Priority 1: Project Narrative – Technical Content 1. Significance a ...

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Nov 7, 2013 (4 years and 5 days ago)

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1


Priority 1: Project Narrative


Technical Content

1.
Significance

a. Problem


Experts estimate that one in ten children

suffers from dyslexia and that one child in five
in the U
.S

has reading disabilities severe enough to require personal tutoring by a reading expert.
This difficulty typically results from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is
often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities (Lyon et

al, 2003). Categorized as a
specific learning disability by the federal government [Public Law 94
-
142 as amended by Public
Law 101
-
76; Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)], children with dyslexia are entitled under
the IDEA 2004, the Americans with D
isability Act, and the No Child Left Behind Act to
supplemental learning services, such as tutors, Individualized Education Programs, and assistive
technology; and accommodations such as extra time for tests or homework and help with taking
notes in order
to succeed in general education classes.

The prevalence of dyslexia in school children cannot be overstated.


S
tudies indicate that
15
-
20% of the population has a reading disability.


Within that population, it is estimated that
almost 85% have dyslexia.


(International Dyslexia Association, 2000) Dyslexia is often referred
to as a “hidden” disability because it i
s thought to lack visible signs.


Research now shows that
dyslexia is neurobiological in origin and people with dyslexia process information in a different
part of the brain than individuals without
dyslexiait
. There are
also
chemical differences in brain

functioning between dyslexic and non
-
dyslexic children. (Richards, Dager, Corina, Serafini,
Heide, Steury, Strauss, Hayes, Abbott, Craft, Shaw, Posse, and Berninger, 1999).



What continues to remain “hidden” about dyslexia is early identification an
d continuing
assessment of progress.


While some children who cannot learn to read are identified in the first
or second grade, a majority of dyslexics are not recognized until the third grade, and by then
reading disabilities are much more difficult to ad
dress.

(Shaywitz, 2005:30) If a child falls
behind in reading early, the pattern of reading failure can cause children to lose interest in
reading and develop self
-
esteem and self
-
worth problems.


The Waterford Research Institute
(Waterford or the Instit
ute) believes e
arly use of cost
-
effective and scientifically based software
can help alleviate the financial and human resource strain on school districts
and families
while
simultaneously helping greater numbers of special education students meet academic

performance goals.

At this time, many school
-
age children with dyslexia
and other reading difficulties
receive help from a teacher, tutor, literacy facilitator
,

or therapist, either in small groups or
individually while at school, using either sight or a
uditory sensations. Lessons are often geared to
students with an auditory learning style.


The teacher relies mostly on speaking to convey
information:


s/he lectures, explains, and answers questions.


Because many dyslexics are visual
learners, this type
of teaching style is often not the most appropriate form of instruction for this
population.


If the child is dyslexic but is an auditory learner, s/he may rely on listening skills to
learn and keep up the learning pace. Children may also rely on their ext
ensive memorization
skills to remember words by sight instead of learning the skills they need to decode words
according to phonological patterns. The dyslexia may go unnoticed until later grades when the
child is expected to get more from independent read
ing.



Despite the need, t
he cost of remediation can be prohibitive.


The costs of major
commercial programs and the highly trained literacy facilitators who administer them
(Lindamood
-
Bell, traditional Orton
-
Gillingham approaches) can easily inflate to ov
er $5,000 per
student, far beyond most schools’ and parents’ means (Thornton, 2004).


The human resource
2


and financial strain on state
s and
school districts to provide quality, research
-
based special
education services to students
often
has a

negative i
mpa
ct on a
cademic achievement
performance
.


Overall, most special education classes fail to close the gap in reading skills for
the children they serve (Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin, 1998).


Only nine states met standards for
educating children with disabilitie
s, according to the first
-
ever "IDEA State Report Cards" issued
by the U.S. Department of Education in late June 2007. The remaining 41 states and eight
territories were found to need "assistance" or "intervention."

W
ith approximately five percent of th
e school population receiving special education
services for a reading disability (Shaywitz, 2005:29), schools are
also
challenged to hire and
retain highly qualified teachers. A recent study indicates that teacher turnover is a significant
problem affect
ing school performance and student achievement (Grissmer and Kirby, 1997;
Ingersoll, 2001). Drawing on the Schools and Staffing Survey from the National Center on
Education Statistics, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future reported in
2
003 that approximately one third of America’s new teachers leave teaching sometime during
their first three years of teaching; almost half leave during their first five years. Low performing,
high minority, and high poverty schools expend scarce resources

on teacher turnover. Because
teacher attrition rates in these at
-
risk schools are chronically high, turnover costs become a drain
on already scarce resources that could otherwise be invested to improve teaching effectiveness
and student growth. Instruct
ors with the specialized training and experience to work with special
populations, such as the literacy facilitators who work with dyslexic children, are even rarer in
the teaching market and can be even harder for schools to recruit and retain. Many scho
ols thus
find themselves without the resources to help the students most in need of reading remediation.

Finally
, proven methods of remediation are
currently
underutilized. Children with
dyslexia spend a portion of their day in a resource room with a spec
ial education teacher
, but,
despite their dedication to assisting these children, r
esource room services are often inadequate
because dyslexic children need many hours of phonetically based remedial work.
Similarly,
g
eneral education classroom teachers ca
nnot offer the student the intensive one
-
on
-
one tutoring
the child needs to master reading, and
, simply stated,

many teachers are not trained to teach
reading remediation.


b. The product, its implementation, and the intended outcomes

Waterford proposes t
o develop a state
-
of
-
the
-
art sequencing system to be used with
Camp
Consonan
t™
, a multi
-
sensory, animated, web
-
based
, cost
-
effective

software curriculum
designed to help children
with reading disabilities in grades K
-
4
improve their reading abilities.
A video overview of
the current, unsequenced,
Camp Consonant and a sampling of activities are
available at
http://www.waterford.org/products/camp
-
consonant#
.

The sequencing technology, a uniq
ue feature not found in other literacy programs for
children with disabilities, will harness the power and precision of algorithmic equations to supply
children with a personalized
, performance
-
driven

pathway toward mastering phonological and
phonemic awar
eness concepts.
Waterford has invested its own funds to create
the current
Camp
Consonant
,
which is d
esigned to
be used by teacher
s, tutors, and literacy coaches

to
help students
struggling with basic reading skills.
More than 1,100 children have successf
ully used the current
version,
but
feedback from
educators and parents
has reinforced
our belief that to be most
effective in reaching students with reading difficulties,
the program needs
to be guided

through a
sequence of activities (sequencer)

because it will
make
Camp Consonant
much more usable in
3


even more settings
, especially where tutors and literacy coaches are not available because of
geographic
isolation or lack of resources
.

As
a
preface to
the sequencer request, it is important to review the current
, unsequenced,

product.

Camp Consonant

is based on nationally recognized guidelines for reading instruction
and scientific research. In 2000, the National Reading Panel issued a report entitled Teaching
Children to Read: An evidence
-
based Assessment of the Scientific Literature on Reading and

Its
Implications for Reading Instruction, based on the No Child Left Behind Act. The panel
reviewed over 10,000 studies to determine what makes high quality, effective reading
instruction, particularly in the critical years from kindergarten through thir
d grade. The findings
of the report have become guidelines for educators, curriculum developer, and school
administrators interested in providing the most effective and robust literacy instruction for young
learners.
Camp Consonant

includes the elements
that research has shown to be necessary
components of an effective reading program for multisensory learners:

f
ocus on phonemic
awareness and the basic elements of language
; u
se of a multisensory approach to help improve
visual and auditory memory
; and d
i
rect, systematic, explicit, and repetitive instruction
.

Camp Consonant

is a tier
-
2/tier
-
3 response
-
to
-
intervention (RtI) tool offering remedial
instruction and activities for building skills in phonemic awareness, phonological awareness,
word building, dec
oding, fluency, comprehension, letter formation, and spelling.
Camp
Consonant

curriculum provides explicit instruction through a multi
-
sensory approach
, and it
is
designed for use by students under the direction of a tutor or teacher familiar with interven
tion
methodologies such as the Orton
-
Gillingham Method, the Wilson Reading System®, and the
Slingerland® Multisensory Approach.
Camp Consonant
™ allows teachers and tutors to
construct appropriate learning sequences in the program that instruct, review, re
mediate, and
assess the student.

Tutors have full discretion as to how long and how often students are
required to use
Camp Consonant
™, and the program tracks students’ usage data for the tutor. As
the student completes activities, tutors view online repo
rts showing daily usage, time spent on
each activity, and both the sequential order and scores of correct/incorrect answers to
assessments.

Using this detailed report information, tutors determine where
further remediation
is required

and select from amon
g
four levels of curriculum and
over 2,700 individual lessons the
exact instruction and activities that will best further an individual student’s reading abilities.


Students experience learning by incorporating multi
-
sensory vision, sound, touch, speaking,
writing and singing activities in
Camp Consonant
™. For example, there are songs about the
entire alphabet, other songs just about consonants and vowels, and still o
ther songs teaching a
particular topic like digraphs or breaking a word into syllables.

One area in which
Camp Consonant
™ sets itself apart from other computer
-
based
remediation tools is the degree to which it incorporates kinesthetic techniques. Learner
s engage
fine motor skills when finger
-
writing letters on the table in front of them and gross motor skills
when “sky writing” these letters in the air in front of them. Tapping phonemes and syllables
within words links tactile stimulation with a concept,
and even movement is employed as a
source of input as students are asked to lightly press their hands below their jaws to feel their
chins drop when pronouncing each syllable in a word. Even moving the mouse employs
kinesthetic stimulation to present lett
ers (at beginning levels), syllables (at intermediate levels),
and words and sentences (at the advanced level) by asking students to drag and drop these
different elements to build words. For example, students could use the mouse to bring the
syllables “cr
e” and “ate” together to form the word “create”. The combination of kinesthetic off
-
keyboard activities, mouse movements, animated screen visuals, catchy songs, and direct explicit
4


instruction in phonemic awareness found in
Camp Consonant
™ are based on pr
oven research
with multi
-
sensory learners who may have reading disabilities or simply require a less traditional
approach to reading instruction.

Another
distinctive feature of
Camp Consonant
™ is the emphasis it places on motivating
students to persevere i
n completing activities. Those struggling with reading problems often need
repeated exposure to concepts, and this repetition can become tedious, especially for younger
children, no matter how attractive the multi
-
sensory input is. In
Camp Consonant
™, the
animated characters Beatrice and Buddy Beaver guide learners in a fun camp environment where
they discover strategies that help them become independent readers.

Awards, achievement
recognition and feedback motivate students and keep them engaged with the
program. For
example, each student receives an award chart

both a virtual one and a tangible one

and
camp
-
themed merit badges for every
ten
activities completed; when a student has collected
ten

badges,
s/he is
then presented with a gold award

complete wit
h an award ceremony conducted
by Buddy and Beatrice
. T
he tutor is

provided with sticker versions of these badges and awards
(and templates to which they can be affixed) and can give them to students as a means of
recording progress. While these rewards
may seem trivial and even juvenile for older students,
they have proven to be quite effective for students in pilot implementations of the program.


Camp Consonant

is delivered via the Internet, and this mode of delivery provides tutors
with a wide variety

of ways to use the program with students; for example, multiple students in a
computer lab could use the program simultaneously, or one student could use the program alone
while waiting his or her turn to receive one
-
on
-
one tutoring help. Additionally,
Ca
mp
Consonant
™ can “extend” a tutor’s time with students by having them use it in their homes as a
form of homework.

Camp Consonant™
can be used in conjunction with classroom instruction,
as well as an enhancement or reinforcement for one
-
on
-
one tutoring.

A sequence can easily be
structured to fit within exactly one hour, or any other specific timeframe
.

Teachers, tutors, parents and students who have used the program have detailed their
success
using Camp Consonant to teach
students to read. The progra
m
has been used by more
than
1,100
students attending
private schools, public elementary schools, charter school
s
.

Letters
from teachers describing their
successful
experience with
Camp Consonant™

are attached
(A
ppendix X
).

Another set of
Camp Consonant™

users
were
52 pre
-
Kindergarten children from
the Utah state
-
funded
, home
-
based UPSTART P
rogram. These children, selected from over
1
,
000 of their peers, were not mastering certain reading objectives despite rigorous instruction
with
Waterford’s core readi
ng program, Waterford Early Reading Program™ (WERP). T
hese
children were invited to
use Camp Consonant
.

T
ime spent in the home on
the program has been
higher than required and even than expected.

Children who score
d

below 70% on activities
repeat
ed

tho
se activities in order to provide them with the remediation they need
ed
.
A
certified
tutor over
saw
th
e
process. Some children completed over 2
,
000 activities in two months. A
review of scores showed an average of 84% among those students, with 80%
indicating mastery.

The above details the current Camp Consonant product. Now,
Waterford Research
Institute proposes to develop a state
-
of
-
the
-
art
intellige
nt tutoring
sequencing system to be used
with
the program
.
The sequencing technology, a unique fea
ture not found in other literacy
programs for children with disabilities, will harness the power and precision of algorithmic
equations to supply children with a personalized pathway toward mastering phonological and
phonemic awareness concepts. This tech
nology will
make inexpensive
,

personalized,
performance
-
driven instruction
widely
available

and
ensure that Camp Consonant’s research
-
5


based content is systematically delivered to student
s who need the research
-
based intervention
it
p
rovides
.


While the s
tudent experiences Camp Consonant as a seamless flow of games, songs, and
activities,
the
intelligent tutoring
sequencing system maintain
s

profiles of each student to enable
adaptive presentation based on the child’s immediate and accumulated performance.

The
sequencer will collect information automatically on the child using the program and, based on
the child’s responses, design an individualized curriculum tailored to guide the child, via a
customized path, through the activities related to her or his o
wn abilities and needs. In addition,
the embedded nature of assessment
s

will provide a daily evaluation of a child’s actual knowledge
and skill sets in ways that traditional standardized tests cannot.

The sequencer will focus on four key areas:

t
argeting mastery of learning objectives
;
i
nstructing to each student’s needs
; r
esponding to student performance and fostering retention
;
and e
nsuring balanced instruction.

W
ith the sequencer, Camp Consonant c
an

be used

even more

extensively and efficient
ly
for classroom instruction

and in districts that have had to cut tutors and literacy coaches (as one
Superintendent noted, “The literacy coaches were the first to go
.”
).
T
he sequencer w
ill also
make Camp Consonant available for
use in
the
home setting

f
or
children who do not have access
to
one
-
on
-
one
tutoring either because of
geographical
distance
/
isolation

or expense.




c.

Theoretical and empirical support, and theory of change

Computer technology has changed education by allowing students and
educators access
to a wider range of resources to suit their needs. Computer
-
assisted instruction (CAI) in the
classroom allows for a dynamic presentation of material, individualized instruction, and a level
of engagement in the learning process that may n
ot be possible in a more traditional classroom
setting. CAI can provide immediate feedback regarding correct responses, reinforcement where
appropriate, and modeling when needed. These benefits have been related to substantive student
gains in knowledge (
Lepper & Gurtner, 1989; Wenglinsky, 1998) and many help eliminate
certain impediments to effective intervention among younger students and children at
-
risk (e.g.,
Fish, Li, McCarrick, Butler, Stanton, Brumitt, et al., 2008).

Self
-
directed CAI systems are

used commonly by older students, usually in environments
in which the student explores a topic nonlinearly by following hyperlinks to associated text and
media (Scheiter & Gerjets, 2007). Among younger students (grades kindergarten through 2
nd
),
self
-
dire
cted systems are generally simpler, and typically include some sort of picture menu from
which a child chooses the next activity he or she wishes to complete. Learner control allows
students to play activities that interest them repeatedly, or to play once

or never at all. Because
the student is in control of which activity will come next, he or she is usually highly engaged.

A
number of cognitive researchers have supported the idea that learner control is an effective way
for students to learn new materia
l (Merrill, 1975; Reigeluth & Stein, 1983). Cognitive models
have proposed that, because the individualization of instruction (i.e., learner control) allows each
learner to advance on his or her own initiative (Brown, Colins, & DeGuid, 1989; Merrill, 1975;

Reigluth & Stein, 1983), students are able to process information more deeply and therefore gain
a better understanding of the material (Craik & Lockhart, 1972; Tulving & Thompson, 1973).

The studies cited above often compared learner
-
controlled systems with more traditional
CAI, often planned sequence systems. Instead of allowing the student to select which activity he
or she will do next, a planned
-
sequence program enforces a particular d
omain structure by
choosing the order in which information is presented. Such planned sequences are thought to
6


work better for students with lower levels of prior knowledge because the student will not have
any knowledge gaps remaining (van Gog, Ericsson,
RIkers, & Paas, 2005).

Adaptive CAI, on the other hand, uses an approach that has flexibility for student
individual differences in learning to be accommodated (Park & Lee, 2007). Such programs
adjust both the starting point (if they include pre
-
assessmen
ts) and the path a student takes
through the material. As mentioned previously, research examining the effectiveness of adaptive,
sequence
-
based CAI has generally been positive. The use of adaptive learning systems in early
education classrooms has resulte
d in greater reading ability or math ability gains compared to
controls for kindergartners living in poverty (Hecht and Close, 2002), English
-
language
-
learning
kindergartners (Powers & Price
-
Johnson, 2007), suburban kindergartners (Cassady & Smith,
2004; M
acaruso & Walker, 2008), and suburban first graders (Cassady & Smith, 2005;
Macaruso, Hook, & McCabe, 2006; Savage, Abrami, Hipps, & Deault, 2009).

A
daptive sequencing software
often base
sequencing decisions on
a projection related to
student “mastery
.


When a student achieves a certain percent correct on certain objective’s
assessment,
s/
he is judged to have “mastered” that material and is allowed to proceed. Students
who master material more quickly, then, pro
gress more often to the next objective in the
sequence. When a student fails an assessment the computer loads a series of remedial activities,
then re
-
assess the student until mastery is obtained.

Many mastery
-
based CAI systems have
been developed to be c
onsistent with mastery learning theory in education. First developed in the
1960s, the mastery learning approach focused on the idea that all students can learn as long as
they have sufficient time (Carroll, 1963). The idea was expanded most famously by Bl
oom
(1968); its chief instructional prescription was that a student should spend as long as necessary
on each objective, mastering each bit of knowledge before
s/
he could proceed.

Mastery learning
requires that a student is assessed on an objective standa
rd, receives feedback about the result,
and either repeats the material or continues on based on the result of that performance. For a
subject area to be considered “mastered,” the student must have achieved a criterion
-
referenced
standard of performance (
Lalley & Gentile, 2009). Research has indicated that mastery learning
allows students to learn the information well enough that the subsequent “forgetting phase” is
minimal

and that enough knowledge remains to build upon in the next lesson (Lalley &
Gentil
e, 2009). Early reviews of research (Block & Anderson, 1975; Kulik, Kulik, and Bangert
-
Downs, 1990; Anderson, 1994) found that mastery learning was beneficial for students despite
variations in class size, content area, and class setting. This research no
ted, too, that such
techniques are particularly beneficial to lower
-
performing students. More recent research has
also supported these findings, emphasizing that the mastery learning approach continues to work
in the classrooms in which it is implemented (
see Zimmerman & Dibenebetto, 2008).

In the area of

intelligent tutoring systems, B
ayesian networks were used to model
different features of the tutors.
Mayo and Mitrovic
(2001) proposed using a Bayesian modeling
approach for long term student modeling and

a decision theory approach for determining the next
tutorial for each student. They provide an overview of existing intelligent tutoring systems using
statistical decision theory and Bayesian network approaches, and propose features that an
intelligent tu
toring system should have. Matsuda, Cohen, Sewall, Lacerda,& Koedinger (2007)
used the SimStudent to explore whether it can observe student problem solving and create an
accurate student cognitive model that will replicate students' behavior. It was found

that the
model predicted accurately students


correct responses over 80
%

of the time. However, it was
not able to predict errors accurately.

Bayesian networks are used mainly to assess uncertainty in
the problem solving stage. Conati C., and
VanLehn

(2001) created a user model based on
7


Bayesian networks to assess from instructional material. T
he student model is updated based on
their understanding of example parts. Vanlehn and and Niu (2001) used
B
ayesian network in the
Andes intelligent tutoring system which serves as a "homework helper" for college students in
physics. The model is trying to

predict what the student is trying to do in order to construct an
appropriate hint when the student asks for one.

Finally, Pardos, Heffernan (2010) used data from
the ASSISTment (a math tutoring systems for 7th
-
12th grade students) System to introduce a
n
individualization technique within the framework of Bayesian networks. The model allows for
multiple prior knowledge parameters to be specified and the value assigned to each student is
determined by the Bayesian network. The model has improved predic
ting students responses in
79% of the problems.


Theory
and data on how technology will change learning

and in the surprisingly near
future

is presented in the recent book,
Disrupting Class
, by Clayton Christensen. Based on
research and theory in previous

books on
Disruptive Innovation
and

Disruptive Technology
,
C
hristensen and his co
-
authors show

how student
-
centric learning, based on modular,
customizable software, will characterize the second wave of disruptive innovation that will bring
learning system
s customized to the way individual students learn into learning in homes, schools,
and workplaces with dramatic rapidity during the decade of 2010
-
2020. While Christensen is
not an expert on which individual difference models will be used in customization
, his work
provides deep theory and empirical evidence about the process and predictability of new
technologies coming into education. He argues that computer
-
based instruction is only phase
one of the disruptive innovation process. Greater modularity le
ads to great leaps forward in
customization, even as it has done in the microcomputer and software businesses. “These state
two tools disrupt the tutoring business; they can make it so affordable and simple that each
student can have a virtual tutor throu
gh these tools. Over time, the modules that students,
parents, and teachers employ to help students solve individual learning problems in individual
courses will be combined into complete custom
-
configured courses

the consummate purpose of
modularity.” (
Christensen et al, (2008): 137)


d.

Similar products or typical practices, and potential commercial application


There are a number of products being advertised to serve the market,
but few are
technological, and no other has the capability to individualize instruction.

Alphabetic Phonics
,

Association Method
,

Sonday System,
Sounds in Syllables
,
Slingerland
,
Wilson Foundations/Wilson Reading System
, and
Spalding Method

have
n
o
technology
-
based instruction.

Project
R
ead

uses a
DVD
,
and
Teachtown
,
Language Tuneup Kit
,
E
a
robics.com
,
Laurete
Learning
,
Fast ForWord
,
and
Lexia Learn
ing

do employ software.
Of those programs, only
Scientific Learning’s
FastForWord

and
Lexia Learning

ap
proach the breadth and depth of the
current Camp Consonant tutor
-
driven program
, but both are tutor/teacher
-
driven
. The difference

between these two programs and Camp Consonant
will be
come

even apparent once the
sequencer is added to Camp Consonant.

In di
gital software programs without a sophisticated adaptive sequencing architecture,
progression through a given curriculum is linear and static. If a child forgets content or
intentionally makes mistakes for fun, the program
cannot
respond and adapt.
Frequently, in such
cases, children can progress through the curriculum without mastering requisite learning
objectives

by
press
ing

random keys to progress or skip
ping t
hrough activities by waiting until the
timer runs out. Such software may occasionally
direct the child to a correct answer before
8


moving on, but
more
often just assumes that if a child sees an acti
vity or plays an activity,
the
child has mastered the associated objectives. In these cases, no accurate assessment of the
learning process occu
rs, and children may not master a single concept. In addition, when a child
logs in at a subsequent time or date, many educational programs typically return the student to
the beginning of the prescribed sequence. The program does not maintain current po
sition,
strengths, weaknesses, and other individualized user profile information.



Fast ForWord

is
designed for K
-
12 education institutions

and clinics specializing in
reading remediation
, and t
he program is des
i
g
n
ed to be administered by a teacher or c
linician.
Lexia Reading
, emphasizes phonemic awareness and explicit instruction and does not employ a
multi
-
sensory approach, nor is it designed to individualize to the student. When Waterford
conducted a focus group with educators
and market experts
to
gain their insights into Camp
Consonant, the
y

teachers specifically mentioned the following unique characteristics of Camp
Consonant

program
:




the
tie to
proven
multisensory methodology



m
ore and varied activities



r
eports
are
easier to interpret



p
ositive reinforcement
is
embedded in the program



o
ther products are “locked into hardware” so access to the specific hardware is
necessary; because it is web
-
based
Camp Consonant c
an be accessed from home
,
any
available school computer
, or off
-
site locales

like libraries.


And, as a group, they mentioned that a sequencer would ensure the program’s leadership in the
marketplace.

Commercially, there are a variety of applications for the sequenced Camp Consonant
program.
Schools, reading clinics and tutoring
centers, individual tutors, and parents (directly to
the home or through tutors and schools recommending homework or additional practice) are the
obvious targets of opportunity.

Within schools, Camp consonant can be
marketed to general
education, special e
ducation, reading interventions and to districts as a whole. Depending on the
district purchaser,
the program could be purchased
through district curriculum budgets,
and
grants such as Title One or special education money
.

Among tutors, the program can i
ncrease
the number of students tutors can serve and also given an “edge” to their services in a
competitive market.



2. Phase I Technical Objectives

a. Phase I R/R&D objectives

The ke
y

objectives for Phase I are to

design the Camp Consonant sequencer to
:

maintain
profiles of each student to enable adaptive presentation based on the child’s immediate and
accumulated performance
;
collect information automatically on the child using the program
;
use
the child’s responses

to create
an individualized curricul
um tailored to guide the child, via a
customized path, through the activities related to her or his own abilities and needs
; and

embed
assessment
to
provide daily evaluation of a child’s actual knowledge and skill sets
.


Overall
, the
sequencer
will be designed
to focus on four key areas: t
argeting mastery of
learning objectives
; i
nstructing to each student’s needs
; r
esponding to student performance and
fostering retention
; and e
nsuring balanced instruction.

9



The unsequenced Camp Consonant pro
duct has been tested and used by more than 1,100
students. The first test of the sequenced product will be a small
-
scale usability study that will
begin in
Phase

I and be completed in Phase II. Further testing in Phase II will address overall
success
of implementing all project objectives related to the sequencer.


b. Project p
eriod

Phase I of the Camp Consonant sequencer project will be completed in six months. Tasks and
timeline are described below.


June
2011

Award Received; Phase I begins.

July

Evaluate usefulness of existing Waterford sequencing capability in
relation to learning needs of children with reading disabilities and
difficulties
. Analyze
available data from current users

August

Make adjustments in Waterford sequencing capability
.

September

December

Create algorithms for Camp Consonant sequencer
based on data mining
and students’ responses to activi
ties
that will guide instruction, scaffold,
review, remediate, account for learning decay, and assess. Executive
code that makes activities function in the developmental sequence. Initial
sequencing completed and reviewed. UPSTART parents contacted to
invite participation in usability testing.

December

Usability

testing begins.


3. Phase I Work Plan

a.
Develop
ment of the p
rototype

The sequencer will provide a way to organize a
n

effective sequence of instruction
following Gagne
, et. al.
’s Nine Events of Instruction that activate processes needed for effective
learning

(Gagne, Wagner, Golas & Keller 2005): 1)
Gaining attention

(
communicate the
importance and relevance of the lesson content to the learners
); 2)
Informing learner of lesson
objective

(s
imply state what the students will learn and what they will be expected to
accomplish
); 3)
Stimulating recall of
prior learning

(r
elate the content of the lesson to learners’
prior knowledge
); 4)
Present stimuli with distinctive features

(p
resent a definition of the concept
and utilize instructional strategies that are unique to the content area
); 5)
Guiding learning

(a
s
instructional strategies are presented or utilized, ensure that an appropriate environment for
learning is defined and established
); 6)
Eliciting performance

(p
resent three to five examples for
learners to practice the desired performance
); 7)
Providi
ng informative feedback

(p
rovide
learners with feedback on how well they have learned the desired capabi
l
ity or skill
); 8)
A
ssessing
performance (a
sk questions requiring a response and inform the learner if mastery is
achieved
); 9)
Enhancing retention and
learning transfer

(p
resent three to five additional concept
examples with a different approach
)
.

In the Camp Consonant sequencer, this translates as follows:

Preassessment

(
measures the
student’s background knowledge to determine level of instruction need
ed for an learning
objective or set of learning objectives
);
Song

(
engages students with music and memorable lyrics
to teach and reteach concepts
);
Introduction

(
provides a brief overview of learning objectives
and
provides quick hints on what will come ne
xt and how to be successful with the skill
); I
nstruction

(explicitly teaches the t
arget learning objective
);
Book or Reading Passage

(
provides students
experience applying their developing literacy skills
);
Practice

(
applies instruction through
10


repetition,

usually in a game format
);
Extended Practice

(
offers students ways to explore the
concept beyond the lesson, often in a game format
);
Application

(
focuses on using information,
methods, concepts, or theories in new situations, and solving problems using

t
he target skills or
knowledge); and
Postassessment

(measures
mastery at the end of an objective or unit; determines
whether the student needs remediation
)
.


The sequencer is also grounded in Bloom

s mastery learning sequence

(Bloom, 1987)
:

m
ajor objectiv
es representing the purposes of the course or uni
t define mastery of the subject;
substance is divided into relatively small learning units, each with their own objectives and
assessment
; l
earning materials and instructional strategies are identified; teac
hing, modeling,
practice, formative evaluation, reteaching, and reinforcement, etc., and su
mmative evaluation are
included; and e
ach unit is preceded by brief diagnostic tests, and the results of diagnostic tests
are used to provide supplementary instructi
on to help student(s) overcome problems.


Learning

deca
y

algorithms will be a key part of the sequencer. Learning decay is the
theory that new information can be lost if it is not moved to long
-
term memory through targeted
practice.
Important concept
include:
Repetition

(t
he process of committing something to
memory involves the formation of new associations. These associations are strengthened
through repetition
); and
Overlearning

(t
hrough repetition, information is overlearned
,
which
means that it
is resistant to disruption or loss, and it requires time to forget. (Ebbinghaus, 1964).


Foundational to the learning dec
ay algorithms in the sequencer is

“time window”

the
critical periods of time for learning

and how retention affects the width of a time

window.
F
our major findings are important to the implementation of the learning decay algorithms: (a)
forgetting concepts declines with age when learning rates and opportunities are controlled, (b)
differences in learning rates do not predict participan
t differences in forgetting rates, (c) item
differences in learning rates predict item differences in forgetting rates, and (d) forgetting
concepts over a period of time is more likely for concrete materials than for abstract materials
(Rovee
-
Collier, C. 1
995).


Learning decay algorithms in the Waterford sequencer consider the rate at which students
learn an objective. If the student takes several repetitions to learn an objective, the period
between reviews is different than if the student masters the obj
ective immediately. Reviews will
be triggered by progress through the curriculum, and students review past material before
moving into more difficult material.

The

seqencer
will
order objectives in a hierarchy

either from easiest to most difficult or
from intermediate learning objectives to culminating learning objectives. Once a student masters
the current objectives,
s/
he moves on to the

next objective. If a student does not m
aster the
11


o
bjective, there are several possible paths that the sequencer may take to ensure that the student
learns and masters the objective.

Depending on student performance, only one response might happen, or they might be set to
happen in sequence. T
he order in which remediation occurs is generally: 1) remediate to a
foundational skill objective or a remedial objective; 2) repeat current objective; 3) postpone
current objective and repeat later in the sequence. Any of these options can occur individ
ually or
in combination. Once the student reaches a set number of failures of an objective, it is
highlighted in the student’s report to notify the teacher.

A struggling student’s experience is demonstrated in the following diagram. Note that
this is onl
y an example of how an
o
bjective might respond. Each objective has a unique,
instructionally appropriate response. In addition, students may experience instruction from other
Instructional strands and/or session breaks between objectives in the following

sequence.







12


Understanding that all students will forget material over time, each objective has unique
review settings. When a student demonstrates mastery, the sequencer triggers a learning decay
algorithm that dynamically determines when the st
udent is likely to forget that learning
objective.

Q
uestions and tasks that the computer can effectively interact with and that will increase
a dyslexic child’s grasp on reading

have been developed in Camp Consonant and
arranged
conceptually (i.e., by
letter recognition, letter
-
sound associations, multi
-
letter patterns, and
syllable patterns) rather than by age
-
dictated grade levels, since many struggling readers perform
well below their grade level. In addition, the mastery of concepts such as phonemic

awareness
and letter
-
sound recognition must be obtained before students can move on to the decoding of
words. The stepwise sequence suggested by this hierarchy of skills is the foundation of the Camp
Consonant program. Curriculum content progresses as fo
llows:


Level 1: Emergent reading



Introduction to letters



Instruction in phonemic segmentation



Introduction to “clue words” which help children develop letter
-
sound associations


Level 2: Beginning reading



Introduce letter
-
sound relationships



Practice
words in isolation and then in reading simple sentences



Learn spelling sound patterns, practice them in different words, learn how to form the
letters and spell the word.



Introduction to sight words


words whose spellings must be memorized because
canno
t be “sounded out” according to phonetic rules or are high
-
frequency enough to
merit memorization


Level 3: Fluent reading



Introduction to unusual sound, vowel, and syllable patterns



Experience with expository writing



Further exposure to and memorization o
f sight words



Strategies and practice with reading for comprehension


A brief s
ample of content and content questions include
s
:




Identify schwa sounds in unaccented syllables



Identification of syllable types and corresponding vowel sounds



Letter formation

(capitals and lowercase)




b.
Research on the Feasibility of the Prototype

The principal investigator,
Camp Consonant
R&D Director,
and decision science
architect/sequencer designer will work closely to create the algorithms that will guide
instruction,
scaffold, review, remediate, prescribe learning decay, and assess.


Waterford has the experience of developing successful sequencing technology for use
with its core school programs, W
ERP

and Waterford Early Math and Science™

(WEMS)
,

but
we acknowledge ch
anges may need to be made to meet the
needs of dyslexic students.
13


Therefore o
ne question this proposal seeks to answer is the extent to which WRI’s current
sequencing technology will need to be adapted to best meet the needs of dyslexic students. Since
a

major focus of reading remediation is the development of automaticity, which algorithms will
help dyslexic students receive the instruction and practice they need to develop component skills
to the level of automaticity? To what degree does the time it t
akes a student to respond to a
question (a major factor in current sequencer design) affect dyslexic students’ acquisition of
concepts? How much practice is enough for struggling readers, and how often do they need to
review and employ core skills? Final
ly, at what point will dyslexic students be considered to
have “mastery” in a certain skill area? These are all questions that traditional literacy facilitators
must consider on a daily basis in their work with struggling readers, and much of the effort i
n the
development of the Camp Consonant sequencer will involve acquiring and employing the
algorithms that would enable a software program to approximate this level of fine
-
grained
analysis.


c.
Relation of Phase I R/R&D to Phase II R/R&D

By

the end of Phase I the prototype will look and operate much like the final product.

However, the first six months of Phase II will be a crucial transition time between product
development and testing of the product.
A
small
-
scale
us
ability

pilot
will be

conducted as
described below, and, at the same time, we w
ill
bring a group of experts in to review the product
to
determine
whether the product holds as much appeal as Waterford believes it will.
These
experts comprised a s
imilar focus groups
for the
original, unsequenced Camp Consonant
product
, and one of the
ir

major recommendations was the development of the sequencer.
Therefore, they will be invited back to Waterford to review the new product and offer
suggestions.
Invitees will include:



Alan Ster
n, Academic Business Advisors



Mitch Weisburgh, Academic Business Advisors



Farimah Schuerman, Academic Business Advisors



Robert H. Pasternack, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative
Services, U.S. Department of Education



Amy Jo Tetre
v, Special Services Coordinator District 158, Illinois



Wayne Callender, Partners for Learning



Sandy Ballard, implementation specialist for a number of publishers who has
successfully sold educational software for over

ten years.



Donna Vorenkamp , has been

selling both software and print materials for a number of
years and has a background in special education and a strong interest in RtI.




Because the camp consonant sequencer will utilize the same framework as Waterford’s
WERP and WEMS sequencer, most of

the concerns are associated with the time needed to create
the sequencer. Waterford is prepared to dedicate the staff assigned to the project as projected in
the budget, including the PI working full time on the project. Therefore, we believe a six
-
mont
h
time frame is reasonable.




4
. Phase II Technical Objectives

a. Phase II R/R&D objectives


14


As noted above, Phase II will begin with a focus group of educational experts focusing on
the business potential of the product as briefly described above. The focus group will be
overseen by Waterford’s marketing
director and the Camp Consonant product m
anager
.


At

the same time, a
three
-
month small
-
sample pilot of the sequenced Camp Consonant
product
will be conducted to
obtain feedback on the usability of the product.
Participants will be
invited from Waterford’s home
-
based, pre
-
K program, UPSTART.

The p
roduct representative
for Camp Consonant
,
who has overseen previous use of Camp Consonant in UPSTART, will be
responsible for identifying participants and serving as their point of contact.
Designers and
developers will
request feedback they need to
enhance

the product for testing later in Phase II.



Phase II will test the sequenced Camp Consonant product to determine whether it:




Ensures mastery of learning objectives
. M
any software projects bundle learning
objective
s. For example, a student working on the letter sounds also learns capitalization.
In the camp Consonant sequencer technology, each learning objective must be discrete

individually defined and individually assessed. The sequence engine must compare
stud
ent assessment data from each activity to target mastery data provided by education
designers and will use that information to select the next appropriate activity and to
redirect students as necessary.



Meet
s
s
tudent

n
eed
s.
Each student can benefit from a

unique combination of instruction
presented in multi
-
sensory, multi
-
modal ways. Some students will require extensive
explicit instruction, and others will only need to practice applying requisite skills. The
embedded sequence logic within activities
must successfully
use student performance to
determine what type of instruction is needed for mastery of each defined learning
objective in the curriculum sequence.

Mastery criteria
must
involve having a child
complete an interactive embedded assessment,
by choosing sounds that rhyme, for
instance, or being able to segment or blend sounds. It is important that mastery be
determined by input from a child rather than simply exposure to instruction. One rule of
thumb WRI likes to follow is that “our work does
n’t start until the child answers,” and
this sense of a child’s interacting with the software is needed in order to verify mastery at
every level of design.



Foster
s

r
etention
.
Understanding that all students will forget material over time (Pashler,
Rohre
r, and Cepeda, 2006) each activity in Camp Consonant
must
potentially possess
unique review criteria.
For example, w
hen a student demonstrates mastery of a phonics
concept, a learning decay algorithm
must
dynamically predict when the student is likely
to

forget that learning objective.



Ensur
e
s

b
alanced
i
nstruction
.
In order to customize instruction, the Camp Consonant
curriculum will be divided into several independent sequences of objectives. These
objectives

must
interrelate and require students to
make connections between content

allow
ing

students to both progress along developmental trajectories that are topic
-
specific
and to spend the time necessary to master weak skills while building on strengths.



Provide
s

m
eaning
i
nformation
.
Because the Camp
Consonant program will constantly
gather data on student mastery of discrete skills, meaningful information about student
progress
must
be reported to educators. Administrators
must be able to s
ee how students
build skills outlined in national educational
standards. Teachers, literacy facilitators, and
parents
must be able to
review each student’s performance on individual learning
15


objectives and can then work as a team with the software to meet the student’s education
needs.

Parents and literacy facilitat
ors
must be comfortable accessing
the Camp
Consonant software manager feature, which will allow them to review reports on
activities their students have completed, including information about completion time,
accuracy and number of activities the child has

completed or has queued for future
completion.


b.
Project Period

Timeline and tasks for Phase
II
of the
project
are described below.


January

2012

Phase II, Year 1 Begins

January


March

Usability testing continues. Feedback solicited from
usability study. Focus
group of teachers and market experts meets at Waterford.

April

-

May

Suggested changes and adjustments from focus group and usability study
discussed and approved.

Changes implemented by content team.

June
-

August

QA specialists

ensure program functions according to design specifications.
Team coordinates with Waterford Tutoring Center to announce research pilot
availability. Team and Waterford tutoring staff identify populations selected
for study sample; assigns children to e
xperimental groups and control group.

September

Team and Waterford tutoring staff identify populations selected for study
sample; assigns children to experimental groups and control group.

October

Team meets with parents/caregivers of sample population
on details of pilot,
respond to questions, and instruct on giving WACS and accessing Camp
Consonant. User Support protocols for Camp Consonant planned. User
Support team trained.

November

Efficacy testing begins. Parents/caregivers administer WACS. Te
sting and use
supported by User Support.


December

Team begins to collect use statistics and responds to queries from participants.
Marketing and sales plan finalized; collateral material defined.


J
anuary 2013

Phase II, Year 2 Begins

January


March

Efficacy testing continues with team collecting use statistics and responding to
queries from participants.

April

Testing ends.
Camp Consonant software access

provided to control group.

May

Results compiled and reviewed by t
eam

members.
All project tea
m participates
in in
-
depth discussion.

June

Report finalized. Changes and adjustments from efficacy testing discussed and
approved

July
-

September

Changes implemented. QA testing of revised product. Sequenced product
finalized.

October
-

December

Collateral materials finalized and website created. Salesforce hired. Final
report finalized.

Throughout the life of the project, interim research and financial reports will be filed on schedule
by team members and Waterford finance department as reques
ted and required.



16


5. Phase II Work Plan


a.
Full
-
scale Development of the Product

2
nd

part
Phase II
year 1
will begin
with a fully functioning prototype of the sequencer.
Changes will be made to the prototype based on usability, parent feedback,
focus
-
group
feedback, efficacy testing described below, and QA testing
.



b.
R
esearch

on feasibility and usability, and on the promise of the product to

achieve the
intended outcomes

Once the sequencer has been developed and integrated into the software,
the usability test
has been completed, and QA has ensured the program functions according to specifications, a
p
reliminary assessment will be done to test it
s effectiveness
.


Waterford will work with the Waterford School Tutoring Center to conduct the study.
The center serves not
Waterford School students, but also children referred from the University
of Utah Reading Clinic’s wait
ing

list
.

The Waterford School
,
Waterford
I
nstitute’s research school
,
is an independent school supported
by parent tuitions. It has 1,000 students enrolled from preschool through high school. The
school
s
erves as a platform for Waterford to test its products. Rea
ding tutors at the school have
tested Camp Consonant (without the sequencer) with their students, and their feedback has been
integrated into the program’s design. These same tutors will be asked to work with their students
once the sequencer has been dev
eloped.

A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between
the WRI and the Waterford School is found in
Appendix
X
.

Working with children across the K
-
4 range using Camp Consonant
will
permit a
preliminary assessment of year
-
to
-
year or grade
-
to
-
grade impro
vement.
To conduct the study, 60
Waterford students and 60 wait
ing
-
list students

will be
iden
tified via testing and screening as
having dyslexia.



Reading Clinic
participants and Waterford students will be assigned to one of three
groups:


Experimental group 1
:
40 children overall will be part of experimental group 1.
20
children, ages 5
-
9 (K
-
4) from
the wait list

who have been identified via testing and
screening as having dyslexia, will use the program with the sequencing feature for 15
m
inutes per day, 3
-
5 times a week in addition to whatever tutoring they receive from their
current tutors or literacy facilitators; 20 Waterford students identified via testing and
screening as having dyslexia and participating in the school’s tutoring prog
ram will use
the program in the same way.

Experimental group 2
:
40 children overall will be part of experimental group 2.
20
wait
list children
, ages 5
-
9 (K
-
4), who have been identified via testing and screening as having
dyslexia, will use the program wi
thout the sequencing feature (in other words, Camp
Consonant activities will be assigned by the child’s literacy facilitator instead of by the
sequencing engine) for 15 minutes per day, 3
-
5 times a week in addition to whatever
tutoring they receive from th
eir current tutors or literacy facilitators; 20 Waterford
students identified via testing and screening as having dyslexia and participating in the
school’s tutoring program will use the program in the same way.

Control group
:
40 children overall will be

part of


the control group.
20
wait list
children,
ages 5
-
9 (K
-
4), who have been identified via testing and screening as having dyslexia,
17


will comprise the control group and not use Camp Consonant; rather they will receive
only the tutoring given to them by their current tutors or literacy facilitators; 20
Waterford students identified via testing and screening as having dyslexia and
partici
pating in the school’s tutoring program will not use Camp Consonant and
compromise the control group.


Reading ability of all participating students in each group will be measured prior to the
start of the program and prior to using Camp Consonant and at

the end of the program.

C
hildren
will be randomly assigned either to the control group or to one of the two experimental groups
that will use the Camp Consonant sequencer for 24 weeks. Data on the number of minutes each
student uses the program during t
hose 24 weeks will be collected.


Progress will be assessed using the Waterford Assessment of Core Skills


Reading™
(WACS Reading) at the beginning and end of the study. WACS Reading is an adaptive reading
assessment for pre
-
Kindergarten to 2
nd

grade st
udents, designed to assess all of the following
reading skill areas: letter names; letter sounds; initial sounds; blending; segmenting; real words;
sight words; non words; vocabulary; and listening and reading comprehension.


The major strength of WACS
Reading is its adaptive sequencing technology. As children
correctly answer questions within a content area, the questions’ difficulty level will increase up
to a fourth
-
grade level. If a child fails to answer questions correctly within a content area, s
/he
will receive less difficult questions in order to identify the area in which more instruction and
practice is needed. In this way, WACS Reading can indicate the full range of a child’s
capabilities rather than just providing a satisfactory/unsatisfact
ory assessment, thereby providing
invaluable information about a child’s needs, abilities, and strengths. In addition, because the test
adapts to the child’s input, a significant level of detailed information can be gleaned in one
testing session, thereby
reducing both testing time and the stress associated with multiple testing
sessions. WACS Reading includes an item bank large enough to ensure that children will not see
the same items if they re
-
take the test. WACS Reading designers have developed four
times the
number of items on a typical elementary school
-

level assessment
.


For older children who have
some reading skills, WACS

Reading can require up to two, 20
-
minutes sessions on the computer
to gain accurate information.



WACS Reading will be taken twice: at the beginning of week one and the end of week
24 to identify and understand changes in the child’s performance. WACS

Reading is designed to
be administered without a trained facilitator, and WRI will provide
wait
ing

list
children
’s

and
Waterford children’s parents or primary caregivers the software to administer WACS Reading in
the children’s
homes
.




WACS Reading is based on nationally recognized guidelines for reading assessment and
scientific research, including the guidelines presented in the National Reading Panel’s report,
“Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence
-
Based Assessment of the Scientifi
c Literature on
Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction,” which established guidelines for
educators, curriculum developers, school administrators, and assessment content designers. The
program can be accessed at
https://qawacs.waterford.org/wacs/home.htm



ANOVAs will be conducted to examine whether the children using the program in the
experimental groups differed in their scores when compared to the control group and if the
studen
ts that used Camp Consonant with computer
-
based sequencing differed from those that
used it with the non
-
computer
-
based, tutor or literacy facilitator
-
driven sequencing. Analysis of
cov
ariance will be used, if needed,
to adjust the posttest means for diff
erences on the pretest
18


means of the students. Data will be disaggregated by gender and pretest achievement quartiles to
determine

patterns of achievement among those groups.

Correlational analyses between the total
minutes of usage and scores will be com
pleted to examine the relationship and effectiveness of
the usage of Camp Consonant. Correlations will be utilized for three purposes. The first purpose
is to determine if any the children’s gender is associated with any of their scores. The second
purpos
e is to determine if improvements in learning vary with initial levels of competence, i.e., is
there a “shoulder” or a ceiling to improvements? The final purpose for correlational analysis
concerns the relationship between a student’s usage time and the s
tudent’s gain
scores.

All
c
hildren who made up the control group and had no access to Camp Consonant will be offered
access to Camp Consonant at the conclusion of the evaluation period.


c.

Potential problem areas


The only potential problem for Phase II is securing enough children for the study. The
problem can be easily solved by seeking out additional children in the public schools or through
the Utah Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Waterford h
as excellent working
relationships with both sources, however, and should be able to meet the requirements for
testing.




6. Related R/R&D

Waterford has the experience of developing successful sequencing technology for use
with its core school programs,

WERP and W
E
MS
. In early versions of the two core school
programs, the programs presented, good, research
-
based material to the student, but the
curriculum did not require the student to demonstrate understanding of that material. Therefore,
the programs

did not take full advantage of the power of technology to individualize curriculum
for each student. By design, Waterford changed the core programs to behave more like a tutor
by responding immediately and appropriately to each student’s interaction and,

ther
e
by targeted
mastery for every student. By integrating the sequencer into WERP and WEMS, Waterford
demonstrated best practices in instructional design and aligned with the increasing national focus
in the U.S. on educational mastery and on
mastery
-
focused programs that accompanied
legislation like No Child Left Behind.


7. Relationship with Future R/R&D

We assume testing will prove Camp consonant to be a successful individualized
intervention program, and we will proceed accordingly to plan
to support the program’s users.
Initial efforts will focus on supporting the efficacy testing, but a protocol for providing large
numbers of users will also be established.
Waterford’s first line of support will be training
. On
-
demand web
-
based training

is currently available to teachers

and
tutors and is included in the
cost of the program. Training materials include a teacher training DVD and “Getting Started:
Tutors.

For the sequencer version of Camp Conso
n
an
t, we will also make available
p
arent/c
aregiver materials including a training DVD and a “Getting Starte
d

Guide.” Materials
will be available in both English and Spanish.

A separate website supporting Camp
C
onsonant
may be constructed, or the materials will be

incorporated into “Waterford’s
www.waterfordresearch.org

site.


In addition to training, r
emote and on
-
site support will be provided by Waterford’s User
Support team.
Team members
have extensive experience with providing both remote (as
far
19


away as Rwanda and Senegal) and on
-
site support to

U.S. schools and homes for other
Waterford products, including the
unsequenced
version of Camp Consonant.

Support will remedy software
-
related issues and problems, including: conducting testing
and other research to verify problems and develop solutions; doing product development work to
implement solutions; transmitting solutions to
users
as appropriate; and

directly updating
customer systems for newly developed patches and new program releases to make product
improvements, a.k.a. fix
ing

identified “bugs.”

Sixty percent of our User Support telephone and field support organization are fluent
Spanish speakers,

and other languages represented in the group include French, Portuguese, and
Bengali. The average job tenure in user support is two years, and all new staff members are
given in
-
depth training on all Waterford products. Support staff are available by 80
0
-
number,
email, and online chat six days a week, 8:00 a.m.


8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00
a.m.


5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

In addition to this ongoing product and technical support,
curriculum support will be
provided by
the p
roduct representa
tive for Camp Conso
n
ant
. The product representative is an
experienced tutor certified in the Orton
-
Gillingham Method
and
has overseen the home
-
use of
the current version of Camp Consonant in the UPSTART Program.



8. Commercialization Plan

a. Project
value, expected outcomes and impact

With the sequencer, Camp Consonant will become a truly unique player in the arena of
special education software because it will: 1) be technology
-
driven; 2) utilize a multi
-
sensory
curriculum; and 3) incorporate a state
-
of
-
the
-
art sequencing feature that creates a unique learning
profile for each student, then provides an individualized remediation pathway.

Certainly the primary benefit of the development of the Camp Consonant sequencer is the
“democratization” of the availability of effective intervention programs for children with
dyslexia or related reading disabilities. Outstanding support will become av
ailable to children
who do not have access to tutors or literacy coaches either because of geographic isolation from
available services or the high costs associated with these services. The
Camp Consonant
sequencer project also
has the potential to
greatly

benefit the educational infrastructure in several
ways
.
First, because the sequencer feature allows the program to respond uniquely to each
child’s performance, more children will be able to access remedial reading instruction without
waiting for an avai
lable tutor
,

and
second, Camp Consonant can
alleviat
e

the financial
implications associated with personalized tutors.
Tutors range in cost between
$50 and $250 per
hour. Camp Consonant will be just a fraction of the cost. Children who used the program f
or
only 20 minutes a day for 22 days per month (approximately
five t
imes a week) would get over 7
hours of individualized instruction at ½ to 1/10 the cost of a
single hour
with a traditional tutor.

The human resource and financial strain on state educatio
nal school districts to provide
quality, research
-
based special education services to students has an impact on academic
achievement performances.


As noted above, o
nly nine states met standards for educating
children with disabilities, according to the fi
rst
-
ever "IDEA State Report Cards" issued by the
U.S. Department of Education in late June 2007.
National and state education departments
establish performance requirements and fund school districts based on student progress. In order
to meet state and na
tional requirements and initiate measures to improve reading , elementary
schools throughout the nation need an efficient, cost
-
effective way to serve children with reading
difficulties as early and as cost
-
effectively as possible. Camp Consonant can offer

consistent
20


instruction and functionality, accessibility, flexibility and adaptability, ease of use, complex
sequencing and scoring capability, reporting and data access, ability to rapidly update,
scalability, relatively low administration cost, decreased

need for external training, more options
for content presentation, rich media, and increased student engagement. The program can adapt
to the child’s demonstrated skill level, ameliorating frustrations with questions that are either too
easy or too diffic
ult and provide a high degree of specificity. Using the program will place
minimal burden on over
-
taxed teachers.
Web
-
based delivery enable the student to have
additional, at
-
home remediation time with the same integrated curriculum and learning concepts
s/he receives in the classroom. It also enables one teacher to assist and supervise multiple
students while still allowing these students to work at their own individualized pace.

With such a quick and simple way to offer a solution for any child at any
time, camp
Consonant is a natural extension of Waterford’s
expertise and
commitment to developing high
-
quality educational models and software.


b. Company

The Waterford Research Institute is a nonprofit research center dedicated to providing
every child
with the finest education through the development of high
-
quality educational
models, programs, and software.
The sequenced Camp Consonant
will be developed by
Waterford Solutions, Waterford’s for
-
profit entity, which was established in 2006 with the
mission to supplement the efforts of Waterford Institute, Inc. in a manner consistent with its not
-
for
-
profit charter of combining technology and education to give children instruction that is
individualized and reproducible. Waterford Solutions is used wh
en legal, tax, and funding issues
and opportunities indicate a for
-
profit approach.

Waterford was founded 35 years ago by Dr. Dustin Heuston, a pioneer in computer
-
based
instruction.

Under Heuston’s leadership,
Waterford pioneered interactive training usi
ng
computers and videodiscs in 1978 and, with a grant from the National Science Foundation,
produced the world’s first educational videodisc, “The Development of Living Things.” During
this same time period, acknowledging Waterford’s expertise and leaders
hip, the U.S. Army, the
U.S. Navy, and various industrial clients such as SmithKline contracted with Waterford to
produce education and training products.

Waterford Institute is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Today, the Institute remains
committe
d to providing educational excellence and equity to all children by harnessing the
exponentially growing power of computer and software technology. Waterford focuses its efforts
on young children

preschool through second grade

and is considered the nation’
s educational
software leader in this age group. In its 35
-
year history, Waterford has invested more than $135
million in its software and programs.

Waterford’s core reading and science and math programs
have both received the presitigious CODiE Award fr
om the Software and Information Industry
Association, which recognizes outstanding innovation in software, education technology, and
digital content. W
E
RP received a CODiE Award for Best Course/Classroom Management
Solution, and WE
M
S received a CODiE Awar
d for Best Science Instructional Solution.

Waterford’s main client is its partner, Pearson, which distributes
W
ERP and WEMS
software to schools around the country. This year more than 500,000 school children around the
world are using WERP and WEMS.

The I
nstitute has an annual operating budget of approximately $18 million and employs
166 people, with offices in the U.S., India, Taiwan, and Romania.

21


In addition to typical sales to schools, Waterford works with national and state agencies
to promote early
childhood education. For example, Waterford administers the UPSTART
program for the state of Utah, providing more than 3,000 preschool children with a program of
Waterford early childhood educational and assessment software products.

UPSTART has been
laud
ed by Utah state government officials, administrators, local schools, and parents involved in
the program for its efficacy in boosting preschool reading proficiency.

Waterford has taken two significant steps to grow and sustain the business into the futur
e.
The first was to separate the non
-
profit Waterford Institute and for
-
profit Waterford Solutions.
This focuses the research Institute on its traditional mission and frees Waterford Solutions to
pursue innovative for
-
profit business opportunities.

The s
econd step was to restructure
Waterford after renegotiating the Institute’s distribution contract with Pearson. Pearson
previously had exclusive distribution rights to all Waterford products. Under the new agreement,
Pearson only distributes WERP and WEMS
to U.S. public schools. Waterford now conducts
sales, marketing and customer service activities for all other products into all other markets. To
take these new products, including
Camp Consonant
, to market, the Institute has hired
experienced senior manag
ement in product, marketing, sales, operations, and customer service.
The Institute is pursuing four key sales strategies: 1) U.S. public, private, and charter schools; 2)
domestic and international resellers; 3) for
-
profit contract opportunities; and 4) g
overnment,
private foundation, and development agency grants.


c. Market, customer, and competition

As noted above,

e
xperts estimate that one in ten children

suffers from dyslexia and that
one child in five in the United States has reading disabilities sev
ere enough to require personal
tutoring by a reading expert.

Thus, there is a huge potential market for a research
-
based, cost
-
effective multi
-
sensory
intervention
product to serve this need.


The customer base is varied. Schools, reading clinics and
tutoring centers, individual
tutors, and parents (directly to the home or through tutors and schools recommending homework
or additional practice) are obvious targets of opportunity.

Within
the
school

market
, Camp
C
onsonant can be
marketed to general
and s
pecial
education, reading interventions
,

and to whole

districts
. Depending on the district purchaser,
the program could be purchased
through district
curriculum budgets,
and
grants
,

such as Title One
,

or special education money
. Because of
Camp Consonant
’s low cost, local Parent Teachers Organizations may also
contribute

to the
purchase.

For a review of competitive products, see 1,d “Similar Products” above.

As noted
above, only
FastForWord

and
Lexia Learning

approach the breadth of Camp Consonant, and
both are tutor/teacher
-
driven. Both are also priced significantly higher than the pricing structure
for Camp Consonant($99 for Levels 1 and 2 per student per year; $99 for Levels 3 and 4 per
student per year).

NEED PRICES



d. Intellectual Property (IP) protection and licensing

Camp Consonant is designed as a web
-
based application. Rich media is delivered on the
student workstations using Adobe Flash.


This allows a high
-
quality experience for students that,
because it is Internet
-
delivered, can be accessed at any time and any lo
cation. The product
database is hosted centrally by Waterford Institute. Users will access the product database via the
Internet. This product database holds the most critical elements of Camp Consonant: the
algorithms driving the sequencer and the report
ing.


As with all Waterford software, Camp
Consonant users agree to an End User License Agreement.


The Camp Consonant sequencer
22


project

has two significant advantages:


Waterford Institute has already invested nearly

a million
dollars and three years of
development time to produce the core Camp Consonant program; and
Waterford has successfully designed and implement
ed

a dynamic, objective
-
based seque
ncer in
its core reading
and math and science

curriculum.


e. Finance plan

Waterford Solutions and the Waterford Institute are committed to completing the
Camp
Consonant sequencer
project and, with the assistance of an SBIR award, have sufficient reserves
and sources of revenue to finish the project into Phase III, the product la
unch. Waterford Institute
has a contract with a major education publisher, Pearson, which guarantees royalty income flow
through the duration of the project, which will help support
the project
through completion.

f. Production plan

All production of test
items and media, as well as test programming, will be conducted by
Waterford Institute employees

or contract employees reporting to Waterford employees
. For
details regarding the different production activities, see the Phase I Workplan. The majority of
pr
oduction will take place during Phase I, with the exception of programming, which will
continue to be highly involved during development of
subsequent versions of the product
through the test phase and making
any resulting bug fixes prior to the product re
lease. The final
product will be web
-
delivered and does not require additional manufacturing.


g. Revenue stream

Waterford expects the
sequenced Camp Consonant
product to begin generating revenue
within 12 months after release, through initial sales to sc
hool
s,
home
-
school organizations
,
homes, and through resellers. For schools, the focus will be on those

currently using other
Waterford products.

Waterford’s Director of Marketing, will
develop

the institutional sales and
marketing plan for
the new product. She will direct
efforts by Waterford’s marketing team to
create marketing materials that will allow for a quick entrance into
identified
markets.
Waterford has experience in direct sales as well as sales through channel partners for exis
ting
product lines. In addition to working with current partners and resellers, Waterford will seek
additional relationships for the sale of
the sequenced Camp Consonant
. Waterford has sales and
support staff that
can
be scaled up as the project becomes a
success.

The new Camp Consonant
will be priced on a per
-
student annual license plan because
that pricing is simple to calculate and customers are accustomed to it, especially because schools
receive funding from state and federal governments in per
-
student

allotments. For
Camp
Consonant
, it also means users only have to pay one price for unlimited usage instead of needing
to pay for each activity on application. We
will
package the four levels of Camp Consonant into
two products

L
evels 1
and
2 and Levels 3

and 4

ea
ch
price
d at $99
/student/year.

Sales staff will be divided into teams of outside/inside reps charged with building a
weighted pipeline to three times the annual revenue target. Sales teams will focus on
connections to large LEAs and SEA leadershi
p for sales as well as to “seed” RFP opportunities.
While overall population is not an indication of potential funding climate or strategic advantage,
it can be used to make decisions about the development of geographic sales regions. In addition,
over 5
50 educators and educational leaders have attended Waterford workshops organized by
Pearson sales reps in 2008
-
2010. This data will be used to provide potential clues as to states
where
Camp Consonant
might have the best traction.

O
ver a five
-
year period,

we estimate the following:

23




Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

# Outside Sales Reps

3

5

7

7

7

Camp Consonant

Revenue

after expenses

$

$
375
,
000


$
987,000

$
1,900,000

$
3
,
750
,
000


Revenue from
Camp Consonant
will provide essential support for Waterford as it
reevaluates it current relationship with Pearson in the next several years. Revenue will be used
to continue to improve
the product
, contribute to Waterford’s general operations that support all
Waterford

products, and provide seed
-
money for Waterford’s R&D effort as it responds to early
education needs that can be well
-
addressed by technology.


9. Project Team


Biographical Summary of Each Key Project Personnel (need Chris
Council’s bio
, Daren Child’s bio, updated version of Haya’s bio
)







10. Resources


Waterford’s unique facilities resources will enable the Institute to successfully develop
the Camp Consonant sequencer. Waterford’s state
-
of
-
the
-
art production facility includes 240

production and testing servers, more than 160 terabytes of live disc storage, and a cutting
-
edge
data center with redundant environmental systems and power. Such well
-
developed facilities
ensure that WRI has both the technical capacity to support a projec
t of this size and the necessary
support staff in place to carry it out. Waterford’s facilities are capable of storing not only a large
amount of data, but a wide variety as well. Every question, answer, distracter, response time,
item difficulty, sequen
cer path and piece of demographic information will be recorded both for
further student evaluations and data analysis. One of the most important aspects of the
production process is WRI’s quality assurance department, which includes testing facilities with

more than 200 machines running multiple platforms (Mac, Windows, and Linux) that constantly
tests every aspect of WRI products to ensure they are performing to real
-
world technical
specifications. A comprehensive database is maintained on all product bug
s, and existing
software is constantly updated to optimize performance, maintain compatibility with various
operating systems, and ensure seamless execution.



11. Similar or Closely Related Proposals or Awards
: NA




24