EdTrex LLC, the University of Colorado and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) today announced an exclusive option agreement allowing EdTrex to continue developing a software platform enabling on-demand creation of customizable curricula using curated open education resources. The company is actively engaged in extending its technology to address additional opportunities in classroom learning and front-line administration.
The software platform, named E-Hub, is the result of four years of research headed by Tamara Sumner, Ph.D., an associate professor of cognitive science and computer science at CU’s Boulder campus. Sumner co-directs Digital Learning Sciences, a joint research and development center between CU-Boulder and UCAR. Through research funded by the National Science Foundation (and incorporating input from Colorado and out-of-state school district teachers and administrators), the research group developed a teacher-centric, cloud-based system allowing educators to create customized curricula using curated resources from open education databases and publisher-provided materials. E-Hub is especially focused on content and curricula for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math).
In the six school districts where the E-Hub platform has been deployed so far (involving nearly 100 schools and 400 teachers), 90% of teachers said they would recommend the platform to other educators. In one study, student outcomes improved up to 35% based on standard test scores.
“For the first time, teachers can respond immediately and effectively to adaptions of instructional content that best suit the individual needs of each of their students,” said EdTrex CEO John Stearns. “We know all students learn differently. Now teachers can address those differences on the spot and achieve extraordinary learning outcomes.”
“Empowering teachers to customize curricula is particularly critical for today’s diverse learners,” added Sumner. “A study conducted by researchers from Utah State University1 found that students of teachers who took advantage of the rich features in the E-Hub platform showed significantly higher learning gains. In addition, these teachers’ use of E-Hub tended to benefit student populations that had a larger portion of low socio-economic status students.”
Mary Marlino, director of Digital Learning Services at UCAR, said, “We are especially excited about the transfer of this technology into classroom settings. This is a very satisfying culmination of a dozen years of working very closely with the CU team in developing services to support open education resources in the classroom.”
Beyond curriculum design, EdTrex plans to develop the software platform to support next-generation classroom and instructional management requirements. Following the advent of Common Core and other emerging standards, EdTrex is collaborating with Denver Public Schools to engage teachers and administrators in the development of a software tool to help manage Student Learning Objectives in the classroom and throughout the district. A beta version of this tool could be deployed as early as the 2015-16 academic year.
“We’re excited about the potential of EdTrex and the E-Hub software platform to transform the classroom,” said CU Tech Transfer’s Molly Markley. “EdTrex is well positioned for success with the group’s extensive expertise in digital content management and user-centered design, and John’s 10+ years of leading a successful e-learning software company. Additionally, the research group’s ongoing partnership with Denver Public Schools means educators will continue to play an integral role in developing a system teachers will actually use.”