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Introducing the Positive Action Mobile Apps

Positive Action is excited to announce the ongoing development of a suite of mobile apps for its users. These services have been under development for more than a decade. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science encouraged Positive Action to pursue a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research Grant, as a catalyst to develop an effective interactive social and emotional learning technology. After months of discussion and preparation, Positive Action submitted a proposal to explore currently-available technologies that could be adapted or comported for Positive Action lessons. The grant application was quickly approved and in 2006, Positive Action hired several contractors to review the technical feasibility of adapting Positive Action lessons for different technologies.

After 18 months of investigation, the technical team concluded that the development of an interactive technology was not feasible at that time. The team did conclude that the instructional content could be converted for delivery on various devices. Several years later, Google and Apple launched their respective mobile ecosystems and it became apparent that mobile devices were better attuned for publshing instructional content than traditional PC’s. As these technologies matured, Positive Action began compiling a list of features that would be important for its customers. About two years ago, Positive Action began the formal specification and conceptualization process.

Positive Action has now completed a development roadmap which includes four mobile apps and an integrated web portal. These services will change the way teachers, students, parents and administrators use and learn Positive Action. The conceptualization and design of these apps required substantial planning and foresight as mobile technologies are constantly evolving. Given the large library of content, the development team was also charged with the herculean task of preparing more than 2,000 lessons for use in the apps. Positive Action is pleased to report that the development team has completed these two major milestones and developers are now hard at work in making these apps a reality.

The apps will feature a built-in function to provide granular feedback for each individual lesson. When these apps are launched, Positive Action content will be constantly updated as the curation and distribution process for digital content is efficient and instantaneous whereas the printed version requires tedious version planning and tracking. In addition to continual updates, Positive Action has initiated a comprehensive rejuvenation project that will affect every product.

For the past six months, Positive Action has been evaluating illustrators and artists from around the world, to assemble an artwork team that can provide a fresh and contemporary vision for Positive Action and its content. The recruitment process is complete, and the artwork team is hard at work. Positive Action is pursuing a grade-by-grade approach to the rejuvenation project, starting with Kindergarten and working incrementally towards Grade 12, also known as High School Kit 4. Users will get a glimpse of these efforts later this summer as the development team is readying a new website that will feature many of the new characters that are under development.

As many educators are currently planning for the next school year and beyond, Positive Action can provide the following synopses of the coming apps and their expected release:

Positive Action for Instructors

This is the primary app for content and is organized just as the kits are organized. This app will feature all the instructional content in the Positive Action library, and users will be free to license any number of grade levels or supplemental topics. When the app is launched, the classroom kits will no longer include a printed manual but rather a perpetual license to grade level content in the app. Customers may continue to purchase a printed manual for an additional charge.

The app will feature several unique functions to help users better plan, organize and optimize their implementations. Users will be able to search for specific content by keywords. If a user finds specific content from a grade level above or below their own, they may subscribe to that content on either a termed or perpetual basis. For example, a 3rd grade teacher searches the library for lessons on friendship, they see the content they have available in their 3rd grade content but the app will also show them lessons from 4th grade that could integrate well with another topic or lesson. That teacher can then subscribe to the 4th grade content, without buying the accompanying kit.

As the teacher progresses through the year, they may find that the content from 4th grade is very useful, but there are printed materials that accompany those lessons that they do not have. The app will allow users to order the necessary materials individually, and from within the app. They would also be eligible to purchase a full kit at a discounted price, instead of ordering individual materials.

The app will also have features to organize their lesson plans. Users can bookmark and schedule lessons and send that information to their calendars. Positive Action will also provide fidelity templates that pre-selects important lessons and ensures that instructors are scheduling a balanced number of lessons across the unit concepts. Other features will include smartboards and Chromecast integration for classroom media, SSO interoperability with providers such as Clever and external resource suggestions.

The instructor app will be ready for implementation for the 2020-2021 school year. In preparation for the launch, customers who purchase kits in 2019 will be eligible for a perpetual license via a pre-registration system. Beginning in January 2020, every kit will include instructions for registration.

Positive Action for Students

The student app will provide content from Grade 5 through Grade 12, to students who are enrolled in a Positive Action class. The instructor for the class can authorize content access for up to 50 students. Additional student licenses will be available for purchase. The content will become available to students on their mobile devices as their instructor schedules specific lessons. Later iterations will feature an integrated data tracking system to track and monitor students' progress. The student app will launch in 2021 and will be ready for implementation for the 2021-2022 school year.

Positive Action for Families

The family app will feature content from the Positive Action Family Kit and Parenting Manual. It will feature the same search and scheduling functions found in the instructor version. It will also feature additional functionality to integrate with the Positive Action Family Classes instructor content. The family app will be ready for implementation for the 2021-2022 school year.

Positive Action for Administrators

The administrator app will provide implementation management functions. Administrators will be able to manage their Positive Action implementations from their mobile devices. This includes coordinating lesson scheduling between instructors and planning school climate activities with principals and other school administrators. Other features will provide fidelity monitoring, user analytics and usage reporting. The administrator app will be ready for implementation for the 2021-2022 school year.

Web Portal

The web portal will be an extension of the instructor and administrator apps, with additional content functionality for user training, onboarding, and implementation management. Users will be able to access a library of training resources, including video of any on-site training that the user has attended. It will also serve as the platform for new training services that are under development.

Summary

Positive Action has been diligent in its planning and conceptualization of these services. In collaboration with a team of developers, Positive Action has identified technologies that will provide its users with an enriching experience and opportunities for new and exciting products and services.

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