Development of the Calvert Teaching Navigator
Calvert Education, recognized as the premier provider of homeschool curriculum and support services for over a century, was looking for a way to meet the needs of their evolving customer base. What began with the original headmaster of the Calvert Day School, Virgil Hillyer, creating correspondence courses and distance education opportunities for Kindergarten, has expanded to a K-10 curriculum up, with plans to add 11th and 12th grade in the near future.
Their consumer profile is broad and diverse. Calvert works with single families, missionaries, military, the U.S. government, and school districts who still include home-schooled students in their full time enrollment.
The use of technology in education demanded a different type of delivery of home school curriculum. Calvert created a print product made of up lesson manuals and books, which typically equated to approximately 40 lbs. of reading materials and supplements. While Calvert had already digitized much of their print product into PDF, they needed to go even further by creating something more portable and interactive.
One of the distinctions of serving an assorted clientele is the variety of learning styles and paces. Customers struggled with the lesson manual sequence, which was written with the assumption that the parents and students were interested in working in the same sequence and timeline. One of the benefits of home-schooling is flexibility, and Calvert needed their software application to reflect that.
They needed a new application that provided:
- Flexibility in the order the curriculum was organized and taught.
- A digital representation that was more than static print material, but became a tool that represented the work flow of the student and parent.
- A finer granule of an educational or learning object.
- Ease of use (intuitive)
- Understanding of sequence.
- Automated system.
- Allows independence for the student and visibility to the parent.
- Support for mobile devices mainly tablets.
Most importantly, the system needed to be robust and reliable.
The project needed to be completed from the ground up and on a tight schedule.
Calvert needed a talented development team with expertise in latest tech trends and who has had specific experience working in education technology.
Motifworks was brought in to help implement the new SaaS-based application that supports business goals and internal roles while meeting the strict timeline for the initial launch.
The engineering team at Calvert was experienced, but didn’t have the bandwidth for the increased demand this project would take. The workforce needed to be grown quickly, and then tuned back down after the initial development.
“What Motifworks brought that was unique was the existing knowledge in the educational space. They had subject matter expertise that is valuable and rare.”
As we approached development, Calvert was apprehensive about doing agile development with distributed teams. Motifworks demonstrated a real sensitivity to the challenges of managing a distributed development team, specifically with time zone differences, culture, and language. We were able to speak openly and honestly about the strengths and weaknesses. They had the answers and solutions to those challenges.
Motifworks team was creative, pro-active, responsive and most important they take pride in their service, product and the success of our product. We interacted with management on a daily basis, which was very helpful. The engineers spoke the language of our marketplace, and were able to get up to speed quickly.
The Results: Calvert Teaching Navigator
The final results of the collaboration was an app that was rolled out to thousands of users, which made teaching easier and more engaging for parents and students.
Students and Parents could now access all their tools and curriculum in one place:
- View their daily schedule
- Track progress
- Connection to technical and teaching support
- Portability on any device
Calvert team met all the internal timelines and launched the app on time at the start of 2015 school year.