Case Study

Proximal Path

Pilot Program for Student Oral Assessment

 

TIMELINE: June 2015 to July 2017

PROJECT TEAM: Four

DESIGN TEAM: Me

PARTNERS: Sanger School District

My husband, an Educational Researcher at Stanford University, has been focused on improving instruction for the English Language Learner (ELL) student population for almost 30 years. Throughout his work and collaboration with countless teachers and administrators he saw the lack of a tool to help teachers record and analyze students' academic uses of language. The idea of collecting voice data over time and visualize the learnings for district administrators to gain insights in their  ELL student population seemed a worthwhile effort, so we co-founded the company Proximal Path in 2015.

We conceptualized and designed a prototype for a recording app which would would allow teachers to use their own smartphones to record students in the classroom as well as score the input.

Testing this first prototype with teachers in the classroom we quickly learned that inputting all the student data up front took too long. We flipped the mental model, allowing teachers to just start recording, even multiple sessions in rapid progression. At a convenient later time, they could choose the best recordings and input student data then.

Being self-funded and working closely with two developers in Croatia, we had to stay razor focused on the most valuable learnings and implementations. We designed an accompanying web portal handling all administrative needs including district wide data analysis and user management.

Outcomes

Proximal Path distilled a tremendous amount of valuable insights from the pilot program and is currently searching for the right partner to take over the pilot to evolve it to the next stage. We're proud to have started a suite of tools that can quickly demonstrate the potential for the ELL community:

  • A web based mobile app that was piloted in three school districts yielding great insights.

  • A web portal for district leaders and administrators to accompany the recording app.

  • The marketing website for potential partners, also serving as a login into the web portal.

  • A comprehensive pitch deck for potential partners and investors.

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