Rethinking Best Practices with Rethink User Groups

networking

How Rethink is bringing users across the country together to share ideas, improve program usage, and rethink enhancements to our platform.

If there is any one thing that educators do particularly well (and, of course, there are MANY), communication is sure to be foremost on the list. Whether it be performing feats of physio-linguistic pyrotechnics in filing unruly groups of toddlers into straight lines on their way to the playground, or making a line of witty poesie from a 17th century Shakespearean sonnet matter to a classroom full of 17-year-old millennials, educators are effecting communicative miracles every day.

We at Rethink thus figured that if we truly wanted know what kinds of extraordinary things users are doing with our platform and get a sense of the kinds of enhancements they’d like to see, the most sure-fire way to do so was to get educators–that is, the teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and service providers using our program–to start talking, with us and with one another.

This spring Rethink saw the launch of our new User Group Event series, a series of user-led events that took place across the country.  The events gave teams of teachers, administrators, and service providers from neighboring districts a chance to gather together locally for a casual conversation (and complimentary lunch) to discuss their experience using the Rethink platform.  User groups were held all over Texas, New Jersey, and Florida (amongst other places) throughout the spring, with more events in other states planned for the fall.

Volusia User Group

Rethink users from Volusia County Schools in Florida pose for a photo after their user group on May 21

Each group addressed a litany of topics particular to the districts in attendance, ranging from challenges faced during implementation and how to motivate staff usage, to aligning student programs with IEP’s and customizing Rethink to fit district and classroom instructional routines.  Present at each event was a representative from the Rethink team to help facilitate discussion, to listen and respond to feedback, and to review upcoming enhancements to our platform with the people who will benefit from them the most–our users.

Beth Lieberman, a pre-school special education teacher with 28 years of experience working with students with autism, attended the user group in Holmdel, New Jersey in May. Describing the user group as “invaluable” in “find[ing] out how other districts were using [Rethink],” she explained: “I have a handle on some things, but in talking to other users, I was really able to get a grasp of other aspects of the program I wasn’t that familiar with. I got some really helpful hints from other districts.”

One of the highlights of the event for Lieberman was getting the chance to share with others how using Rethink has benefitted her work with students.  “It has allowed me more time to do other things, create more visuals etc., because I’m not spending all my time graphing,” she told Rethink. “The biggest thing for me was that I was able to convince [another behaviorist in attendance] that she didn’t need to spend so much time creating individual data books for each student. Rethink replaces that and generates everything online for you.”

Teachers listen intently, as one user shares about her experience using Rethink at the user group in Galena Park, Texas on May 22

Teachers listen intently as one user shares about her experience using Rethink over lunch at the user group in Galena Park, Texas on May 22

In response to the enthusiastic feedback we have received from user group attendees, Rethink will be hitting the road this summer with a series of summer seminars lead by Lin Chong, Rethink’s Vice President of Curriculum and Content Development, before recommencing in the fall for another round of user groups.  To find out more about a user group or summer road show event near you, please visit our website.

 

 

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