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//Zach Vander Veen

About Zach Vander Veen

Educator. Adoptive Father. Husband. Co-Founder of Abre.

Coming Soon! Update to the Abre Student App


An enhanced Abre Student App is coming soon. The enhancements are based on user feedback to allow for even easier access to the information you need. This enhanced Student App will be available on Friday, November 9th.

Coming Soon! Update to the Abre Student App2018-11-02T08:01:24+00:00

Learning: Abre Everywhere


A fun question to consider is if you are the entry point to school, what can you do? One idea: Share learning experiences teachers have outside of their classroom. Abre Everywhere is a program to support educators who are doing extraordinary things outside of the classroom. Basically we wanted to help capture the wide variety of experiences educators have during their non-day job.

Learning: Abre Everywhere2018-10-04T16:09:16+00:00

Let Parents Pick


At Abre, we decided to let the parents pick how they want to login to see where school happens.

Let Parents Pick2018-09-20T08:43:22+00:00

Tips to Guided Learning


Abre's Guided Learning App helps with distractions in the classroom. As teachers (and as students), we know there are times when you need to buckle down, turn the phone off, close the tabs, and get things done. In short, guide the learning.

Tips to Guided Learning2018-09-20T07:10:21+00:00

They’re Right to Suspect


eSchool News recently featured an article titled "Educators report low confidence in ed-tech research." A key quote: Only 24 percent of surveyed educators say they believe ed-tech vendors are well-equipped to conduct reliable ed-tech research–and just 10 percent believe the same for media organizations. I do not find this surprising and, indeed, find it a little reassuring. When I was a teacher and an administrator, I tended to lump ed-tech into two categories: Productivity / efficiency. In other words, the technology helped me do my job better, faster, and with less work. Academic improvement. The technology improved student academic performance [...]

They’re Right to Suspect2018-08-18T07:58:50+00:00

Welcome Back


Abre currently serves 17 school districts. Many are coming on board for the first time. This is our first "school start up" we've had as a company. It's a blast. When I was in the classroom I always loved this time of year. Education is seasonal. There are beginnings and middles and ends. And then new beginnings and middles and ends. The cycle is incredibly satisfying. I liked the routine and the schedule. I got jazzed getting back with a new set of faces and starting the learning journey. I loved building on what worked the year before and fixing [...]

Welcome Back2018-08-10T14:48:46+00:00

SPARCC Conference: August 3, 2018


Why and What? Abre is an open-platform that hosts education apps. Abre helps teachers stay focused on teaching, students on learning, and parents on understanding what is going on the classroom. Technology should make life easier. Abre does. Abre works really well with the Google ecosystem. Indeed, it's critical to support the 1:1 Chromebook initiative at Hamilton City School District. Abre is free and opensource. We're educators and believe in the power of exploration and tinkering. Outline of the Presentation Subjects All subject areas. Grades: Pk-12 Audience: Teachers, Principals, Supers Skill [...]

SPARCC Conference: August 3, 20182018-08-02T20:48:13+00:00

When Students Create: Abre Appathons


When we created Abre, we intentionally designed a platform for fiddling. Learning is an experience involving trial and error, just-right challenges, and concrete outcomes. Philosophically, this fits with who we are. We’re an education company (with roots in public education) dedicated to help students learn. Why not give students tools to improve their learning? Why not give them access to experiential learning opportunities and allow them to build a compelling digital profile? Why not host an Appathon?

When Students Create: Abre Appathons2018-04-05T21:57:05+00:00

Student Created Apps for Education (2018 OSBA Proposal)


Why?Abre is an open-platform that hosts education apps. Technology should make life easier. Abre does.Abre works really well with the Google and Microsoft ecosystems. Indeed, it's critical to support the 1:1 Chromebook initiative in numerous districts. Abre is free and opensource. Created by educators and edTechs who believe in the power of exploration and tinkering.Because Abre is open-source, students can download the platform and build apps that serve their schools. This presentation covers how Appathons are hosted, run, and produced. By the end of the session, attendees will learn how they could host an Appathon in their district and leverage [...]

Student Created Apps for Education (2018 OSBA Proposal)2018-03-09T12:45:16+00:00

Brainstorm EdTech Conference: Abre Proposal


Why and What? The Hamilton City School District faced a large growth in devices used by students and staff. The complexity of managing various software packages increased. Moreover, many school applications were dated or completely lacking in function. Data frequently was siloed and difficult access and understand. Also, software was expensive. Developed by school techs, we decided to use modern web standards to create an open-source platform districts could use to host and create their own apps. The Abre platform runs on a web server and integrates with the most common educational ecosystems like Google, Microsoft, LMSs, and SISs. [...]

Brainstorm EdTech Conference: Abre Proposal2018-05-08T08:17:05+00:00