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Success Stories by Department of Education

Mar 10, 2015

On June 3, 2014, New York City-based education technology firm Teachley won a 2014 Apple Design Award (see: for their app, Addimal Adventure. Each year, Apple hosts the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, during which they recognize outstanding iOS apps. Teachley: Addimal Adventure, available free for iPad, was 1 of 12 apps to win this award. The research and development of this app is supported with funding from a 2012 Phase I and a 2013 Phase II award from the IES SBIR program.

Addimal Adventure is a research-based game that supports grade school students in using multiple strategies to learn mathematical concepts aligned to Common Core standards. To play the game, students use and manipulate blocks, linker tubes, number lines, and interact with...

May 15, 2012


Product: Agile Mind’s core product— a comprehensive on-line system—supports student engagement and achievement in middle- and high-school mathematics and science. With IES SBIR funding, Agile Mind developed 30 web-based visualizations to embed in the biology modules of its core product. The interactive and animated visualizations address concepts central to state and national standards. Key features of the visualizations include: (a) elements a user manipulates (start/pause/repeat buttons, sliders, drag-able pieces, variables to adjust); (b) imagery that explicitly makes real-world connections to key content; (c) multiple representations to support deeper understanding of...

May 15, 2012


Product: FluidMath is a software intervention designed for teaching and learning basic algebra. FluidMath combines the familiar and natural experience of sketching math problems with the power of computer generated solutions. As users write math expressions and make drawings on the screen of a pen-enabled computer (e.g., Tablet PC or Interactive Whiteboard), FluidMath recognizes the handwritten math formulae and sketches and generates solutions in the form of algebraic expressions, computations, graphs, and dynamic animations. An on-line Professional Development (OPD) program trains teachers to learn and integrate FluidMath within classroom...

Oct 25, 2011

Touch Graphics, Inc.
New York, NY 10018

Like many entrepreneurs, Steven Landau studied a field that ended up having nothing to do with the one he ultimately pursued. An architect by training, after graduating from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, he went to work in New York. Here, he “discovered that I really had a bent for invention.” He met up with a professor from the City University of New York who was blind, and, in 1997, a business was born making educational materials accessible for people with visual impairments.

Owing to a small market size and the limited purchasing power of its target audience, disability companies aren’t ideal clients for venture capitalists. Instead, Landau turned to the SBIR Program for what he describes as an R&D injection (the first of six grants). That boost proved to be vital. “We would not exist without SBIR,” he says. “There’s no question about that. It has been the central enabling tool that’s permitted...

Jul 30, 2011

Nimble Assessment Systems, Inc.
Newton, MA 02458

With a 2008 award from the SBIR program at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the firm successfully developed NimbleTools. NimbleTools delivers standard versions of assessment instruments and tailors embedded accommodation tools to meet the specific needs of each student. Some of the accommodation tools include a keyboard with custom keyboard overlays, the capacity of the system to read text aloud for students, an onscreen avatar presenting questions in American Sign Language or Signed English, and the magnification of text and images for students with visual impairments. Research on more than 2600 students demonstrated the feasibility and validity of NimbleTools as a method to accommodate to the identified needs of the students being assessed.  As well, while controlling for prior performance, findings from math and reading test...

Jul 30, 2011

Children’s Progress
New York, NY 10018

With funding from the SBIR program at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and other sources, Children’s Progress developed and refined its computer-adaptive dynamic assessment (CPAA) for early childhood. The assessment covers concepts in early literacy and mathematics for students in pre-kindergarten through grade 3. The CPAA facilitates student learning through animated interactive scaffolding procedures and instructional activities. The CPAA also delivers immediate formative assessment information to teachers through graphical, progress, and narrative reports that help pinpoint and address specific areas for individualized instruction. The product also provides parental reports that explain assessment results in user-friendly language and suggest targeted “at-home” instructional activities.

Through years of collaboration between Columbia University researchers and...

Jul 30, 2011

3C Institute for Social Development
Cary, NC 27513

Can research and innovation prevent depression, anxiety, and academic failure that result when children feel picked on or bullied? Dr. Melissa DeRosier knows that they can. Her company, 3-C Institute for Social Development (3-C ISD), has researched and commercialized intervention programs for social-emotional health, including social skills programs for children, adolescents, and parents.

Dr. DeRosier started 3-C ISD when, after working in schools on her own research, she realized that schools don’t use or even know about the many evidence-based programs that result from research studies. Instead, schools use commercial products with little or no grounding in research to address issues like bullying and school climate. Evidence-based programs sit on shelves in libraries and never actually get used. She set out to change that.

“At 3-C ISD, we’re dedicated to doing the research to make sure that...

Jun 9, 2011

Quantum Simulations, Inc
Murrysville, PA 15668

Projects Highlights - With support from the SBIR program at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and other funding sources, Quantum developed a suite of web-based artificial intelligence (AI) learning tutors and assessment tools for chemistry and mathematics education. The tutors facilitate and scaffold learning through an interactive process that allows students to select their own problems, ask questions, and receive automated step-by-step tutoring feedback on their work. The web-based on-demand tutors are intended for K-16 students or adult or distance learners, and can be used in classrooms in direct support of a curriculum or as an independent tool for self-study, homework, or test preparation.  Theuser interface is independent of the AI engine underneath, and can be modified to fit any age group....