“Apps have opened the market to an entirely new group of innovative people who want to make a difference in education.” – Trenton Goble, USA

Trenton Goble calls himself an “accidental Ed Tech entrepreneur,” but his deep understanding of education and the tools required by teachers and students is no accident. Goble has been a classroom teacher, a school principal and a district administrator – a journey that he says shaped the way he thinks about what data tools can and should do. 

Goble’s company, MasteryConnect, has developed MasteryAssess, a tool that allows students to take assignments, tests, quizzes, and common formative assessments using a Windows device. With the app, teachers save time in grading student assignments and assessments.  Teachers can also easily create and upload an assessment/assignment in any format (Word, PDF, etc.) and deliver them automatically to the device. The company (we talked to MasteryConnect CEO Mick Hewitt in an earlier Daily Edventure) will be demonstrating the tool starting today at the FETC 2014 Conference, which highlights the latest in K-12 education technology. 

Asked what inspired the app, Goble says, “The biggest inspiration came from our desire to provide teachers with easy-to-access, quality resources for teachers.  The massive explosion of tablets in education has created tremendous demand for educational apps.”  

Goble sees apps not only as tools for teachers and their students, but vehicles for new kind of innovation in education. “Apps create access,” he says. “The education market has traditionally been a very difficult market to crack for people who think they have a really great idea that might improve education for teachers and students.  Apps have opened the market to an entirely new group of innovative people who want to make a difference in education.”   

We’re excited to support better student outcomes and our education vision of anytime, anywhere learning for all with MasteryConnect’s innovative tools. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Trenton Goble. 

What drew you to the field of education? Why is it important to you? 

I was drawn to education because of those teachers that made learning exciting and engaging.  I really believe working in education provides the greatest opportunities to impact the world in a positive way.   

Can you tell us about a favorite teacher, or someone who made a difference in your education?  

My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Hagen, was probably the most influential teacher in my life.  He brought the arts and music into the classroom and made me believe I could do anything.  It was clear that he loved what he did and that had a great impact on my life.  

Please describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education.  What has changed as a result of your work?  

I have always loved trying new things and tried to remain open to the ideas of others.  I believe that every success I have ever had in education was the by-product of gathering input and support from those around me.  Education works best when everyone works together on behalf of the students.  

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?  

I have used technology to implement project-based learning, student-created portfolios, and innovative monitoring of student performance, as well as working to put technology in the hands of teachers.  Years ago I began a school film festival that grew into a district-level film festival that continues to this day.  Ultimately, I believe technology has tremendous potential to improve learning opportunities when teachers are given the proper support and time for implementation. 

In your opinion, how has the use of apps, cellphones, and mobile devices changed education? And your work?

I think the greatest impact is access.  Mobile devices and apps have created new opportunities for innovation and increased access for students. 

In your view, what is the most exciting innovation happening in education today? 

I believe the greatest innovation in education is innovation itself.  In many ways this is a very schizophrenic time in education.  Technology has created incredible opportunities for innovation, which is incredible, but we are also experiencing tremendous pressure to focus on improving student performance on high stakes testing.  This is causing many schools to overemphasize test prep and accountability for math and language arts scores, which often limits innovative instructional practice.  The potential for innovation is exciting, but until we broaden the scope of what we expect from our schools, we may be disappointed with how little innovation we see.

Is there a 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, or creativity and innovation) that you are most passionate about? Why?

I wouldn’t claim to be more or less passionate about any of those mentioned. I think they are not mutually exclusive.  Every effort should be made to integrate those skills into teacher instructional practice.   

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?  

An Internet-connected tablet with an outstanding teacher. My initial thought was a piece of paper and a pencil or a desk and chair with a competent teacher.  The tablet creates access.  Access to create, to information, to learn, to connect with others and to better understand the world in which they live.  The key is the outstanding teacher.  Teachers provide support, context and an advocate.  One caution — and perhaps a bit of a soapbox statement: tools should be used to bring people together and too often they are being used to isolate students from their world.

What is your country doing well currently to support education?  

I am very concerned that our country is creating a false narrative around education.  One that minimizes just how difficult it can be to meet the needs of every child in our schools.  I have worked in highly impacted schools where children arrived each day with a backpack full of complex issues that impacted their ability to learn.  They were hungry, afraid, learning a new language and woefully unprepared for school.  The expectation for schools to solve the most pressing social issues we are facing may be too much.  There are teachers in every school in this country who are doing amazing work, but I would argue that they are doing it with less rather than more support.  

How must education change in your country to ensure that students are equipped to thrive in the 21st century? 

We need to have a collective effort to address both the academic and social challenges facing our country. This requires highly skilled, highly supported and highly valued educators and a hefty investment in early childhood education and social services.  This will also require an incredible investment in the issues that cause so many of our children to live and remain in poverty.  Ensuring that every child arrives at school ready to learn is perhaps the most significant change required to ensure that every student is equipped to thrive in the 21st century.  

About Trenton Goble, Chief Academic Officer, MasterConnect

Salt Lake City, USA

@TrentonGoble 

  • Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Current residence: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Education: Utah State University BS Elementary Education, MS Instructional Technology, K-12 Public School Administrative Certification
  • Website I check every day: Twitter
  • Person who inspires me most: My family
  • Favorite childhood memory: I loved childhood. I loved having the freedom to play and explore outside.  I love the optimism of youth.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Washington D.C.
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? Yesterday…
  • Favorite book: Usually the one I am currently reading.
  • Favorite music: Anything from the 80’s
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Don’t race to places…enjoy the ride.
  • Your favorite quote or motto: Be nice.
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