There is no question that teachers and school administrators have a tall task. Shaping and molding young minds is hard work. Teaching is hard enough, but educators are often tasked with a ton of administrative and discipline work. The amount of time teachers spend doing non-teaching activities is mind blowing. Seeing this as a major problem for educators, LiveSchool has built a web app that helps cut down on the time devoted to discipline:
As much as 50% of classroom time is spent dealing with discipline instead of actually teaching. Decades of research have shown that positive, school-wide systems can produce improved behavior, attendance, and learning outcomes. Unfortunately, managing a school-wide behavior system on paper can be like a second job for teachers and administrators.1
Matt Rubinstein, the CEO and Founder of LiveSchool, told us that the main idea behind LiveSchool has to do with motivation. “Students,” Matt argued, “don’t learn when they’re not motivated and engaged.” In pursuit of motivation, teachers across the country employ all sorts of tactics – gold stars and the like. However, Matt told us, “it comes with a cost, because those systems can become inconsistent and eat up hours of teacher time.” This is where LiveSchool comes in. “LiveSchool is an easy-to-use app that lets teachers work together to create systems that motivate their kids.”
LiveSchool takes a holistic approach to student motivation, and creates school-wide programs. Not only does this broad approach make it easier on teachers, but it provides students with consistent expectations:
LiveSchool is built from the ground up to help teams of teachers share data in real-time, communicate with parents, and manage engaging programs like class competitions, school stores, and other incentives.
Matt saw the shortcoming of the paper and pencil approach to discipline and motivation. As a result, he built LiveSchool:
I was teaching at a middle school in Nashville, TN, dealing with classroom management first-hand. I realized over time that when my students were engaged, behavior issued plummeted. My school had a great student engagement program called “paychecks”, but it was paper-based and time intensive. I spend my nights and weekends coding a prototype iPad app that could do the job better. We grew from 4 teachers to 100 in a few weeks and I left my job there to found LiveSchool.
In practice, students can earn point through good behavior. these points can then be redeemed for whatever the school offers. Here is a good look at a sample report for a student (PDF).
Here at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) conference, we had a chance to stop by the LiveSchool booth. We learned a bit more about the platform, and also saw a pretty detailed demo: