The #1 Curriculum and Assessment Partner for Educators

Learn More About Our:

www.edmentum.com

Behind the Scenes: How Edmentum’s Study Island Development Team Uses Educator Feedback

Behind the Scenes: How Edmentum’s Study Island Development Team Uses Educator Feedback

At Edmentum, we have worked hard to embody our mantra of “Educator First.” This simple idea of listening to the educators who use our programs and responding to their needs has permeated every level of our company. From our executive leadership team to our newest employees, every decision and choice made is first and foremost viewed through the lens of the potential impact on educators and meeting their needs in the classroom. 

As a member of the Product Development team for Study Island, I’ve watched the evolution as my colleagues and I have adopted this educator-first approach in everything we do and seen the tangible improvements it has led to for  Study Island. It’s our goal to produce and continuously improve a product that is a key component of every teacher’s toolbox, and the best way for us to achieve this is to listen to what teachers have to say!

So, what do these conversations actually look like? There are many subgroups within our Study Island Product Development team, all of whom are tasked with identifying and solving for specific educator needs. When we’re working on creating a new feature or updating an existing one, in our heads all of these moving pieces align, and it works seamlessly for teachers and students in the classroom. Ultimately, the educators who use Study Island don’t live in the idealized situations my colleagues and I dream up, but in the unpredictable real world of the classroom.

Our User Experience group plays a pivotal role in helping us make the transition from good ideas in a team meeting to valuable features for the classroom. The group is responsible for making sure that Edmentum products not only are aesthetically pleasing but also are intuitive, easy to navigate, and capable of doing the things that teachers and students need them to do in order to support learning and simplify classroom processes. Direct conversations with educators are critical for this team to ensure that it truly understand the needs of Study Island users. The team is always seeking out feedback on classroom processes; student data analysis and interpretation struggles; formative assessment strategies; and of course, the effectiveness of Study Island’s features, reports, and user interface. This educator input gives our User Experience group the information it needs to create educator-approved mockups and prototypes of Study Island updates that the rest of our Product Development team brings to life.

One of the most difficult parts of this process is prioritizing our development projects. Whenever educators make a suggestion or provide feedback, we take those comments and share them with other educators to better understand the scope of the need. Then, we start to think about our own bandwidth within the Product Development team. We look at all of the educator requests we’ve received and consider which new features or updates would be quick fixes, which will require more in-depth development, which are mostly cosmetic, which entail fundamental pedagogical changes, and what the broader impacts on interoperability with other programs will be. We share our initial thoughts with even more educators; adjust as needed; and build our Study Island project “roadmap,” which serves as our teamwide to-do list and timeline.  

Sometimes, educators’ wishes are loud and clear. For instance, check out just a few of the comments we’ve recently received through Seehive, our in-product customer feedback portal. (If you’ve used it, THANK YOU! If you haven’t yet, try it!)

“I wish there was a feature in student settings that would not allow students the ability to skip the lesson when completing the assignment.”

“I think it would be really helpful if we were able to set it up to where a student cannot do a practice session without first viewing the lesson.”

“I would like to see the practice blocked until the student completes the lesson.”

“Please create an option to make completing the lesson mandatory before receiving the practice questions.”

We hear you! Beginning this summer, teachers using Study Island will have the option to include lessons as part of a Practice Assignment and then require that students view the lesson prior to working on the practice questions. As we’ve started down our educator-first journey, we’ve realized that teachers want (and need) to have choice and control over how their students interact with Study Island and all our Edmentum products. Educator feedback made this desire apparent, and we’re excited to be rolling out this update to meet it!

Adding the ability to include lessons within Practice Assignments was an easy educator-first decision for our Study Island Product Development team. Not all needs come across quite this clearly, but the group is feeling confident that the other Study Island updates we have planned will be equally meaningful. Here’s a sneak peak at some of what our Study Island users can expect to see this summer—just keep in mind that these features are sneak peaks for a reason, and the release dates may change.

June

  • Admin Dashboard for district administrators
  • Sensei display enhancements
    • Ability to select scores shown
    • Improved viewability with updated colors

July

  • New content search functionality
  • New “Assign” page
    • Ability to assign lessons, flash cards, and practice questions
    • Ability to select the sequence in which activities are completed

The best way for us to continue to improve Study Island and our other programs and provide you with the features and capabilities you need is for you to let us know what we can improve. We know that you’re the experts at teaching, and we want to give you tools that make a difference. So, when we are asking for your feedback, we are serious—we can’t move forward without your input.

Have something to say? Get in touch today, and be sure to keep an eye out for future workshop opportunities with various Edmentum program teams!

Subscribe via Posts

Get bright ideas from tech savvy educators delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe today.

Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox