can no longer sign in. Teachers can also now unreject submissions. Learner work becomes visible again and they are credited the original coin reward.
Submission Feedback & Revisions
We received a lot of feedback from both students and teachers that we needed to improve our communication of requested revisions. Revisions are not a bad thing. We don’t want it to feel like a failure, but rather an integral part of any learning experience. At the same time, our moderators are requesting revisions for different reasons – plagiarism, not following instructions, problems with the media upload – to list a few.
Our new submission feedback experience now allows teachers and Tract moderators to provide detailed feedback to the student.
Students on their end can now see submission history, including feedback, when viewing a challenge.
Submission revision notifications are now addressed from the person who initiated it.
A top request from students was “how do I find my class?”. To better support this, we introduced a new side navigation element containing links to the explore views and viewing history. Students that are part of a classroom also see a "My Class" link.
Improved Tablet/Mobile Functionality
With iPad classrooms and at-home use growing, we received several requests for features that were missing on smaller devices. We added search functionality on small screen devices. The search input is located in the mobile menu.
Rock Star Award Winners
Congratulations to Gisborne Intermediate! Back to back winners of our last 2 contests. They are off on summer break, but will be able to start the year off with a fun celebratory pizza party and their new Classroom Creator Studio Kit!
Students Give Back
This month across Tract, students made 150+ donations. Most students chose to donate meals (111 in total were gifted), which was especially fitting given the holiday season! The biggest donors were RoSaNnA_HVZ from Olivia Manson’s class who donated to 6 causes, helping to provide meals, education, abuse and cancer recovery, energy, and ocean protection and phillipet from Dana Gearing’s class who donated 8 meals!
What's On Deck For Next Month?
We are hard at work enhancing our product. Look for some exciting new updates that will better support students as creators, and provide more support for Teachers.
- Teacher’s Lounge
- Enhanced Learning Path Feedback & Reviews
- Improved Content Discovery
Not yet started on Tract? Get started in under 5 min by signing up and then following the #TractForTeachers videos.
Tract In The News
- Edutopia: How to Engage Students in Any Subject Area
- Free Technology for Teachers: Six Reasons to Try Tract for Remote & Hybrid Learning
- Adventures of Ms. Smith: Learning Paths and How They Work
- Lit with Lyns: Have Students Thrive in the Classroom with Tract
- The Techie Teacher: Engage Students with Tract Learning Paths - For Kids by Kids