Irvington Union Free School District is a public school district an hour north of New York City. The district prides itself on its high bar and commitment to academic achievement. Three of the four schools in the district have been recognized as National Schools of Excellence. What distinguishes IUFSD is its dedication to challenge and inspire students to pursue their passions in their futures. As a future-facing district, technology is a key component of the district’s goals.
As Jay Strumwasser, Director of Technology, shares, the district had initially used a different tool to allow them to add audio to digital assignments. However, because the tool was outdated and regulations changed at the state level regarding privacy, Jay found Mote as a possible alternative tool. Staff were excited to use the tool, and found new ways to use it, particularly because of its simplicity. Jay notes, what separates Mote from other instructional technology is that “it’s not demanding in any way. It makes things easier….[with Mote] I can walk into a teacher’s room and say “can I show you something that makes your job easier?”” and because it’s so simple, it quickly takes hold among staff and students.
This past year, IUFSD has seen Mote adopted across a variety of contexts, including music classes, world language assessments, and scaffolds for students with learning differences. Staff at IUFSD create motes for a diverse range of reasons across a diverse range of contexts, with usage broadly distributed across many of Mote’s integrations, including Google Slides, Forms, Classroom, and Docs.
When asked about what has led IUFSD to use Mote in this way, Jay returns back to the initial reason that the tool spread across the district: because of its ease of use and capacity for impact. As Jay shares, in contrast to other technology which may have a steep learning curve, with Mote, teachers and students can add their voice “literally at the click of a button.” This power combined with the simplicity of the voice notes delivery sets Mote apart. Through the product, teachers not only save themselves time, but by adding their voice to assignments and feedback, they also have the power to extend themselves into digital learning.
For IUFSD, Mote has been a powerful supplement to instruction and feedback. With Mote, staff have been able to bring joy and personalization to their instruction, save time giving directions and feedback; and helped scaffold learning for students with differences. In this way, Mote has served IUFSD as a tool that can support every teacher and student, whatever their learning needs.