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//Zach Vander Veen

About Zach Vander Veen

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

Let Parents Pick


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

Let Parents Pick2019-05-20T07:45:37-04:00

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 Suspect2018-08-18T07:58:50-04:00

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 Back2018-08-10T14:48:46-04:00

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, 20182019-04-29T10:40:56-04:00

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 Appathons2018-04-05T21:57:05-04:00

OERs Part 3: What is the Market Place Model?


Can OERs make money if they’re open? Or a slightly different question, can people creating OERs make money?

I would say yes. It requires a different view on revenue.

A model for funding would be to consider popular open-source platforms.

OERs Part 3: What is the Market Place Model?2018-03-09T13:12:59-04:00

OERs Part 2: Focus on Solutions to the Problem


In my previous post, I discussed a number of the problems facing OERs. With this post, I'll explore ideas and solutions to the particular issues surrounding OERs.

OERs Part 2: Focus on Solutions to the Problem2018-03-09T13:12:02-04:00

Open Education Resources (OERs): Part 1 of a 3 Part Series


Open Education Resources (OERs) increasingly capture the attention of districts looking to leverage their internal knowledge base and to save money. I’ve had the good fortune of being part of a number of conversations within Ohio concerning OERs. This is the first of a series of posts exploring what are OERs, what problems and solutions they present, and how the market might support OERs.

Open Education Resources (OERs): Part 1 of a 3 Part Series2018-02-19T15:24:54-04:00