Reading Eggs and Mathseeds
As a teacher, collating large amounts of data and information about your students progression in class is a difficult thing to do as a teacher. Let alone, assigning the tasks yourself on paper.
This is my story of designing Reading Eggs and Mathseeds Teacher Interface; a web-app that empowers teachers to gain control of their students tasks and learning abilities. Also, viewing their progression and class stats in an easier way.
Educating children one of the biggest hurdles in teaching and most of that is driven by the students’ lack of attention. One of the many challenges teachers face is how each student is progressing in class from math, phonics, reading and other skills.
How do we show teachers that students and as a class, are doing well?
I was part of a small UX team of three. I was responsible for user research, visual design, copywriting and front-end development of end-to end Teacher Interface for both Mathseeds and Readings Eggs.
During the ideation and development I worked closely with the marketing team and developers.
The research site examined in Lowery’s 2017 study was Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science (FMSMS), a small, rural school in Winnsboro, South Carolina. FMSMS serves a primarily African American population of nearly 400 students in pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. The research study used quantitative data from weekly progress reports within Reading Eggs combined with pre and post-assessment scores from The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System 1, which offers a growth scale of reading ability, to determine effectiveness.
After the testing period, the author’s results revealed that the Reading Eggs program, when used as a supplement, was effective in improving reading proficiency scores. The percent of below-grade students in the Reading Eggs treatment group decreased by 19% over the course of the study, while the percent of children below grade in the control group remained the same.
Determining the success of Reading Eggs as a supplemental reading intervention was paramount to ensuring that all K–2 students were supported at their individual level to meet proficiency expectations by the 3rd grade. The progress reports detail lessons completed, lessons mastered, and individual learner strengths. In comparing reading growth across both classes, Lowery concluded, “It is evident that the teacher provided interventions are effective in improving reading proficiency levels as determined by [The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System 1]”. However, Lowery noted, “Since Class A’s students showed more growth than Class B, it is clear that targeted, needs-based reading interventions have a positive effect on reading proficiency levels”.
Understanding Students Need
I used a lot of my time researching and approaching how some teachers approach their classes and how they’d visualise the data of their classes as an overview. During the research it revealed that there was a gap in information and missing pieces. I nailed it down to teachers wanting to see how their class performs and how each pupil was performing whilst tracking their progress. One difficulty was how to calculate the total and break it down per class.
In addition, insights from our discovery indicated all districts in the states had to show large amounts of data on how each school is progressing. This can be frustrating for a national district manager to view data neatly and succinctly.
If we truly wanted to make a difference in a district and teacher point of view we needed to provide a strong solution that considered all levels of teaching.
The research highlighted that it was critical for our interface to be pragmatic and progressive in ways a teacher work, in order for their students to succeed.
We focused on critical areas where teachers to be implemented:
- Manage lessons
- Assigning assessment tasks
- Show usage reports of students overall progress
- Managing students and classes
- Easy access to teacher resources
To get under way, we conducted SEO procedures to see where our current users were heading in the webapp. We used Google analytics and heat mapping tools to interpret the outcomes. Alongside, user testing with teachers and district managers.
Prior to the design, I spent a lot of time creating a user-flow and grasp the current interface.
This involved mind-mapping, brainstorming sessions and conversations with other teams. There were challenges we faced with user testing and organising the content. There was touch-points within the education sector, we had to conceptualise all the different possibilities.
In order to understand the complex processes I sketched and mapped on paper first. This made it clearer to understand particular pain points of the user and minimise some of the difficult existing experiences with the current interface.
The designs would consist of Photoshop and Illustrator which then got translated into high-fidelity mockups. This was favourable in presenting our designs and process to stakeholders and other departments.
I worked with the front-end development team to bring our designs to life. It was crucial communicating face-to-face, any questions, constraints or other possibilities we might face this was the best way to solve it.
Together as a team, we worked progressively and ahead of schedule. Collaboratively we iterated and tested prior to production release.
The Final Product
Reading Eggs and Mathseeds provides teachers with an effective learn-to-read program that students love to use.
- Supports core literacy teaching based on the five essential pillars of reading
- Consistently rewards individual achievement to help students stay motivated
- Simple to implement and easy to navigate for teachers and students
I’m glad that I was apart of this redesign in a rapidly growing product which assists teachers and districts all over the world.