Created by an Award-Wining Teacher in CA. Made in USA
The story of Capture Thought begins with a desire to give my students a more authentic way to demonstrate their knowledge. Frustrated by grading papers every weekend and not being able to see my students explain their thinking, I knew there had to be a better way for them to communicate their understanding beyond just showing work on a sheet of paper. Capture Thought allows for this to happen because it uses any smartphone to record student thinking and the included whiteboard makes video creation fun and easy. It's lightweight, folds flat, and quickly fits inside any standard 3-ring binder. Now students always have a way to turn in short videos of their understanding and share those videos with others creating a community of learning. Capture Thought has improved how I teach, and it can for you too.
I earned my Masters Degree in Mathematics from California State University Long Beach in May of 2016 and by 2017 was hired on as an adjunct professor to teach a course that prepares future math teachers how to incorporate technology in the classroom. One aspect of that course is demonstrating how to create your own educational videos. Knowing that many of my students didn't have access to expensive tablets or document cameras, I invented a simple DIY stand made from PVC pipe that could utilize the camera in their smartphone to create these videos. (This drawing is my original sketch). It turns out that my students wanted to take them home.
After listening to my students at CSULB, I realized that anyone with a smartphone could use one of these, not just teachers. Furthermore, teachers could gain a much better understanding of their student's knowledge by watching and listening to them explain their thinking. In December of 2018 I began designing a stand for students that could easily be carried around and used to create quick, educational videos that showcases their understanding. Realizing that students carry a 3-ring binder, I designed Capture Thought to be housed in the back when not in use. This drawing is my first iteration of a smartphone stand that could fold flat and live in the back of a 3-ring binder.
At the start of the new year, I built a working prototype in my garage out of particle board, glue, magnets and tape. I gave it to two trusted precalculus students to take home, knowing they would give me honest feedback. I told them instead of doing the homework that was assigned to everyone else, I asked them to each pick one problem and create a video of them solving and explaining their solution. I also asked them to upload that video to YouTube and share their videos with each other.
Not only did they ENJOY their homework, they were able to SEE each others method of explaining and LEARNED from one another. Thus, Capture Thought as a new way of teaching and learning was born.
I had a design company develop a fully 3D Printed Prototype that I could then use to produce my own class set. Knowing nothing about 3D printing, I purchased a 3D-Printer and began printing units in my garage to give to each student in my precalculus course. It only took 42 days to make 17 full-functioning units.
Once every student had a Capture Thought in their binder, I began figuring out ways to better utilize it in the classroom. I assigned weekly videos and over time the videos that students were turning in got better and better. We added a section to our Canvas page titled "Capture Thought Hall of Fame" and we celebrated one student every week who had the best video. Students loved making their own videos and I learned so much more about their understanding. Capture Thought gave me a front row seat to their thinking and I could give targeted, personalized feedback.
After listening to the feedback from my students, I came up with the final design and the money to mass produce Capture Thought. Units would go on sale on my site June 2020, just 3 months after Covid-19 hit. Capture Thought was never intended to be a pandemic product, but it can certainly help during these difficult times.
Wishing every teacher and student out there all the best.