What does an 80% grade really tell you?
The truth is, not much.
It's time we give our children the type of feedback that empowers them.
Sifu can help.
It's time that we start giving our students (children) specific information about how they are doing in their education. We have the technology and the standards in place so that instead of our students getting a single grade - say 80% - at the top of their paper, we can now start letting them know within that paper which skills they passed and which they need to work on some more. That's the philosophy behind Sifu.
We believe that if you give students information about the specific skills where they are strong and where they are weak that information will motivate them to become partners in their learning process.
The implications for this are astounding. Problems with classroom management, engagement, and motivation are all resolved when a student believes that they can chart their own progress through their lessons. For all of this to work, the student must know specifically where they should focus their study. This is where Sifu can help.
Sifu is a website and an app that helps you to:
- Keep track of specific skills (Common Core and State Standards)
- Records a student's progression through those skills
- Creates easy to read reports
- Streamlines the standards
These pictures are our rough sketches of our app interface. We're sharing them with you so that you can see what we're thinking. If you have a recommendation on a report, style, or more please let us know. You're our backer and you've got a direct hand in helping create Sifu!
In our finished app and website there will be more styling and improved graphs. These are some of our prototypes.
Additional prototype images can be found on www.sifued.com
Partner with Sifu, Empower Your Learning.
1 - A website and an app that is a partner in your educational process. Sifu enables you to keep track of the skills/standards for your child or student and utilize the data to help your child or student know if they are a learner in a particular skill or a mentor in that skill.
2 - Built for efficiency in inputting and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your child or students, the student's data is available all the time in real time, and empowerment.
3 - Designed by a teacher for teachers, homeschool parents, and students. Based on the framework of the Common Core standards and individual state standards.
4 - Assessment should be all about empowering students. Assessment data should be used to partner with the student(s) in order to empower them in their learning.
5 - Made in America. Programmed by programmers in Arizona, hosted in Florida, designed in Colorado (all the way down to the t-shirts, and owls are domestically produced).
We have the technology, we have the data, and we certainly have the heart. Now's the time to put it all together.
It all started with a question, "How do my students know they are learning?"
Then one of those times when everything seems to come together for something amazing to happen, happened. State standards were just coming on line, I was a third year teacher teaching third grade, and my partner teacher and I shared a similar philosophy - students should be partners in their educational process.
We developed a system based upon the Alaska state standards that used the standards as a framework from which a student's progress could be measured. Best of all when we implemented it in our classrooms we started seeing our students jump at the chance to know in real time where they were strong or where they were weak. At that moment we realized that we could demystify the educational process.
Our book was used throughout Alaska. It was built upon Alaska standards and was paper and pencil based. An online version was just a dream.
Six years later the standards have changed. Our nation now has a common set of standards to utilize as a framework, the Common Core Standards. Technology has improved so that teachers, parents, and students can utilize Sifu online to track progress on skills in real time.
Now is the time to take the Sifu framework online. Now parents, students, and teachers can harness the power Sifu on the web or by apps and phones to update student progress on the fly. Now parents, students, and teachers can reference easy to read reports and graphs that inform the planning of the next lesson, or the focus of study hour. Now is the time to embrace the softer side of learning - the student's perception of themselves as a learner.
Data entry is easy and efficient. Reports are beautifully constructed. Progress is revealed through seven different reports and graphs (more being developed if the project is funding beyond the goal).
Sifu is available in real time and in the palm of your hand.
With your donation today you are enabling Sifu to be built. Sifu will be available on PC or Mac or Android phone through the Sifu website and will be available on iPhone, and iPad through the Sifu app.
Access to Sifu Online (and App):
You will receive an access code for the Sifu website. Once you receive your package simply go to www.sifued.com click on Launch Sifu and use your access code to set up Sifu! *Access can be gifted to another person
Our stickers are excellent quality, vinyl stickers that are weatherproof. They are made by Sticker Mule in upstate New York near Albany.
Your name will be listed on the Sifu website and the Sifu app in the category which you donated. Example: $50 contributors will be listed in the Comrade Contributor group. Check out www.sifued.com to see some of our early contributors!
Owls are hand-made by crafts folks in Alaska. Some variation in fabric, size, and color will occur. Each one is uniquely cuddly and has a weighted bean bottom.
High quality, comfortable fit, and best of all - American Made. Our t-shirts are from American Apparel (our favorite because they are very soft and wear comfortably for years) and locally screen printed in Colorado Springs.
If you funded at the $100 level or above and once the Sifu Kickstarter project is fully funded and closed, we will send you a short survey to find our your desired t-shirt size and color.
Your one on one training can happen via a phone call, skype or facetime. You will receive a card with your training time information and identifying code. Once you receive your package simply go to www.sifued.com click on Training and use your access code to set up your personalized, one on one Sifu training. *Access can be gifted to another person
If you would like to gift access and/or training time to Sifu to your son or daughter to use with their kids or a friend you may do so once this project meets it's goal and closes. We will send you a short survey and you can tell us where to send the reward.
Melissa Haffeman, creator of Sifu Ed LLC. I've been a first, third, and sixth grade teacher, educational technologist, and a Director of Federal Programs and Assessment. Read more on my profile - top right of this page.
Shane Morris, developer, programming, and website consultant for Sifu Ed LLC. Marketing Specialist, Database Developer, Creative Director at Morris Media located in Phoenix, Arizona. Read more via Shane's Linked In profile.
Ron Beyers, technical consultant Sifu Ed LLC. Ron was fortunate during his career to be employed with aerospace, defense, and communication companies. Ron's career focused on engineering, specifically system integration, research and development, field engineering, and being part of a team in a successful startup company project.
Mike Haffeman, graphic designer for Sifu Ed LLC. Mike's worked in graphic design on both a large and small scale for 12 years.
Funding Beyond the Goal
Help us build and expand Sifu! If we fund to our goal ($15,000) then Sifu will launch on August 1 with the Common Core standards (45 states) and Alaska state standards.
If we can fund beyond our goal then we can add many more reports, as well as the Texas, Virginia, Nebraska, and Minnesota state standards by August 1.
Please help Sifu launch and help us provide this empowering resource to all kids. You can have a hand in creating something great for our students.
If you can't donate funds, please help us by sharing information about Sifu to three friends. Help us get the word out. Every little bit helps!
Thank you so very much for your support! We will not let you down.
Risks and challenges
Large projects are energizing. From being part of the team that coordinated one of the first K-12 iPad rollouts in the nation to organizing 736 students to view the gray whale migration on Kodiak, Alaska, I'm no stranger to larger than life projects with multiple moving parts. I thrive on the interaction of a group of people working towards a common mission and achieving something great for our students.
Assessment, while it can be a dry subject, has a strong relationship with data and data can be a fascinatingly powerful thing. Data, when used appropriately, can inspire, create drive, and unveil truths. Data, when used with consideration, can empower a child to reach to new heights of learning, and to become a partner in their learning process.
This is my passion, the thing that keeps me up at night, that energizes and inspires me to keep pushing to utilize something that makes up the landscape of the educational environment and turn it to it's best of all outcomes - the inspired student.
We have a tight timeline. We aim to launch the project on August 1, 2013 so that states which are adopting the Common Core standards will be able to utilize the framework as their teachers begin the transition to their new standards.
With your help we can meet our August 1 deadline. If this project is funded far enough beyond the goal we can hire another programmer, add the Texas, Virginia, Nebraska, and Minnesota state standards, add additional reports, and a standards reference guide.
Thank you for your time. Please help us spread the word. Share the link to this page, like us on Facebook, tell a friend...every little bit helps.
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