AN online platform to help Australian teachers manage their personal development and registration requirements will be adapted to suit the needs of educators in international markets.
English teacher Selena Woodward moved from the United Kingdom to Adelaide, South Australia, six years ago and launched her Edufolios platform in March.
Based on a Wordpress platform and built by her husband Matt Woodward, a full-stack developer, the e-Portfolio monitors and collates personal development training and helps teachers comply with national and state registration requirements.
In Australia, teachers pay a fee every three years and must complete about 20 hours a year on average of personal development training to maintain their registration.
Edufolios has achieved about 100 sales so far across Australia to teachers from 42 different institutions ranging from universities, early years teachers and staff from government, independent and catholic schools.
Selena said entire schools had looked at adopting the system so all teachers could work from the same platform.
“Every kind of institution possible is dipping in and having a look at it.”
“I even had a school in Queensland call me and say how do we get 30 of these for our teachers.”
Selena said the platform was not only a place to track personal development, it also stored the evidence of each development activity in case teachers were audited.
“But it’s more than just a filing cabinet, what Edufolios is doing is empowering educators to enlighten their experiences so they can focus on what that demonstrates for them going forward,” she said.
“As you get further up the career ladder, that’s the only way you can meet those career standards because you have to be able to annotate evidence and say this is what it shows, these are the actions I’ve taken, this is the impact it had on my students.”
“The options teachers have at the moment are: gather loads of paper in a filing cabinet somewhere and hope nobody knocks on the door or build your own platform, which is a massive barrier for the majority of teachers.
“Edufolios is designed to be a space that answers all of that and removes all of those barriers.”
Edufolios is currently priced at $29 a year per teacher. The annual fee includes a personal website, which is pre-populated with the seven domains and the 148 focus areas that teachers have to evidence as they go from Graduate to Lead. The website also contains a widget that pertains to a teacher’s state requirements and a dashboard widget that tracks the progress of their personal development.
“We are looking at this as an international platform, it will become a global thing – the architecture can be lifted and applied to any industry that has standards,” she said.
“We’ve talked to teachers in Canada about it already, we’ve been approached by the Indonesian market and we’re only seven months old. What I’m trying to do is take every opportunity and see where it leads. My aim is to take my experience and share that with whoever wants to use it in whatever industry.”
While social media and word of mouth were the main channels of promotion, Woodward planned to ramp up marketing of the product to reach Australia’s 300,000 registered teachers.
Selena, who also works as an adjunct lecturer and academic at Flinders University’ School of Education in Adelaide is hoping to have a stall at the National Future Schools Expo and Conference in Melbourne next year.
“Our plan going forward is to target institutions but also target universities because we’ve got 84,000 pre-service teachers registering to train every year so that’s quite a large market. Once they start Edufolios at university they can continue with it throughout their career,” she said.
Edufolios was among 10 Australian winners of the Bridge to MassChallenge pitch competition in Sydney this month and will attend a five-day boot camp in Boston in February. The 10 winners will compete to be fast tracked to the semi-finals to vie for a share of the world prize pool of over $3 million in cash awards.
“It’s great to have this idea validated outside of my own profession, I know teachers get it but to be able to communicate that to big business means a lot to me and it means a lot to my profession,” Selena said.
“There’s a wealth of mentorship available to us that is connecting us with people who will accelerate us because we’re getting the advice we need quickly so we don’t make mistakes that would slow us down.
“Going to Boston will allow me to expand that network further.”