Photo courtesy Abre

With just about every industry in the world having to rethink their M.O. in response to COVID-19, education is no exception. But luckily, the folks at Abre (open in Spanish) already had a head start in providing an online educational program. The team behind this software platform are all former educators and board members.

Recently, Abre was named “The Education Administration Solution of the Year” by the EdTech Breakthrough Awards. Abre is also the 2020 SIIA CODiE Winner for best overall education technology solution.

The start

Abre was founded late in 2017 by two educators in Hamilton, OH, a city that is the home to 10,000 students. The software “allows schools to manage and distribute web-based software to staff, students, and parents. Abre provides software solutions to help administrators, teachers, students, and parents focus on education.”

Abre is a software platform that is meant to make teaching and learning easier. “Our focus,” said Damon Ragusa, CEO of Abre, “is delivering easy-to-use, simple software to schools to replace the legacy of those really big companies that build massive software that’s simply hard to use.”

Pandemic pivot

Ragusa said that while teaching is managing and delivering instructions to students, the execution of teaching has changed in recent months because of the pandemic.

“All of a sudden, we’re going from teaching in a classroom to teaching virtually,” he said. Part of the fallout from the pandemic is that a lot of teachers weren’t prepared to use their on-hand learning management systems because they never learned to use them to begin with. They were too complex, too big, and took up too much of their valuable time. But a learning management system like Abre is going to carry a lot of that load for both educators and students, and even for administrators and parents.

“One of the advantages of a platform versus a big piece of software,” Ragusa said, “is that we’re flexible in that the Abre platform is a module instead of one big piece of software.” A lot of teachers who are using Abre currently still use their other platforms, mostly because they’re hard to get rid of as transitioning can be quite difficult. But Abre makes it easy to transition at the user’s own pace and comfort level.

Addition support

Abre provides services that allow parents and teachers to track student behavior and student plans and gather new student information. There’s also a way to track teachers’ professional growth through Abre Professional Learning. And yes, classroom activities and homework assignments can be monitored and managed. Teachers can even create and collaborate with their own peers on course-level curriculum.

Not only can teachers collaborate and share projects and ideas, but schools can share the same information with each other as well, bringing the entire learning community into one large, collaborative, team-building hub.