the teach tour uncovering how & why we've failed to educate children worldwide@theteachtour


HobNob: Empowering educators with individualized data that gives them the ability to teach to each unique student.
Delivering vital, individualized & anonymous student feedback to every teacher.

Problem statement: We continue to ask the question, “How can we get students more engaged in their own learning?” while we fail to address the simple option of asking students whether or not they are engaged on a regular basis.

Thesis: If we shine a light on successes and challenges by actually asking educators & students on a regular basis whether or not they were engaged in specific classes & situations, might we finally find the cracks in the system- cracks with potential solutions that students and educators bring to the table- giving a voice to the people truly affected by the system in positive or negative ways.

Furthermore, by giving a voice to those within the system, might those individuals begin to feel empowered and shift their role within the system from one of forced acquiescence to that of a can-do can-change attitude and perspective.

Proposal: Using sms-based/text message based surveys on a regular basis (daily) ask students, teachers, and principals to respond by text message (or internet if phone is not available) to a survey to a relevant question regarding engagement, challenge, support, and happiness.

The survey question being asked daily currently over text message, “How engaged were you in X class today, on a scale from 1-10?”

The results of each survey are then published to ALL participants and stakeholders (students, teachers, principals, etc) and discussed openly, challenging the status quo.

The first experimental study is taking place over a three week period from April 18th to May 6th in numerous classrooms at one school. All students in the participating classes are requested to participate but the study is entirely opt-in. All teachers have agreed to run the study within their classrooms. Teachers will also answer similar survey questions which will then be compared to students’ to understand discrepancies.

Round 1: 47 Students, 3 Teachers, 1 School. (US) Class 100. Class 200.  Class 300.
Round 2: 300 Students, 15 Teachers, 5 Schools. (India & US)
Round 3: 1000 Students, X Teachers, X Schools. (Africa, India & US)

Student Feedback during Round 1:
(after 2 weeks of pilots)
“I do believe that this project has changed the classroom in every separate student’s head, but not much as the whole student body in the classroom.”
“It makes it more interactive.” “The project made me participate more.”
“I think this has helped me to be more conscious about being engaged in all of my classes.”
“I begin to notice days that I’m really stressed or depressed or just not in a good mood compared to days when I’m happy.”
“I definitely think that this project has helped me understand why I’m engaged some days and less involved other days.”
“No this project did not affect my engagement I wanted to do better in this class so I was more engaged.”
“I feel this has affected our class because people seem to pay more attention to being involved and trying harder to be engaged and interested.”

Principal Feedback during Round 1:

“This is very interesting and well-written. The charts you have put together which I could see when clicking on ‘class 100’, etc. are so interesting, and I really liked the ‘student voices behind the data’. What a nice way to frame that!

I think you are on to something really important here and encourage you to continue your research.”

National Proof of Need:

“One study found that when asked why they left school, about half of dropouts responded that they did not find school interesting, and over two-thirds reported that school did not motivate or inspire them.  The Obama Administration is committed to investing in innovative dropout recovery and prevention strategies to better engage youth in their learning and to help them catch-up academically.  The Obama Administration will support effective dropout prevention strategies – through $50 million committed to the Graduation Promise Fund and through reforms supported under the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.  These efforts include:

  • Personalized and individualized instruction and support to keep students engaged in their learning and focused on success.
  • Multiple pathways and credit recovery programs, such as high-quality alternative high schools, transfer schools, or career- and work-based experiences to help students catch-up and keep-up academically, and to get back on track toward a high school diploma.
  • Better use of data and information to identify and respond to students at risk of failure, and assist with important transitions to high school and college.” (article)

Proof that engagement is imperative:

“Not only was student engagement a significant predictor of long-term performance in college, particularly in terms of interest and enjoyment, but it was a stronger predictor than the other variables in the statistical model including present grades. In other words, how much interest and enjoyment students reported at random moments in high school math and science classes was a stronger predictor of college grades than high school grades. Unlike short-term performance, attention in high school classes was not as strongly related to either long-term continuing interest or performance. These findings suggest that engagement with school learning can have an important influence on educational outcomes. However, those outcomes are not necessarily the ones receiving the most attention. While the field of education has been preoccupied with short-term achievement and grades, this research suggests that engagement may operate in subtle ways that has important, long-term effects on students’ intellectual and professional development. It appears that enjoyment, interest and other aspects of engagement may provide the foundation for subsequent learning and career development. “ Flow States and Student Engagement in the Classroom By David Shernoff, Ph.D. (full study)

Australian contextualized proof of need: “There is ample education research showing that students know good teaching when they see it. “Student ratings of teachers have been found to be better predictors of student achievement than teacher self-assessments and principal assessments of effectiveness,” says Dr Ben Jensen, the report’s author. Teachers whose students described them as skillful at maintaining classroom order, explaining each topic in several ways and helping pupils learn from their mistakes, tend to be the same teachers whose students learn the most during the year, as measured by gains on standardized test scores, according to a report in The New York Times. Most of America’s 15,000 public school districts do not systematically question students about their teachers’ skills.The steady stream of evidence revealing the merits of student feedback is starting to change the attitudes of Australian teachers, according to Professor Dinham, Melbourne Graduate School of Education’s director of learning and teaching. But he says the Grattan report findings shows how easily student feedback can be rendered meaningless if it is merely used as part of an annual performance review. Students are also unlikely to take it seriously if it is not part of an on-going dialogue between staff and students, using one-to-one discussions, surveys and focus groups.”  (full article)

-Access to either mobile phone or Internet on a daily basis AFTER school.

-All stakeholders will provide honest feedback and be open to discussions once survey results are displayed.
-All students & educators have access to either a mobile phone or the internet on a daily basis after school.