With funding from IES (2011-2014), KinderTEK was tested, revised, and tested again in real-life classroom situations. With new funding from OSEP (2014-2019), our team is adding enhancements and customization options that will maximize student learning and give parents and educators flexibility as they use this powerful tool. Although research and development continues on the comprehensive KinderTEK system, a portion of KinderTEK’s content will be available in the Apple App Store (May 2015). This first KinderTEK release will include selected activities aimed at particular early number skills. Expanded versions will be released with further development.
KinderTEK began as a system of iPad-based math instruction for kindergarten students in classroom settings. Instruction was individualized and followed a set sequence based on known learning paths. Teachers viewed, monitored, and managed student progress through a teacher app. Initial research efforts and feedback from educators who helped evaluate the initial KinderTEK program identified potential improvements. Those improvements lie at the heart of our current development efforts.
Currently, we are focused on enhancing KinderTEK so it will more easily serve a wide range of students in a variety of settings (especially those with math learning disabilities, difficulties with maintaining attention, and students encountering specific math concepts for the first time).
Our iterative design process ensures KinderTEK is research-based, practitioner-vetted, and evidence-based.
- Research-based: Our authoring team draws upon the research literature and their many years of teaching experience to conceptualize specific KinderTEK features to effectively serve students and educators.
- Practitioner-vetted: Our research and authoring teams work with practitioners and our technology partner to specify and refine KinderTEK features.
Ongoing research informs development and revision
- KinderTEK features are validated through focus groups and user testing with students and teachers, then tested more formally in classroom-based brief learning trials. Customization options, implementation resources, and instructional content that meet effectiveness and feasibility thresholds are maintained; those that do not are revised or eliminated.
- Simultaneously, we solicit informal feedback from actual users by releasing KinderTEK modules to the public through the Apple App Store. This modularized use outside of a study context is expected to help students learn (albeit at a smaller scale than the full KinderTEK system) and is an invaluable means of testing KinderTEK’s feasibility, scalability, and utility for educators and parents.
Implementation and outcome research
- Once the full, expanded KinderTEK program is available, educators participating in our pilot study (2017-2018) will implement KinderTEK with support from the research team. We will be most interested in how well the individualized instructional delivery options support student learning.
- Final revisions will be made to the program and supporting resources. We will then conduct an extended learning trial (2018-19) to test the implementation, effectiveness, and user-perceptions of the full suite of KinderTEK individualized instructional delivery options, delivery models, supports, and data services.
- Ongoing research informs development and revision
The research reported here was supported by grants to the University of Oregon from the U.S. Department of Education, specifically the Institute of Education Sciences (IES; Grant R324A110286) and from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP; Grant H327S140019). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of IES, OSEP, or the U.S. Department of Education.