Starting out as a student with an infatuation with the world of technology, it was passion that led Jena Draper to design a game changing educational technology application known as CatchOn. During a time where technology was underappreciated in the classroom, Draper set out on a mission to bridge the gap and show schools, educators and administrators the value that this tool can bring.
“I was a student who really liked technology, that was the most successful learning medium for me. Part of my learning process is to teach myself by finding the answers on my own, and tech let me accomplish that,” said Draper. “I was driven by this to inspire schools to embrace technology and leverage their digital investments to deliver engaging and personalized learning opportunities to their students.”
After Draper graduated college, she was stuck on the idea of creating something new. A product that could show the true value of technology and show schools how to harness it rather than dismiss it.
“I graduated, but I saw my siblings going through the same experience I had in my early school days, the difference being that teachers now had access to devices, but didn’t fully know how to use them,” Draper continued. “Schools were investing in these tools without knowing how to maximize their investments.”
The lightbulb moment came when Draper met with a school district in Texas and had an illuminating discussion on the district’s current state-of-affairs with their tech equipment.
“I asked an administrator, you bought the equipment, now what? Are the products being used, how are you keeping track of this?”
The answer came in a hectic display of spreadsheets, reports and confusing data.
“That’s when I knew there had to be a better way, a way to consolidate all of this information in one secure place,” Draper remembers. “The administrator told me, if you can solve this, you will solve one of the biggest issues in education.”
This was the spark that Draper used to create CatchOn, an administrative tool that provides district technology leaders with real-time evidence about app use, implementation fidelity, cost, and ROI.
Jena Draper, Founder CatchOn
The company prototype was minimalistic, designed to quickly get into the hands of the K–12 education community and start making an impact. , Many of these customers didn’t realize that their districts were lacking insights and possibly losing money due to a lack of use of apps and other edtech.
“The beginnings of CatchOn brought immense interest to the company, and left schools wanting more. It’s a simple dilemma, but one that people hadn’t considered until we showed them there was an easier way,” Draper said.
CatchOn continued to grow as a company, and Draper continued to learn more from the schools the product was being used in.
“I would ask meaningful questions to get to the bottom of what each school needed,” said Draper. “Rather than simply saying ‘no, that’s not possible’, or being overly enthusiastic, I got to the root of what a school would do with the solution once they had it in their hands – how it would be implemented.”
CatchOn’s culture of continuous improvement drove the company to where it is today. Fast-forward to 2018, when Education Networks of America (ENA) and CatchOn formed a partnership. After Jena and the ENA team saw that there was something special happening with this partnership, CatchOn joined the ENA family of companies in June of 2018.
“Schools are seeking companies that can scale and grow to meet their evolving needs and the affiliation with ENA has only bolstered the confidence of our customers,” Draper said. “ENA has given CatchOn the ability to scale to meet the needs of large district enterprises, while still having the flexibility to support smaller districts.”
The partnership instantly added a professional support system, and human and financial resources that has strengthened CatchOn’s place in the educational technology realm. ENA is known for its long-standing service, support and commitment to education, as well as the company’s comprehensive infrastructure technology.
Along with the support of ENA, CatchOn has been backed by a handful of early adopter evangelists that have contributed to the company’s growth and stability.
“They were my founding force, helped me to flesh things out and vet ideas, without them I don’t believe I would have been prepared or able to look at the educational technology market with the same lens that I now do,” said Draper.
The education industry changes fast, and the CatchOn team is prepared to adapt with it, and continue to provide the latest technology to increase school insights, working towards positive outcomes for every student.
“We need to understand how students are learning with technology so we can visualize what tech is best to fit those needs. We also need to understand what support and professional development teachers need in order to get the full potential out of devices and applications,” said Draper.
Just as important as providing an innovative platform, is providing exceptional student data privacy. CatchOn excels in this facet by providing districts an easy way to evaluate non-licensed digital learning tools and how they comply with student data privacy requirements. The software uses the latest security technology to protect student and district data, exceeding industry standards for data privacy and security.
A Journey of a Lifetime
Since its conception, CatchOn has been helping districts come full-circle in their technology efforts. Districts are moving past the old way of doing things, and are gleaning crucial insights into device usage and app data.
“We’re using data to drive improvement, and helping districts detect tech implementation problems early on,” Draper said. “CatchOn is helping schools identify when a tool isn’t being used, and catches it early enough to make a positive difference. And through our Trending Apps feature, districts can discover investment opportunities they may be missing to help students and teachers.”
Through the simplification of data insights has come a new frontier of process improvement and digital learning tool implementation.
Reflecting on the evolution of CatchOn, Draper comments “My life goal is to leave a legacy in the industry closest to my heart, education. Making a positive difference in the districts we serve through this technology has been the journey of a lifetime, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.”