Teachers created Ponder. Sure, our engineers, design team, and business interests inform the product. But the feedback we’ve gotten from teachers since before Ponder was born have turned it into the powerful tool it is today. Exciting events like EdSurge’s Tech for Schools Summit in Silicon Valley confirm for us that we’re on the right track. They also, fortunately, offer us an opportunity to get more feedback from teachers to inform our future growth. EdSurge posted the feedback we received there, and we wanted to take this opportunity to respond to this invaluable information.
First, we heard from some of you that you weren’t sure whether Ponder would work on your school’s platforms. Guess what? It will! So long as you have Chrome or Firefox browsers on your computers or you have iPads, you’ll be good to go.
Since November, we’ve actually already addressed some of the suggestions these teachers brought to our attention. Most notably, we’ve increased the types of resources on which students can Ponder, now including video and ePubs, which we hope will be helpful to Danielle and others interested in incorporating a variety of resources into their curriculum. We also built “elaborations” into the Ponder box, addressing Gabe’s request to allow students to comment on their reading in a more open-ended way.
Gabe had another great suggestion: build Ponder to work with more languages. We’re working on it! Some of our beloved bilingual teachers have been hard at work helping us translate the sentiments into other languages. We expect to be piloting Ponder in Spanish this semester, in fact.
Other suggestions, such as from a 4th grade ELL teacher, suggested making Ponder more developmentally appropriate for elementary students. Ever since this summer when we had conversations with teachers at Lonnie B. Nelson elementary school in South Carolina this past summer, we’ve been working to make Ponder a powerful critical reading tool for younger readers. This is an area where we especially could use the help of seasoned experts who know these learners better than anyone.
Feedback from teachers motivated us to build Ponder to work with video, eBooks, and in other languages, as well as to add features like elaborations. We asked teachers for guidance throughout the process, and we are now piloting each feature in order to evolve them further. And as much as we love our teachers, we could always use more help! If you are especially interested in video, eBooks, or foreign language, or you just want to play a key role in developing a new technology, we’d love to hear from you. Without teachers like you, we wouldn’t be where we are today.