On the surface QuickKey is an amazing app for teachers that is allowing them to grade papers and assessments in minutes, if not seconds. Whether the classroom is a 1:1 environment, iPad based, Chromebook based, BYOD or still using old fashioned pencil and ScanTron sheets, QuickKey helps teachers grade quickly. The app itself is amazing and creates more time, but more time for what?
Walter Duncan is the creator and founder of Quick Key. He spent nearly two decades teaching in mostly underserved communities during the duration of his instructional career. From Watts in Los Angeles to high schools in Detroit, Washington DC, Boston and more, Duncan is a skilled, passionate, craftsman when it comes to education. “I would get caught standing on the desk and walking from desk top to desktop” he told us in an interview, all in the name of getting students more engaged and really pulling things out of them. “It’s an art of the heart” Duncan says of his chosen profession.
It’s that time Duncan spends really pulling knowledge out of students which drove him to creating QuickKey. He had two personal objectives for the app. The first was to free up more time for him to continue to dive into instruction. The other, was to be able to provide feedback as quick as possible to his students and his administrators. “If they saw me jumping up and down or standing on the desk, I could back it up with real numbers..” he told nibletz.com
Just like Genius Plaza, Duncan knows that education is a universal tool and speaks a universal language. He also knows strives to eliminate any barriers to education that may stand in the student and the instructors way. That’s a driving force behind QuickKey.
With QuickKey Duncan hopes to help teachers create more time and more data to have more meaningful and impactful interactions with their students. It’s these type of interactions that made QuickKey, literally an overnight success.
The QuickKey story started after Duncan had created the app. He wanted to find 100 teachers to beta test it before he it went live. So Duncan called on a student, Jake Demonte Finn, to help him out.
“I had a former student, he was the kind of student that would give me butterflies in my stomach before I would go into each class, because I knew, he was so strong, but you never want to shut down a child, but you have to manage them so they don’t hijack the class… everyday life goes on, and I ask him to help me with this video. He takes it and posts it on Reddit and says “the best teacher I’ve ever had in my life made this really cool app, let’s show him we love him and appreciate him” The Reddit post that Finn made about Mr. Duncan went viral. Duncan’s amateur explainer video went viral and quickly reached half a million views. Thousands of teachers signed up for the beta program and Duncan found himself above the fold on TechCrunch. He also found a crew from CBS Boston in his classroom.
The rest as they say is history. The unfortunate part for Duncan was that he was forced to choose between the classroom and running his company to help effect change in the way teachers are teaching. He chose to run the company, but we’re willing to bet he either finds his way back into the classroom or on the shelves of your neighborhood Barnes and Noble.
Check out QuickKey here.