Fast Company

Three Ring Upgrades Students' Work From Refrigerator Door To Digital Portfolio

Occasionally, I will publish interviews of edtech startups that present at the NYC EdTech Entrepreneurs Meetup, a startup series that blends educator insights with entrepreneur business presentations. These interviews focus on the philosophy behind the creations, and the reasons for developing them, rather than the straight-up business model. This series is a way to highlight the good of edtech startups, in line with the culture of education.

This interview is with Michael Lindsay, CEO and founder of teaching tool Three Ring. Three Ring, which runs on smartphones, laptops, and desktop interfaces, is billed as a tool that easily allows teachers to digitize the work being done by their students.

In a demonstration during the EdTech Entrepreneurs Meetup, the tool really looked impressive. Audrey Watters has this succinct review of how it works. Check it out to get a full review of how the tool is meant to perform in classrooms.

Here are Michael’s thoughts on the big picture and how the product fits into the market, and why.

DOUGLAS CRETS: Where does your product remove friction from a teacher's tasks?

MICHAEL LINDSAY: Three Ring makes it incredibly easy for teachers to digitize student work. Now, anyone can seamlessly create portfolios for their students, which makes conferences, planning, assessment, and instruction all more effective.

How does the product facilitate learning?

We've known for years that good teaching and learning happens when students take ownership of their work. By rescuing student work from the trash, backpacks, and filing cabinets, and putting it squarely into focus, Three Ring makes it easier to foster this sense of ownership. With Three Ring, students, teachers, and parents will be able to focus their energy on what really matters in teaching and learning--actual students' intellectual activity.

What is something you learned about education in working on the product that you didn't expect to find out while you were coming up with a solution for teachers?

You always hear the lament that education, as a field, has not adopted technology well enough or quickly enough, or in fundamentally game-changing ways. What surprised us is just how eager teachers are to find and use simple, well-designed technologies that really help them teach and their students learn. All over the country, teachers we have spoken with are looking for tools that empower them, and when you involve them in the design of a technology, they respond with a ton of energy and enthusiasm for the project--which is great because they have so much expertise to share.

[Image: Flickr user Ashish]

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