An EdTech Times Interview with the founder of Goalbook
By Yevgeny Ioffe, 11/19/13
Daniel Yoo, the founder of Goalbook, checked in with us at EdTech Times to discuss the latest on his EdTech startup, Goalbook, as well as to share his thoughts on EdTech scene. Goalbook is a company that develops online toolkit for teachers and administrators to adapt and align the IEPs to the Common Core Standards, as well as design custom lessons in order to enable all students to succeed in the classroom.
ETT: How would you define the space your company works in?
DY: Technology tools, online content, and professional development that empowers educators to use best practices that are effective for all students – particularly students with special needs.
ETT: Why did you start a company, or build a product, in this space? What need or gap do you aim to address?
DY: Many students do not succeed in traditional classrooms because educators are not trained and provided the resources to differentiate instruction. In order to better facilitate the successful use of the Common Core Standards (CCS) for all students, especially those with disabilities, Goalbook is focused on applying the framework of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to the CCS. By providing this framework for instruction, coupled with professional development, and blended technology that reinforces collaboration, Goalbook ensures that all students have the opportunity to access the CCS.
ETT: Why will your product/service work? What makes your approach to this issue different from what others are doing?
DY: Goalbook is an important shift in the way we organize the delivery of education to all students.
Goalbook uses a blended approach to build capacity in the most important school-based factor in improving student outcomes: teachers. By combining engaging professional development with simple and powerful technology tools, we help educators make their work more effective, research-based, and sustainable in personalizing learning for all students.
Goalbook Toolkit allows educators to discover and customize high-quality IEP goals that are fully aligned to the Common Core standards, and have related instructional resources, assessments, and accommodations to help teachers implement the goals. See here: https://goalbookapp.com/administrators
DY: Justin Su was part of Rocketship Education in its formative years, leading the organization’s blended learning design and efforts to open new schools.
And I was a former Oracle and Google software developer who spent five years as a special education teacher in East Palo Alto for the Ravenswood City School District. During my time at Ravenswood, I custom-built a special education data system that was used throughout the district.
ETT: Please tell us more about your product stage and what we should expect to see from your company in the next 12 months.
DY: Our company is growing quickly and has been adopted by over 100 districts in 30+ states. Our Toolkit now offers a comprehensive repository of rich content spanning Pre-K to Grade 12 in the academic subject areas of Reading, Writing, Math, and Speech in addition to Behavior, Social Emotional and Autism.
District leaders love our professional development because we work closely with them to design a fully scalable PD plan that integrates research-based training with blended technology that reinforces best practices when educators return back to the classroom. The Goalbook Leadership Academy offers eight courses that focus on multiple topics including Writing Measurable Goals Aligned to the Common Core to Designing Effective Instruction using UDL and is looking to expand our offerings to bolster our Leadership Academy. See here: https://goalbookapp.com/pd
While we’ve focused on special educators, we’ve received a lot of feedback for the need of our solutions in the general education classroom where the demand for differentiation is immense. We are not ready to announce anything yet, but it is something we are investigating.
ETT: Where do you see the education technology market going in the next few years?
DY: Educational technology will continue to be adopted, but it will continue to be slow and there will be many bumps along the way. Blended learning will permeate more schools over time. Many new ed-tech companies will fail, some will succeed – the market will continue to be extremely fragmented, and purchasing decisions will continue to reside at the district and school level.
At Goalbook, we don’t focus on all the noise in the ed-tech market.
However, there are two aspects of the ed-tech market we don’t think will be changing: 1) there will continue to be an increasing need to personalize education and 2) the teacher will be the primary person responsible for delivering it. This is why Goalbook’s mission is to empower teachers to personalize instruction for all students. We know we can achieve this with a combination of innovative technology, research-based instructional strategies and implementation know-how and best practices.
Let’s take a moment to thank Mr. Yoo for his time and check out Goalbook at goalbookapp.com
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