An Update is Born: How this month’s myFolio tweaks came to be

Users logging into myFolio this week will see a few changes here and there. These tweaks are not as significant as our summer software development, but they nonetheless might be game-changers for many schools. What are the changes, and how do platform modifications like this come to be? Join us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the journey of software development at Folio…

It All Begins With Member Feedback

In a year that has been incomparably hard for educators, the Folio team started by asking ourselves, “What can we do to make things easier for teachers and leaders as we enter 2021?” We poured over our (copious) notes — we’ve literally had hundreds of conversations with school leaders this year! Two clear themes emerged from those conversations and from the requests leaders have made of us when we’ve spoken with them: 

  • School leaders continue asking for more and better ways to help faculty connect and share collective wisdom in our socially-distanced world
  • Reflection plays a growing role in professional growth efforts at many Folio schools; leaders are looking for more ways to integrate ongoing reflection into the Folio process.

That member feedback is what gets the ball rolling as we begin to develop new features.

Simple Ways to Meet the Need

A founding principle at Folio was, “Keep it caveman simple.” As such, we think about the themes we hear from members and design ways to meet member needs simply, putting the focus on the growth, not the software. We are grateful to have members who can see the product solution to their challenge and take the time to share that with us. Ideas such as:

  • “The sharing that happens via the Community Feed would really take off if teachers could get updates by email of the resources being shared there!”
  • “I’d love it if teachers could create self-reflection notes at any time of year, to capture their growth or to respond to prompts, instead of indicating a person they “met with’ every time they created a note.”

Those ideas often give us the best inspiration for ways to refine and enhance myFolio.

Making It Happen

One we’ve collected the ideas, we meet with our software development team to sketch out the work. Then the coding begins, in this case via a heavy but focused lift by our development partners in late December and January. Once the code is working, they share the new features with us in a “staging” environment where we test new functions before moving them to the actual myFolio site. It was tremendously exciting to “push” the final code in early February, allowing users to:

  • Sign up for email updates about the Community Feed, via “Settings” (in the Gear icon), Email preferences.

  • Turn on a “self-reflection” button within a Conversation Note or Classroom Observation Note, so that the note isn’t about meeting with someone else but instead about gathering and processing one’s own thoughts.  

Our next round of feature development will be here before we know it – we do our most significant development work in time for a summer rollout. The best way to add your voice to our summer development roadmap is through a survey, now live as a pop-up within the myFolio platform. Please take 5 minutes to complete the survey by logging into myFolio!

 

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