The goal is not news to his teachers, parents, and the superintendents in his school district. Soon after Kenneth revealed his dream to pursue dentistry during two separate classroom surveys in the fourth and sixth grades, his parents and academic overseers laid out a path that is intended to guide the teenager toward his eventual foray into the medical field.
So, what exactly does the plan entail, and how is it formulated?
The plan is a byproduct of the personalized learning program that Kenneth’s well-wishers have created using Peridot Systems’ intuitive and easy-to-use platform titled LearnersEDGE 360°. As part of the program, Kenneth strives toward achieving certain milestones that are determined and tracked by everyone invested in his future, including himself. If Kenneth goes astray on his path, the concerned parties can intervene and take requisite action to bring him back on track.
Such a personalized program could not have been created through regular student information systems (SIS) that take into account only data such as grades, attendance, and SAT scores. The LearnersEDGE 360° is an all-inclusive software—the first-of-its-kind—that accumulates data from a host of systems and entry points to generate an accurate snapshot of the student. Designed to generate tailored curriculums for each student (or student groups), the platform can gather data from sources such as traditional SIS systems, state assessment reports, and additional information provided by parents, teachers, or the students themselves.
By combining the data in one place, the software creates modules displayed via dashboards that allows stakeholders to drill down into each aspect and slice and dice the student and school information as they please.
For example, a user can compare the performance of male students versus female students, the progress made by students enrolled in special needs programs, or even the performance of students across demographics—from a socioeconomic standpoint. By examining these variables in a single snapshot, schools can determine the strengths and weaknesses of each student and accordingly develop customized curriculums.
While most EdTech solution providers “prescribe” a solution to school districts, Peridot Systems goes the opposite route and focuses on the unique problems faced by each client. “While some school districts want to focus on higher-achieving students, others are focused on at-risk students. “We work with clients to customize a solution and thus determine the modules/widgets on their dashboard,” explains Lokesh Gyanwali, the CTO of Peridot Systems.
Personalized learning has emerged as an industry buzzword, but we are the first ones to offer a suitable technology
Although the everyday benefits of the LearnersEDGE 360° platform are palpable, Matthew Valleskey, the company’s director of marketing, breaks down three big-picture focal points that are intended to positively impact schools, school districts, teachers, and, of course, students:
• School Improvement
• Personalized Learning
• Student Enrichment and Assessment
By honing in on these focal points, Peridot Systems prepares questionnaires and online surveys and leverages the answers to develop customized solutions. During the process, the EdTech firm invites teachers, school principals, and other representatives of the school district board, and engages in constructive discussions. This course of action also leads to schools unearthing complex, ingrained problems that they were previously unaware of.
Before product deployment Peridot Systems seeks basic SIS and teacher-related information from the school district, and this data is enough to create a dashboard of widgets that can be immediately accessed by various stakeholders. The magic, however, lies in the next step when users can feed state assessment and national assessment reports (such as MAP Growth) to create an assessments widget. They can also create customized reports.
Thereafter, each stakeholder can customize the easy-to-use dashboard to just the widgets that concern them. While the teacher can access all the students in their class, the principal can view both teacher and student rosters and pertinent information. Meanwhile, the district administrators can examine the information from all the schools in their district.
This way, the various stakeholders can focus on their objectives. School districts can zero-in on their school improvement planning progress, and track the same against pre-defined goals. Meanwhile, teachers can set up “intervention plans,” and students can set their own academic goals and work with their teachers to constantly track their progress.
The most striking feature of the LearnersEDGE 360° platform?
Students and parents get exclusive access to the platform, the ability to create modules, and key in data. “We spend time with students and parents to discover problems ailing them. This enables the input of critical data that further helps in creating customized learning programs,” adds Valleskey.
Discovering Newer Benefits along the Way
Many a time, a client has approached Peridot Systems to avail the platform to solve a specific pain-point only to customize the deployed solution at a later date.
As an example, a Minnesota-based school district engaged Peridot Systems to automate a paper-based survey used for teacher evaluation. After Peridot Systems created a survey module to automate the tedious process, the client sought the need to integrate assessment reports (into the platform) and bring students closer to personalized learning programs.
Similarly, a school district required help with a regulatory mandate. According to the mandate, if a student skipped five consecutive school days, the school district was required to notify the county, therefore alerting social workers to a possible issue. A year later, a new mandate stated that if a student missed two consecutive school days, the school district was to alert the parents through an official letter. If the student skipped another two days, the school district had to elevate the matter to the county level.
Clearly, the school district struggled to query the database on a daily basis—to check the list of absentees and determine which students had been excused or unreachable. “We came in and fixed all their problems with one service deployment. Today, automatic emails are sent out to the parents or the county—depending on the severity of the absence—and the school district does not need a specialized individual to go through databases,” says Gyanwali.
In both use cases, the clients added modules atop basic functions, as and when needs arose. As Valleskey notes, the platform’s flexibility and capability to integrate datasets is a noteworthy differentiator, and a feature not offered by any SIS product in the marketplace.
Driving ahead, Peridot Systems is focused on increasing marketplace awareness of its solutions. In the era of big data, Peridot Systems reckons the K-12 education industry is a step behind in the technology curve mostly because “there are more hoops educators have to jump through because they are dealing with children.” This is why Peridot Systems will continue to build solutions with a user-friendly UI, to simplify life for users lacking technological expertise.
Peridot Systems expects school districts to use the platform to perform predictive analytics and spot trends ahead of time. “Rather than being reactive, they can become proactive and develop personalized student programs. Personalized learning has emerged as an industry buzzword, but we are one of the first to offer a suitable technology,” concludes Valleskey.