Teacher Partner System (TPS)

Hi Everyone,

I had a difficult time uploading my Executive Summary into a viewable and presentable format.  While I looked at a bunch of options, I settled with Publisher as I thought it would be the easiest in designing a visually appealing publication.

I did not forsee the challenges in uploading the file to a google site or wordpress.  In the end, I took a screen shot of my Executive Summary and pasted it into MS Word to upload below.  The links do work, but you have to press CTRL & Click using your mouse.  I hope you find it informative and enjoyable.  If you would like the direct publisher or html file, please email me and I will gladly attach it for you.

email:  uppal_jagpal(at)sd36.bc.ca

tps-executive-summary 

Enjoy!

Jag Uppal

16 comments


1 Michael Awmack { 11.24.08 at 9:11 pm }

I really like the idea of developing an administrative management system for teachers. I do worry, however, that some of the features of TPS (consolidated records of emails, voicemails and notes) may actually create work for teachers (scanning notes, etc…). Perhaps the spin to put in the pitch should be “create better records” rather than “save teachers time.” TPS, with good implementation, might be just what teachers need to stay on top of admin. matters and not let things fall through the cracks.


2 Cheryl Milner { 11.25.08 at 3:07 pm }

Hi Jag,

Great presentation! You have a nice screen presence! I’m not going to ask you if you’ve considered a career in acting?

You presented the problem well and clearly have the fundamentals of a well integrated and useful product.

A couple of questions?

How broadly have other teachers viewed your prototype?
What are they saying about the functionality and its user interface?

I noticed that you will promote this software at Pro D days, how else will you market the product? Will there be any other business support from the district to help launch the product?

It appeals to me as an EVA because it serves to simplify a teacher’s workday. One entry, goes to many places, with varying audiences. Seems very clever and useful.

The questions I have noted above would be important to understand before I was to recommend funding for your venture, but with those questions answered I would fund your project Jag.

Good luck!!
Cheryl


3 Mary Burgess { 11.26.08 at 9:41 pm }

Hi Jag,

What a great piece of software! I can really see the integration being extremely useful. Like Cheryl, I noticed how natural you were in front of the camera, good job!

A couple of things I wondered:

Cost – you don’t mention the cost of the system, whether it’s a product that can be licensed by individuals or would need to be adopted by a school or district.

You mentioned that there is a template for users who are not technically savvy, but are there training materials already created?

I also liked your exec summary, thought it gave just the right amount of info. You’ve got my money!

Mary


4 Bruce Spencer { 11.27.08 at 8:46 pm }

I’m sold on any idea that makes a teacher’s workload easier to manage. I’m a little worried about the learning curve on this software but as with anything, if people see the value in it, they won’t mind spending the time to learn how it works. I also like how you intend to make your product compatible with some of the other educational software teachers are currently using. What I like the most is that you don’t have to be at work to access the software. You can do it from home.

Great job, Jag!


5 Alex { 11.27.08 at 10:01 pm }

Hi Jag,

Excellent presentation. Your pitch could have been much more condensed and have still achieved the same effect. Rather than getting so much into the details of TPS, I would like to have seen more on the technical side, management team, comparison with similar systems, and financial aspects such as the budget. You could have also explained it more in terms of technology in a programmer’s point of view rather than the user’s. I would like to say that your venture is viable, but without a thorough explanation I am not able to make a decision, which is rather a shame.

Please resubmit your proposal with all that information. Congratulations on your excellent submission.

Alexandra


6 Jagpal Uppal { 11.28.08 at 12:25 am }

Thank you everyone for your input thus far.

I realize that TPS is just an idea at this point, and would require more research, technical development, and a managment team to make it a reality.

At this point, I am hoping that the School district would see enough value in the idea to help develop it further. I was also frustrated for the lack of information my district was willing to provide me with their current licensing agreements and any future plans.

Please continue to comment and add your input. THANKS!
Jag


7 Drew Murphy { 11.29.08 at 12:23 am }

Hi Jag: Your presentation is very engaging. I liked the role plays at the beginning. Your idea has real merit and I think, too, that there is a market for productivity software designed specifically for teachers. You make an enthused and earnest pitch for your software solution and I think this comes across very well to viewers. I agree with some of the others that you, perhaps, don’t need to go into as much detail about how the software works and might focus on the broader issues around market characteristics and marketing strategy.

In terms of delivery, your stand up approach is engaging and your voice is clear and forthright. You might consider slowing down the pace at which some of the text slides are shown since, several of them needed more time to be read. In another iteration of your plan you will be able to work out these bugs. Since you enjoy video, you might consider using screen capture software that capture video off of your computer screen.


8 Marc Kampschuur { 11.29.08 at 1:37 am }

Jag:

First of, I really didnt like seeing the year you graduated from commerce, made me feel old 🙂

Agree that less administration is a good thing but am uncertain about the premise that it will improve the quality of teaching (does having more time make me a better teacher or give me more time to be a bad teacher ?). The link to parents I think is interesting and may merit elaboration.

I had to use the pause button on every text slide, would not use this pitch in a format where audience cant control/slow pace. Pausing the slides increases the length over the 14 minutes of video thus may need to cut out some content (some of the demo? If capture interest the demo will follow).

You come across very confident and comfortable, may be good to have you in the presentation sooner to draw people in.

The student testimony I found weak as both questions could be answered with “course outline” but the approach was interesting and could be used in a teachers office at 5pm trying to get admin done or not being able to access the needed applications, going through three different passwords… – some of the teacher admin issues you identified.

Am unclear on how much money you want, how much return you provide or when money is paid back or what investment is required from the school system and pay back it provides (if you do away with existing systems – how much licensing fees… saved, simplify support / training?)

Like by teachers for teachers, simple strong statement.

Marc


9 Marc Kampschuur { 11.29.08 at 1:39 am }

Would explore further. Marc


10 Laura Macleod { 11.29.08 at 11:44 am }

Jag –

You’ve got a winner here, and, after further discussions, I’d like to invest.

Here’s why:

You have clearly and carefully laid out the problem. It is a serious one and your assessment seemed to me to be well-grounded in reality. I also think that your focus on easing pain in teachers’ workflow is an excellent one. Finally, the integrated nature of the solution is very appealing to me, as I suspect it would be for the target audience. Of special note to me was the linking of the calendar and the website with homework, as this could be real win both for teachers and for students, with minimal time investment on the teacher’s part. I suspect the communications tab, where you can track the correspondence about a particular student, would also be very helpful.

You have carefully addressed what I would see as some of the critical stumbling blocks to the success of your proposal: union concerns and teacher inertia. I am concerned about relying simply on demography to drive technological change, as I think the ‘younger teachers good with tech/older teachers bad with tech’ distinction is too broad. Some refinement of the type of teacher you can identify and train as a local ‘power user’ to help spread the program via viral marketing would be an excellent further investment of time and resources.

The one concern I didn’t see addressed that would give me pause was privacy concerns. Would there be difficulty hosting student data within the program? Would it then need to be a mandatory, rather than a voluntary, project?

Your enthusiasm for the project was clear and compelling (I particularly liked it when you said ‘Now this part is brilliant’! … but hey, I agreed!) Your competitive analysis needed a more powerful summary, pointing out that the real competitive advantage you are offering is in the synthesis of all these tools in one place. That was implicit in the presentation but I would have made it explicit, because that’s your elevator pitch right there.

Finally, the sales and development model need some fleshing out. Ideally, I think this could be sold on a subscription basis. I suspect it would be better developed by jag.com rather than within the school district as well – you’d likely get it developed faster and be able to make it available commercially more quickly.

Fantastic job – I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation.

Thanks. Laura


11 Crystal Pullman { 11.30.08 at 12:21 am }

Hi Jag,

I think it’s a great idea to integrate everything like this. Many people have realized the value of combining things like email and calendars in software applications, but not many have thought about including Voicemail.

As well, the ability to access it from anywhere would also be a great selling feature. I used to use Outlook for my email, but the downside of course is that you only get Outlook itself on one computer (though I could still access my email online, I couldn’t access the calendar, or other features). I’ve since been using Google (with mail, calendar, etc.), and now find the way that Outlook does email rather annoying.

I think you’ve got a great idea!

Crystal


12 Deepika Sharma { 11.30.08 at 4:12 am }

Hi Jag,

I feel bad for doing just half the job – since I am unable to view videos from this commercial Internet center that I am working out of since connectivity at hos has been on the blink for past week now.

So I believe I have missed a slick video presentation!

From your flier (which by the way is an extermely professional job) and others accounts here I do get the idea of your pitch.

It is a great idea because for years now teachers have struggled with these chores that your integrated software promises to prvide them! I do not know of the market for this product in Canada, but you could make a killing with it in India 🙂 provided you build the software a few notches lower. School infrastructure here may not support voice / text integration is a case in point. So that is somethng to think about 🙂

My thoughts on it being marketed in Canada are:

1 Wouldn’t you have similar products in schools in Canada? If so then how does TPS differentiate itself (if the video covers it then forget it)?

2. I hope you covered the finanacial details that will go into marketing and supporting thsi software in schools – I see customisation coming up as an issue as well.

What I like about the product is – the parent -teacher communication as well as the ease of access from anywhere.

As an EVA from India, show me the next level of the simplified design anytime 🙂

Deepika


13 Alan Kilistoff { 11.30.08 at 11:56 am }

Hi Jag:

I do not have experience with grade school, so I am not sure of its usefulness. My imagination is on your side, however. I found it difficult to view your slides as the rate of change was too fast. With the music and the speed, my head was spinning by the end, and I am not sure I got the message. Second time OK, I adjusted, but you might not get a second try with the money people.


14 Kenneth Heales { 11.30.08 at 2:49 pm }

Hi Jag,
First off, your oral presentation skills are excellent. This will go a long way in convincing potential investors of the viability of your product. Also, you have a working model of how your product will operate which gives those investors something that they can see that is concrete as opposed to just an idea that is not as clear. In terms of your presentation (and I understand that presentation issues have plagued many of us) my only criticism was the viewability of your slides. That being said, you presented them in a very professional and engaging manner.
As to the actual product, this is something that I find very intriguing as a high school teacher. This type of product could streamline the workload of teachers and allow them to focus more on teaching and less on administrating paperwork. Your prototype appears to be very thorough. One question I would have is that there appears to be some overlap between what TPS will do and what BCeSIS is already doing. As BCeSIS is provincially mandated, will there be some way to dovetail the two programs so that there is not duplication of work being done by the teacher? There are several attractive features of your product that fall outside of the realm of BCeSIS such as voice mail and email that still give it merit.
Overall, this product is has a great deal of potential. The ability to streamline the amount of work done by teachers means that there is more time for productive teaching. If there is a way to make this program work in conjunction with BCeSIS, then this venture has the potential to be very successful. You have come up with a very interesting venture that I think deserves the funding to get it up and running.
All the best,
Ken


15 Jim Tattrie { 11.30.08 at 9:46 pm }

Great Looking Summary Jag! As a teacher that hates the ministrivia that the job demands, I was quite intrigued by all of the claims and features that it clearly promoted. I couldn’t help but look further.

Great hook starting with the upbeat message conveying “easy as abc/123” music. I thought the slides that accompanied the music flipped by a bit quickly though.

Your presentation (you) is very clear in explaining the product and how it aims to aid teachers in streamlining their many responsibilities, both to the benefit of the teacher and students. It was nice to include the stills of the slides that you were using as the screen projection did not show up very well (not news to you I’m sure).

In addition to the competitors that you point to, in BC’s public school system we are moving towards the use of a centralized “mandated” program for both the keeping and management of grades and the tracking of attendance, BCESIS. Would your TPS package somehow interweave with this program so that duplicated data would not need to be entered twice? Or, would your program be developed to replace the program that has been currently adopted? For instance, in our school we used to use Grade Quick, but this has now been cast aside as we are now expected to adopt the new ministry BCESIS program for both marks and attendance management.

As a Venture Analyst, I am interested in your TPS venture as I see that it addresses some real needs in its target market, however I would need to hear more on your plans to position your company for success in a marketplace where governing bodies are moving to mandate the use of programs that effectively have areas of overlap with your own.

At the present time I would not choose to approve your business for funding. Sorry.


16 Michael Peterson { 11.30.08 at 10:08 pm }

Jag.

Great presentation, with lots of post-production; well done.

Yours was #2 on my list to sponsor; an interesting and extremely viable solution. I rated each of the pitches I reviewed on four weighted measures:

Considered Solution: 20/25
Good Problem: 25/25
Informed Player: 25/30
Managed Problems: 15/20

Even though I’m not a teacher, it’s easy to see how your proposal would improve workflows for anyone working with 4+ systems. Your dual-benefits of efficiency (ease-of-use) and accountability were compelling. I’m getting my daughter’s math scores by e-mail and I can’t help thinking that teacher’s system is probably way easier to manage throughout the year.

Your proposed partnership with SD Surrey and interest in exporting outside of Surrey and Province were realistic and attractive roads for growth.

On the downside, I imagine that privacy issues, data security, and technical setup will all be longer-than expected battles. Also, there may already be solid district-wide solutions in use outside Surrey/Canada that would be cheaper than a new development. Assuming you have programmers that can build it, and have checked that this isn’t already available elsewhere, I’d be ready to talk about investing.

Great work on the presentation. Good luck with the idea. Let us know if you pull this off!

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