Jared's Tech Review: Bloomboard

Jared is executive director at Great Oaks Charter School in Newark. He came up through the Match Corps ranks. I miss him most at Thanksgiving. That's because we do this huge dinner with a ton of 20-pound turkeys. Jared was always an adept carver. Very skilled. If I recall, he worked at a butcher shop while in high school. Without him, at Match's last Thanksgiving, you should have seen the carving hacking. JT we miss you. (DB, you too!) Anyway, Jared writes:

Hey MG –

Hope all is well with you. I’ve been meaning to share this software we’ve been using to host all of our teacher and tutor observations. I think it is something that might be of use at the Match Charters or with the Residency. It’s called BloomBoard.

BB is a completely customizable program that is hosted on the web. Teachers and tutors log in, and find any observations of them is stored there.

It wasn't hard to set up. We emailed BB our school's rubrics for tutors and teachers. BB loaded them onto the platform for our school. We have two types of observations: formal (uses the full rubric and happens 3 times per year) and informal (fly by observation where we can still tag evidence to short term goals and the larger rubric).

The program has a ton of flexibility:

1. It allows you to tag evidence in the form of lesson plans and videos (for a fee per video) to each observation.

2. It links to our Gmail calendars and sets up pre and post observation conferences. This holds the observer and the teacher/tutor accountable to make the meetings.

3. Once a teacher or tutor is observed, you can share the observation with the observed. He/she can add comments, or you can keep it private.

4. You can export (for a fee) full data spreadsheets to get a school-wide snapshot.

5. BB is also in the process of building a video resource library for teachers to access for professional development (both free and pay as you go).

6. It’s been really helpful. We have several coaches for each teacher or tutor. All the observations are hosted in one place for me as a leader. Even outside coaches can be given access to one or two teachers for a short time and the evidence is never lost.

7. They also have a tablet version now. It lets you easily track things like # of hands raised, ratio and other metrics important to teacher coaching.

8. We’ve started to use a goal setting page with out teachers where teachers can set goals, track how many they’ve accomplished, and add new areas for improvement.

Teachers love it because there is no email after an observation or a word document to track.

Thanks Jared. I'll pass it along.