GradeCraft, origin stories podcast series

Welcome to Origin Stories. A Podcast Series for Academic Innovation Digital Edtech Tools

Amy Homkes-Hayes, Lead Innovation Advocate

When we started developing digital edtech in the Office of Academic Innovation in 2015, we could only just imagine the tremendous growth we would experience in two and a half years. As the use of our digital tools becomes more profuse throughout (and sometimes even beyond) the University of Michigan’s campuses, the stories we tell about our tools evolve as well. As we take stock of how much we’ve grown, and our motivations for building and scaling “homegrown” digital edtech at U-M, we think the time is ripe to look back at the beginning of our tools by interviewing the faculty, students, and staff who imagined them.

We are excited to announce the launch of our Origin Stories podcast series, which will feature each of Academic Innovation’s digital edtech tools, and examine them in more depth. This series will uncover early motivations for building software for teaching and learning at U-M. We will explore what motivated our faculty to take their burgeoning tools and seek out partnership with Academic Innovation to grow their software, and we will entertain what the future of our tools may look like with the folks who pioneered them.

GradeCraft, origin stories podcast series

Up first, GradeCraft with co-founders Dr. Barry Fishman, Professor of Information and Education and Director of the of Bachelor of Science in Information Program and Caitlin Holman, Lead GradeCraft Developer and PhD candidate in the School of Information. Listen to Barry and Cait talk about how they responded to student feedback in a course on video games by building what is now a learning management system centered on game theory–or the elements that make up great games. Hear from Barry and Cait as they discuss the history of Gradecraft and how far it has come from its first use in Barry’s class to what is now a commercial tool being employed in K-12 and higher education settings.



We are excited to showcase the interesting stories of how our tools came to be. Join us as we learn about the opportunities and implications of building edtech software in a university with a focus on personalization, and in an era when we are committed to scaling smart technology in parallel with effective pedagogy.