(Screenshot courtesy of Kinvolved)
We introduced readers to Kinvolved’s platform for keeping track of attendance in classrooms early this year. With a new school year kicking off now, one of the startup’s cofounders, Alexandra Meis, let us know that the second full version of the platform is now ready for teachers.
The core of Kinvolved’s strategy is to keep students in their seats at school by making electronic attendance-taking as fast as possible. It defaults to showing all students as present, so the teacher can just tap the ones that aren’t there, for instance. It also notifies parents when their kids are absent.
“Approximately 15,000 students across 60 sites are enrolled in our app as of August 2014,” Meis wrote.
Bumping version 1.0 up to version 2.0 focused on UX and the stack (so, everything). On UX, Kinvolved made it easier for teachers and schools to look at attendance data in a number of different ways, Meis wrote. For parents and other student contacts, the firm enabled two-way communication within the app.
As for the code base, it was a complete overhaul, Meis said. “Now we have two full time engineers that are dedicated to improving the code,” she wrote. “We now run AngularJS; it was just on Rails before. We are feeding Angular with a Rails API that we built.” The company is relying heavily on open source and contributing more code as it grows.
The company is now investing a lot of people-hours in getting schools ready to use the system.
While Kinvolved has worked hard to make its user interface as intuitive as possible, the company still does live walkthroughs with clients. “We do an in person training with schools in NYC, and we do virtual trainings with our schools nationally,” Meis said. “We just onboarded a school in Baltimore via a Google hangout. It went pretty smoothly, and we have been able to foster positive relationships via email and phone.”
This direct contact with schools reflects what Meis argues is critical for edtech companies to maintain as they scale up: empathy. While the edtech market is crowded, Meis says a more human approach is a way for Kinvolved to stand out.
The company currently has four full-time staffers, a fellow from Tulane University and a part-time designer.-30-
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