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A Simple Way to Spark Creativity and Collaboration in Your Classroom

One of the thought leaders we look to is our former board member, Esther Wojcicki. She continues to be a voice and leader we listen to when it comes to preparing kids for the skills needed in the future. A lot of what Esther talks about lines up well with our pedagogy here at Collaborative Classroom—that students need to become people who are able to think critically, communicate effectively with their peers, collaborate on a regular basis, and be creative.I had the privilege of interviewing Esther about her best selling book, How to Raise Successful People as she shared her approach in raising her three daughters (Susan, CEO of YouTube, Anne, CEO of 23andMe, and Janet, Doctor and Professor at UCSF) along with thousands of students she taught at Palo Alto High School while serving as the nation’s top Journalism teacher.

Her approach, TRICK (Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness) has now come to life with Tract.app, which gives students control of their learning and allows them to pick topics they want to learn about together with their peers or independently. Esther and her former student and co-founder Ari Memar are offering Tract.app free of charge to educators.

-Kelly Stuart, President and CEO

During the pandemic and long before it, teachers have been on the frontline of change—taking on new leadership, new technologies, and new standards with a positive attitude. It has been hard, but worth it when we see kids overcoming challenges and becoming excited and passionate about learning. Teachers are the backbone of a successful future. In fact, our main goal as teachers is to prepare kids for the future—but how are we to prepare kids for careers that may not even exist yet? How can we best prepare our kids to be successful when we don’t know what skills they will need?

For starters, we must realize that we cannot solve today’s (or tomorrow’s) problems with yesterday’s solutions. We have to rely on collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity, or as we call them, the “existential skills.” While we cannot predict the future, the future needs people who will be able to think critically and creatively under pressure, communicate effectively with their peers, collaborate on a regular basis, and be creative when solving problems. They will need to be willing to take risks and try something new. These skills are just the opposite of the 20th century “follow instructions” skills that we have been teaching in school for decades. These existential skills are precisely what employers are looking for—and they are telling us that the youth today do not have them.

It is with this challenge in mind that we created Tract.app. Teachers need a partner that makes sparking each kid’s passion and cultivating their essential skills a little bit easier. On Tract, kids can learn, create, share, and teach each other in a safe space they own and love. It is a place for kids to share the incredible work they are doing beyond the classroom to an authentic audience, discover new interests and passions, and build self-confidence and the skills required to be successful in the 21st century.

Using Tract is an opportunity for students to have control of their learning and pick topics they want to learn about—together with their peers or independently. One of the attractions Tract has for kids is that they learn from kids just a little bit older than them. There is no one more interesting to a kid than another kid who is just a little bit older. This app also gives teens an opportunity to be creators.

Tract is FREE for teachers. No professional development is required and no makerspace necessary—just a connected device and the internet. You can get your classroom started in under five minutes by signing up at teach.tract.app with code COLLABORATIVE.

Join hundreds of educators around the world who are innovating in education and bringing Tract to their kids for Project-Based Learning, Genius Hour, Gifted and Talented Enrichment, Social Emotional Learning, Distance Learning, as well as in many other creative ways!

Curious? Have questions? Check out our demo and then get started FREE at teach.tract.app

Esther Wojcick, Cofounder + Chief Learning Officer at Tract

Esther Wojcick HeadshotA block-buster TEDx speaker, the Godmother of the Silicon Valley, a 40-year teacher, the bestselling author of How to Raise Successful People, and now a tech entrepreneur, Esther Wojcicki has spent her career empowering children to be creative through TRICK: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness.

As the cofounder and Chief Learning Officer at Tract, Esther is focused on bringing her student-centered teaching pedagogy to classrooms around the world as a practical, no nonsense approach to help our children find their confidence and get excited about learning again. Follow Esther on Twitter

Ari Memar, Cofounder + CEO at Tract

Ari Memar HeadshotAri Memar is the CEO and Cofounder of Tract – the world’s first peer-to-peer learning community – which he started with his former high school teacher, Esther Wojcicki. Prior to starting Tract, Ari was a Product Leader at Uber, helping start and scale several new business lines within Uber’s New Mobility division. Find Ari on LinkedIn

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