Rena Upitis is the co-founder of Cadenza® Practice App and a participant in the WE-CAN Project at Queen’s University. Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation leads the WE-CAN Project, which receives support from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund through FedDev Ontario. The mission for WE-CAN is to inspire and empower existing and aspiring women-identifying entrepreneurs, through the provision of tools, resources, expert mentors, networks and building of community, to expand existing businesses and to launch new ventures.

"Cadenza logo"For the second year in a row, Cadenza® Practice App has been named by EdTech Digest as a Finalist in the Trendsetter category for innovative contributions to the education sector. Established in 2010 to recognize, acknowledge, and celebrate the most exceptional innovators, leaders, and trendsetters in education technology, The EdTech Awards from EdTech Digest recently released its Finalist and Winners list. It is the largest and most competitive recognition program in all of education technology.

This year’s finalists and winners were narrowed from the larger field and judged based on various criteria, including instruction, efficacy and results, support, clarity, value to the industry and potential. With the pandemic affecting nearly every industry, many educators and innovators have had to pivot while others had the opportunity to shine.

EdTech Trendsetter Finalist LogoCadenza® Practice App, for music teachers and students, has a robust and growing user base in Canada, the US, and the UK.

“Since the official launch in December of 2019, the app has seen significant growth, with the most key driver being the need for teachers to switch to online learning for lockdown situations,” says Jodie Compeau, Project Manager with Cadenza®, who is also a piano teacher acting in an advisory role for development of the app from the teacher perspective.

Cadenza® appealed to teachers who were looking for a seamless way to convert their studios from traditional face-to-face lessons to online lessons and to enhance communication with their students as they pivot back and forth. In the process, many teachers discovered the beauty of the pedagogical foundation of the app: student self-regulation. Many teachers thought they were just registering for a digital notebook but the results in their students' progress have revealed that the research behind the design of the app was sound.

"My student has made more progress in a week using Cadenza® than she did before Christmas! It is astonishing and really rewarding,” says one teacher who reached out to Cadenza® about their experience.

“We hear this same sentiment from teachers in our community chats, Facebook page, and in webinars,” says Rena Upitis, co-founder of Cadenza® and Professor in the Faculty of Education. The mobilization of this knowledge was acquired through a decade of research. “It has been a really rewarding experience for our whole team.”

The Cadenza® team has worked with Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation to develop and implement its commercialization strategy, receiving expert mentorship and referrals via services offered as part of the WE-CAN Project. Cadenza® hopes to grow significantly in the next two years to begin to fulfill the original research project's mandate of giving back to the music community in supporting teachers and students on their musical journey.


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