Hi, I'm David. I'm a teacher from Seattle and the creator of Confer.
During the year my oldest daughter was born, while I was working on my National Boards, I had two problems (besides lack of sleep). The first was that none of my classroom notetaking systems were working. They were hard to maintain and it was way too cumbersome to try and get good small group data from them. The second problem was that I needed something to do--besides the Boards--while rocking a baby to sleep in a dark room every night. I decided to get back into programming and a few months later came up with Confer.
Confer was the tool that I had been wanting in my own classroom for a long time. Using Confer, I was able take notes quickly enough that my notetaking became sustainable. My three-ring conferring notebooks, which took turns collecting dust--and guilt--on my desk, were finally laid to rest. But even more importantly, Confer could sort students by the contents of their notes, letting me instantly see small groups of students with the same instructional needs. I would finish a lesson, launch the kids into independent work and then pull out my second-hand iPod Touch. (I'm a school teacher--we do things on the cheap.) In seconds, I could identify a whole host of strategy-based small groups. Instead of spending all my time leafing through notes and trying to figure out the small groups, I could simply teach them. That changed everything for me.
As it turns out, it changed things for a lot of other teachers as well. Thanks to the thoughtful and passionate teachers who starting using Confer, the word-of-mouth spread like crazy. Confer is now being used by tens of thousands of teachers across the country and around the world. Every day I'm hearing from teachers about what they like, what they want in the next update, and what kinds of tools teachers need next. I think they're on to something. I believe that teacher-centered tools like Confer can transform our ability to collect student data and use it to inform instruction. And that newfound ability has the potential to do amazing things for students. I'm honored and excited to be partnering with other teachers in building those tools.
David Lowe M.Ed., NBCT
PS. Please contact me if you ever want to talk more about Confer, data collection or the next generation of instructional tools for the classroom! (Or boardgames. I'll also talk boardgames.)