FreshGrade COO says the traditional education system is starting to embrace tech

For a while, education systems have been resistant to change. But as technology innovation grows in the education space, several schools are starting to adopt new classroom models.

On the latest episode of The Disruptors, co-host Amber Kanwar sat down with Chris Besse, the president and COO of FreshGrade, who discussed how Kelowna-based FreshGrade is changing the status quo on how students learn and interact with teachers and parents.

“Education is one of the industries that has been so resistant to change over many years, especially as technology has evolved.”

The company provides a digital platform that lets teachers and students capture learning in the classroom by uploading pictures, videos, audio recordings, and notes to an online portfolio. Teachers can also map learning objectives, assessments, and activities so students and their parents can see where students may be doing well or falling behind. To date, FreshGrade has raised $15.9 million in funding, including a $4.3 million seed round and $11.6 million Series A round in May.

According to Besse, FreshGrade was created to change conversations between students and their teachers and parents. Generally, students are reluctant to talk about what they learned at school, but with FreshGrade, which allows parents to see their child’s learning in real-time, parents can have better conversations regarding progress and learning outcomes with their children.

“What they’re seeing through this portfolio is, every day, what the child is doing so it’s changing the conversation,” said Besse. “It’s not ‘What did you learn in school today?’ but ‘I saw what you did in school today. That was really interesting. Tell me more.’ So it starts a really, really interesting conversation.”

As schools may be hesitant to change classroom practices, Kanwar asked Besse how FreshGrade has managed to tackle this reluctance. Besse said that although education budgets are tight, school districts “prioritize their funds around what they need.” One of those needs is saving teachers time on reporting grades and allowing students to see where they can improve more effectively.

“Education is one of the industries that has been so resistant to change over many years, especially as technology has evolved,” said Besse. “They see what we’re doing. They see that this is very rich for learning. When you can get students really focused on talking about their learning and see evidence of their learning…they [schools] see a real opportunity for change.”

Watch the full interview below:

BetaKit is a production partner on The Disruptors. Tune in to BNN every Thursday night at 7pm for full episodes!

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.