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20 Most Promising Education Tech Solution Providers

Creating Assessments for Differentiated Instruction

Waggle offers perfectly-timed practice and instruction to meet each student at their level and unlock the learning capabilities of every student

OCTOBER - 2014

The education sector is evolving with nature defining speeds towards new ways of teaching and learning. The metamorphosis is brought out by advent of technology in education. Smart mobile devices, social networking, virtual classrooms, identity management systems, faculty evaluation systems, data analytics and array of educational technologies have taken education to all new heights both within and outside the classrooms.

The major change is reflecting in the traditional book based learning that is being replaced with digital solutions. With this, teachers now have the ability to engage students in better ways like projecting the 3D image of DNA on to the screen and simulating the process of Meiosis and Mitosis. The same technology can be applied to any streams of learning. Assisting these learning methods are a multitude of smart devices, which were earlier considered as distractions for students. But the very devices are now leading way for immersive learning. Teachers are distributing learning contents to all the students’ devices and roam across the class instructing and helping individuals with doubts.

Technology is also helping the institutions to better cater to student’s idiosyncrasies, through data analytics. The historic academic data is analyzed with respect to student’s social background, their interests and the current trends in education to guide them towards the best courses and colleges available and also help design best teaching methods to suite their learning abilities.

With universities growing in size, establishing various branches and offering online education, it becomes necessary to securely manage student and staff data, ensure strict and smooth authentication processes and manage identities. All these needs are catered by identity, student and faculty management systems.

There are array of such technologies that are changing education landscape for good. Now the teachers have better instructional tools, administrators have better management tools and students have better learning tools. Behind the scenes are group of companies that are fueling this educational transformations through their innovative technological solutions.

In this edition of CIO Review, we bring to you “20 Most Promising Education Technology Solution Providers 2014” and “20 Most Promising Education Technology Service Providers 2014,” featuring the best solution and service providers offering technologies and services related to Education. The companies listed here showcases extensive business knowledge and innovative strategies combined with talent base across locations.

A distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs, CMOs, VCs, analysts and CIO Review editorial board has selected the top players from over thousand companies. The listing provide a look into how education solutions work in the real world, so that you can gain a comprehensive understanding of what technologies are available, which are right for you, and how they shape up against the competition.

Creating a Smart Practice Space for Productive Struggle

Amid clamors and claps that filled the auditorium of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference and Expo, held in Atlanta, GA, Triumph Learning, a New York, NY based company, launched Waggle, a personalized, online learning platform that generates a smart practice environment to help students build critical thinking skills and prepare for assessments. For Aoife Dempsey, the brain behind Waggle and CTO at Triumph Learning, showcasing Waggle at this premier forum for education technology, turned out to be one of the most cherished moments in her career.

Dempsey and her team of motivated techies started working on Waggle with the ambition of creating a smart practice space where in-the-moment instruction meets personalized pathways. While developing the product, they also faced the unique challenge of maintaining the rich heritage of Triumph Learning, a company that has championed the cause for effective learning with its array of print and digital education resources, standards-aligned instructional materials, and effective literacy programs for more than two decades. The company’s products like Common Core Coach help prepare students for success in college and career and are instrumental in supporting more than 6 million students in 36,000 schools annually. After receiving a grand welcome at ISTE, and garnering a literacy grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dempsey knew Waggle was another jewel in Triumph’s crown.

“Waggle incorporates Knewton’s adaptive learning engine which continuously assesses the needs of each student and provides the support they need, as well as provides the teachers with the tools to assign differentiated content to students,” said Dempsey. “Hence, with Waggle, the formative assessment starts in continuum with ongoing practice and instruction.”

When it comes to personalized pathways, Waggle is not a branching, linear type of adaptive system, like many others in the market. It considers more dimensions than simply right versus wrong. The Knewton engine considers many facets of student performance and behavior to understand strengths and weaknesses for each student. Based on these facets, Waggle recommends what item each student should see next, and creates intelligently tailored and individualized pathways, designed exactly for them. Waggle offers in-the-moment instruction to students just when they need it.

Together, in-the-moment instruction and personalized pathways lead to productive struggle, because students are allowed to explore a task that is slightly beyond their reach with the appropriate support. “Students who are experiencing true productive struggle can gain confidence by working in a safe, positive atmosphere that fosters motivation for success,” said Dempsey. “So Waggle focuses on building skills with practice and productive struggle, not on taking test after test.”

Waggle fits perfectly into schools’ digital program through seamless integration with Knewton, Smashing Ideas, Clever, and NWEA. “Waggle's integration with these cutting-edge software tools works in tandem with our Coach content to create a complete blended learning curriculum,” said Rick Noble, CEO of Triumph Learning. Through Waggle, educators can assign instructional content from Triumph Learning’s Coach resources to individual students, groups, or the whole class, directly from the teacher dashboard. “Though Waggle has just been introduced, going ahead, we will continue to listen to and work with customers to enhance and improve Waggle’s ability to accelerate learning,” Noble said.