Founder and CEO of BASE Education Robin Glen: Helping Students Communicate with Teachers

People
By: 
Kenna McHugh, Learning Counsel Writer

Founder and CEO of BASE Education Robin Glen keeps herself busy running her company and prioritizing her actions to meet her company’s goals. Such goals as helping students by “broadening the brush stroke” of ways in which schools, teachers, parents, and guardians connect with and educate them.  Her primary focus is on reaching all students who are vulnerable, and help all kids learn how to be a well-rounded person - especially in the face of social, academic, and career pressures.

Base Education is an online platform addressing the teens’ needs using technology to engage students while maintaining supervision that opens communication between teens, teachers, parents, and guardians. “Schools leverage our platform in a variety of ways. Teachers can assign a monitor module for students based on the relationship they already have, and they can individualize the programming as well,” explains Glen. “Teachers and administrators can also have greater insight into their experiences by connecting with students on a more meaningful level.”

The students take modules that directly relate to their experiences in life. They answer questions and assessments, so they are accountable and responsible for their actions.  Students are heard and better understood because parents and guardians learn from their content. The students and parents are making and receiving points for successfully connecting with each other. 

Glen points out that each student is aware of the fact that their content is read by a teacher and they are not forced to do this. “They just want to be heard. They know everything they write, and everything they delete is being read by school officials. They have to give their consent before they are allowed to take any modules at all. And even when asked if they were telling the truth or asked about telling the truth, 98% of kids in one of our studies said they told the truth even though it was hard.”

Because the concept is new and may shift standard approaches, Glen stresses that schools need to think outside the box, instead of using printouts and packets, and consider how and where implementation of the modules is appropriate.  Lack of technology resources can pose as a barrier, but in such cases, many teachers have worked around that issue by walking through the modules as a class and taking up any confusions or concerns with the students.

BASE's purpose in education is to assist staff to be equipped with current trends, consistent content, and providing them with another approach to ensure we are reaching them.  BASE allows students to feel safe behind a screen with a journalistic style of writing. They write with no interruptions, no perceived judgment, no limits on what they communicate.  “BASE is about them.  It is about the students' process at their pace in their way.  Students report that they feel cared for, they feel in charge of their growth, and that they then also feel empowered as a result of using the program,” adds Glen.

A student goes through a module answering a lot of non-academic questions, pre-assessment, and post-assessment questions. “Kids will answer very frankly and very honestly, which we've learned is a result of them just wanting to be heard,” adds Glen.

The administrator or teacher reads what the student writes in the module. Each module includes a notification system looking for “firewords" that trigger emails or texts alerting the teacher or administrator. The notification sends an alert the moment the student writes the content that needs checking. About 33% of the firewords are not benign with topics like “bullying” and “violent themes.”

Feedback from schools is they were able to thwart some non-optimum situations as a result of the students using BASE while the school staff employed trustworthiness and distinction. “The school teams became aware of the situation and handled themselves beautifully, thus serving a need where there was previously no known concern,” explained Glen.

One module is “Refocus” for students who are having a hard time focusing in class or feel agitated. “And that course starts out with ‘let's go back to the basics.’ ‘Did you sleep last night?’ ‘What did you have for breakfast?’ The module assesses and talks about the importance of self-care, explains Glen and adds, “We’re coming out with a module on hygiene and self-care for females and hygiene and self-care for males.”

Glen understands the importance of EdTech and how it helps facilitate education as a whole. “We all need to know and understand the future directions of learning. By feathering that into the school day, kids will come out of their education feeling more prepared.  In addition, not all students have the same learning styles.  It is imperative to be able to meet them where they are.  No one approach is the silver bullet. We all need to collaborate to reach them and make sense. The BASE is NOT a replacement for human contact, rather it is the opposite. BASE helps to tee-up a meaningful conversation between educator and student.”