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Education Technology

CatchOn Launches Tool to Measure Student Engagement with Online Learning

By Rebecca Hinkle
October 20, 2020

Since the outbreak of the pandemic and education’s rapid move online, tracking student engagement has posed a significant challenge to school districts. The edtech developer CatchOn is trying to do something about that. This month, the company launched a tool to help educators look into how students are using online learning platforms, applications, and resources from home.

“I feel that CatchOn is playing a really important role. We are really excited to be able to support educators and provide the data analytics that will help everyone get used to this new learning normal,” said CatchOn Founder and Evangelist Jena Draperuns.

How CatchOn Measures Student Engagement and Online Learning Progress

Draper launched CatchOn in 2016, with her goal being to help school districts meet and adapt to changes within an instructional learning setting. By using real data and technology, educators can see where their students are excelling, staying on track, falling behind, or missing completely.

“When I first started this company, I wanted to help schools be able to change the focus, change the emphasis from what grades students were earning to understanding and embracing the differences in how they learn,” said Draper.

CatchOn’s new student-level data tool will allow educators to monitor when the students are using online tools and resources. Each user profile will measure their engagement and track their engagement, evaluate student engagement patterns, and communicate engagement.

With measuring a student’s engagement, the educator can monitor their engagement with their course, assignments, and evaluate the time on each task with each subject. This can allow the educator to determine if a more personalized lesson for the student is needed, especially if the student is struggling in certain subjects or assignments. Tracking their engagement allows monitoring of the student online activity outside of the school property and ensuring that they are in attendance and working on assignments, and to track access to applications that are not approved.

When evaluating student engagement patterns, educators will be able to compare where students are excelling and where they are having issues with assignments. This will allow educators to better analyze and determine what personalized plans need to be made for each student. The ability to communicate will allow the educator to share data reports with the schools districts, individuals, and the parents while realigning priorities.

In 2018, CatchOn partnered with ENA (Education Networks of America), another leading provider in tech that started in 1996 that delivers data analytic solutions to education, library, healthcare, and government organizations.

How Will This Change Online Learning?

Lillian Kellogg, ENA’s Senior VP, provided insight on how CatchOn is addressing those concerns of how disadvantaged students will be able to keep up with their peers.

“If your students are not engaged and you have no way to monitor their engagement, that learning loss is just going to grow,” Kellogg stated.

Kellogg discussed a school district in Santa Fe, NM who provided devices to the students when COVID-19 hit but were having trouble connecting with their students. “With CatchOn they saw that there was no engagement, so they deployed someone to go to the student’s home and find out what was happening,” said Kellogg.

CatchOn would be able to identify what is preventing these students from connecting, whether it is lack of internet at home or another issue that interferes with the students success. Once this issue is resolved, the school district and educator can create a specialized plan to work with that student.

“It certainly shines a light on those students who are missing in action,” said Kellogg.

Featured Image: Iris Wang, Unsplash.

20 Comments

  1. One of the interesting aspects of Canvas is how much they spend on sales and marketing. It’s several magnitudes of dollars spent for each dollar they earn. For the company to be viable they are going to have to start raising prices (to increase margin) and institutions will be on the receiving end of that.

    • Hi David,

      The huge hole we left in the piece is the relative cost offered by Blackboard vs. Canvas. We weren’t able to get a good picture of this because every institution or company needs a unique system, and we could never stack it up apples to apples.

      Do you have experience implementing either LMS? We would love to do a follow up piece on Canvas’ business model/why they’re getting so much new business.

  2. I’ve used Canvas, Moodle, Whipple Hill, Finalsite, a home-grown solution, Google Classroom, and Haiku (now knows as PowerSchool Learning). I have to say that I am most impressed with the capability and integration Haiku has to offer. Second, I like Moodle’s configurability. Google is ultra-simplistic which some people like but it really doesn’t suit my needs. I found Canvas counter-intuitive but perhaps my intuition is just miscalibrated because it’s so popular and in fairness, I’ve never used Blackboard. Anyhow, I’d suggest that if you are a PowerSchool school, try PSL/Haiku. It’s pretty impressive with its features, gradebook integration, Turnitin integration, email contact and so forth. Anyhow, learn to code: brainstemschool.com .

    Happy teaching!

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