There are a ton of resources out there for teachers and educators. A ton. Think about it, there is curriculum managment software; formative assessment software; instructional management tools; reporting management tools; instructional information systems (IIS); educator effectiveness and teacher evaluation software. These are just a few, the list goes on and on. These are all great, and incredibly useful tools, but it can be a major headache to use them all. What if there was a single platform that allowed educators to access all the tools that they ever need? There is, Thinkgate. Tracie Brannon, a member of the Thinkgate Team, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, and tell us a bit about Thinkgate.
What is Thinkgate?
Thinkgate’s mission is to empower educators to make intelligent decisions for the benefit of each student. We believe that technology can revolutionize the education process and give teachers the resources and information they need to personalize learning environments for all students. By providing innovative technology solutions to education agencies, our goal is simple: to improve educational outcomes.
Thingate’s highly-customizable technology solutions currently support over 500 educational agencies. Thinkgate provides solutions in three areas—Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction, and Educator Effectiveness—all of which were built on the foundation of the Thinkgate Technology Platform. Using these solutions, teachers and administrators can bring the education process full circle, starting with assessment creation and administration and ending with instructional improvement through assessment analytics, curriculum resources and administrator/peer feedback.
Who uses Thinkgate?
Thinkgate’s Technology Solutions are used by K-12 educators and administrators nationwide who are passionate about the benefits technology can bring to education. Our solutions are procured on either a school district or statewide level.
How is Thinkgate different than what is already out there?
Thinkgate’s solutions were built on the foundation of the Thinkgate Technology Platform, which makes them completely customizable based on the client’s needs and existing technology solutions. By linking all of an education agency’s management systems, our platform provides a complete view of the education process.
Specifically, our Assessment Solution was built on a field-based architecture, which means that it can be configured any number of ways. Assessments can be built based on any standard set, not just popular ones like the Common Core State Standards. Unlike other assessment and educator effectiveness solutions, Thinkgate’s can be used for both formative and interim assessments and evaluations.
What was the motivation for getting involved in the Ed-Tech space?
Thinkgate originated from a core belief that educators are the key to making education effective and personal for every student. Founded in 2004, Thinkgate’s first solution was designed to support an innovative school district that wanted to accelerate and improve instruction with immediate access to formative assessment information. Through that experience, we realized that the needs of educators vary depending on their state or education agency – so we set out to develop a platform that could solve a variety of challenges. Now, our solutions have expanded to support all aspects of education performance management, and we provide statewide Instructional Improvement Systems for four different states.
Tell us about your team and their backgrounds
Thinkgate’s team is comprised of top educators, technologists, developers, business analysts and executives all with a passion for improving education. Eric Waynick, Thinkgate’s CEO, co-founded the company as a way of to help educators become more effective through the use of technology. Prior to founding Thinkgate, Eric designed and developed client server software solutions. His experience spans industries such as banking, insurance, utilities, telecommunications and entertainment.
What is the next step? What do your current goals look like?
In education, there is only one constant: change. At Thinkgate, we developed our platform and built our company to sustain changes in federal and state requirements in education. We also took into account the rapid improvements happening each day with technology. That’s why we are dedicated to researching emerging technologies and incorporating them into our solutions.
Some current projects under development include LRMI tagging with the National Learning Registry, which will allow teachers and administrators to easily share and find educational resources through our platform. We’re also working with the Illinois Shared Learning Environment and Northern Illinois University to develop personalized learning maps for students in Illinois, which will give students the power to blaze their own educational paths. Ultimately, though, we’re committed to developing best-in-class technology solutions that improve educational outcomes.
We would like to thank Tracie Brannon and the whole Thinkgate team for answering our questions. Check out Thinkgate.com or click on one of the social icons at the top of the page for more info.