Jacqueline Evanecz: Spinndle Is a Co-learning Space That Helps Students Manage Their Own Projects

February 27, 2022

Spinndle is a co-learning space that helps students manage their own projects. As students pursue their own projects, Spinndle’s peer network acts as a safety net for students to try, test, and build on their ideas. The authentic skill progression of each student is captured and threaded together so teachers can intervene with ease.

At Spinndle, we value and support learning as a process, not a final product. Students share their research, inquiries, plans, outlines, ideations, and drafts to a forum in order to get so the feedback, insight, inspiration and knowledge they need when they need it.

Our goal is to provide a space where teachers can be comfortable getting out of the students way so students can try, test and build on their ideas.

Since its soft launch in May 2021, the company has on boarded over 2000 K-12 educators and 40 schools across the globe who are implementing student-centered learning initiatives.

Tell us about yourself?

Jacqueline Evanecz left the classroom after teaching K-12 for 7 years to design a truly student-centered tool, where her students could focus primarily on their learning process and less on being evaluated or assessed.

Spinndle changes the workflow from teacher-powered to peer-powered, creating a safer space for learner persistence.

Jacqueline has seen how transformative learning can be when students take the reins, so her mission is to support teachers and the work they are doing to foster self-directed learners in their classrooms.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Slow down and don’t over strategize. While we were piloting our ALPHA product in classrooms, 100% of my attention should have gone towards product and testing. My head was in 10 different places though: markets, business model, sales, marketing etc.

In the beginning, my only goal should have been to build relationships through product testing. We pivoted a year and a half into the project. I think that pivot could have taken place much earlier.

What problem does your business solve?

80% of teachers reported that they don’t know all their students strengths and challenges. Students are falling behind and falling out.

That’s why there is new stimulus funding ($122B) in US K-12 to transform the one-size-fits all system, to more of a tailor-made system. Our current technology on captures a students final work, not their learning (everything that leads up to a student’s final work).

Spinndle captures each student’s learning process and makes it visible so teachers can easily check in and students can focus on their learning.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

As a teacher for 7 years, all our education software was designed to solve a teacher’s problem. We built something primarily for the student — to help them learn for themselves, and as a by-product, we help teachers do their number 1 job: to mentor each student.

I was both an anxious and bored student and I saw this behaviour in too many of my own truant/struggling learners when they entered my classroom.

Students don’t want to share their work-in-progress (ideas, brainstorms, drafts, iterations) until their work is final or polished for fear of being judged and evaluated.

When it comes to touching-base with students to support their inquiries, plans or ideas, the tools I used asked students to submit their final and only to me. This is so wrong and not how we work in the modern workplace.

We learn from and with our peers. We designed Spinndle to reflect the modern workplace. Encouraging students to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, ask questions and seek support at every step of their projects.

What is your magic sauce?

Our power users stick with Spinndle for the modern workflow. Spinndle provides students with a safe space to engage in cycles of feedback, reflection and iteration required of any real-world project. Students share their work-in-progress to peers to seek improvement, instead of their final product to the teacher to be assessed.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Be in over 75% of classrooms across North America. I’d love for the model to transform to be completely student-driven. Right now teachers design the project roadmaps. Our vision is for students to have a tool to design their own project plans start to finish.

Spinndle will be the updated version of our traditional SUBMIT and GRADE learning management platforms. Students are no longer being told how to do something and they are actively practicing future-ready skills.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The pandemic. We started piloting during the pandemic which drastically set back our timeline. Also, nailing down our time to value on the product. On boarding has to be seamless for a teacher to jump onto one more piece of technology. We need to interoperate with their larger LMS’s to fit into their ecosystem.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Partnerships with teacher training universities, professional development groups and learning management powerhouses.

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