This article is for Intel® App Innovation Contest 2013 under the Education (Tablet Platform) category.
Milestones By Educational Standards is an easy-to-use application to help parents track their children's academic performance based on the educational standards.
Educational standards define the knowledge and skills students should possess at critical points in their educational career (http://www.library.illinois.edu/sshel/education/educstandards.html). Educational standards are widely used all over the world. They are very useful references for schools to measure student academic performance. For example, a Common Core standard item for Kindergarten Mathematics is "CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 by ones and by tens." (http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/K/CC). This means that a kindergarten child should be able to count to 100 by ones and by tens when he or she graduates to grade 1.
I believe many parents in the world would like to know when their children will achieve a specific educational standard, and keep a track of these achievements. Even more, parents can teach their children in advance by themselves to achieve the standards if they think their children are smart enough. This application is a perfect tool for these parents. It has the following key features:
- Help parents to understand the educational standards used by their children's schools.
- Help parents to create test plans on when to test specific educational standard items for their children.
- Provide a question bank designed for the educational standards to help parents to test if their children meet the requirements.
- Create timelines for children with their milestone achievements with educational standards.
The following is a typical usage of the application for a parent and a child.
- Create a profile of the child, such as name, age, first day of kindergarten, etc.
- Choose the regional educational standards used in the child's school, e.g. Common Core State Standards in USA, Alberta Program of Studies in Canada, United Kingdom National Curriculum in UK, etc.
- Take an overview of all the educational standards the child will be achieved in the next year, with different subjects.
- Create a plan on when to test a specific standard item based on the recommended timeline for the child.
- Follow the plan to test the child's achievements. Tests can be done directly by interactions with the child, e.g. asking the child to count to 100 by ones, or by using some built-in questions designed for the specific educational standards items.
- Record the achievement in the the child's timeline, and attach memorial evidence with it, such as a video clip showing the child is counting to 100 by ones and tens, or a picture drawn by the child.
- Give the child some rewards for these big achievements.
There would be many new ideas around this basic idea. We can expect this application will evolve better and better with more and more exciting features. The following is a list of possible extensions:
- With some UI changes, this application is also suitable for school teachers who want to keep a track of their students' academic achievements.
- The educational standards are not limited to English speaking countries. We can incorporate educational standards in different countries.
- We can create a reward system to give some rewards, such a star, a badge, etc, when the children achieve a educational standard. This will make more fun for children to learn.
- Connect to social networks, such as Facebook, to show off the children's achievements.
- Parents who have more than one child can reuse previously created plans for the older kids and compare the achievement milestones.
- Package the whole timeline and make it a perfect gift for the grown-up children.
In the United States, each state has its own educational standards and also there exists national wide educational standards, Common Core State Standards. Educational standards content normally can be retrieved online from their web sites. For example, people can download PDF format files for Common Core State Standards from http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/download-the-standards. The standards data then can be converted into a database by writing a small converter program. To get a complete list of Educational standards for United States is a big task, and we will use some subsets for the demo purpose. The educational standards data will be stored in a SQL based database.
Test Question Bank
Besides traditional multiple choice, text answer question types, we can take advantage of the built-in features of tablets to create innovative question types by incorporating multi-touch, gestures, video, and audio capabilities.
This application is a windows 8 desktop application, an will be coded in Visual Studio 2012 using .Net Framework and C# language.