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Where we started...
The ideas for Inkwire originated when Aatash was a resident at High Tech High in San Diego, CA. High Tech High had hopes for each of its students to graduate with a digital portfolio of their work and skills. But portfolio creation often felt like an extra step –– teachers and students were usually so busy doing the learning that it was hard to carve out time simply for documentation or reflection. And unfortunately, while many students were landing amazing work opportunities for their portfolios, the educational landscape was still biased towards test scores and the traditional report. These learnings prompted a few questions.
- Can we automate the process of creating a portfolio? Can we embed into the learning process itself, so it's not an extra step?
- Can we get the portfolio to become an accepted source of data around student learning?
Later, while Aatash was teaching middle school computer science in Oakland Unified, he found himself uninspired by his curriculum – and that surely meant his students weren't too engaged either. He found himself revisiting a concept he learned back at High Tech High: that of the authentic audience. Students have an authentic audience when a another person (outside of the teacher) is genuinely invested in the quality of their work.
Soon, his students were designing mobile apps for their communities and presenting their work to mentors at Square ans Salesforce; the engagement levels were high and the students and their work were inspiring. When Aatash wanted to take this concept to the next level (partly forced by the COVID-19 pandemic), he realized that technology had the power to connect students to authentic audiences anywhere in the world. It was around then the first version of Inkwire was born and launched into the world.