For the last 15 years, the Small Business Innovation Research Program has awarded grants to support the research and development of commercially viable edtech products such as apps, video games, and software programs that support student learning, teacher practice, and administration.
For FY 2019, the Institute of Education Sciences awarded $10.2 million to 23 organizations.
This year’s grantees are focused on the development of a range of tools such as a platform to evaluate scholastic esports programs, an augmented reality sandbox for early learning STEM instruction, and a web-based tool to assess communication skills that students need for college and career readiness.
Several awards also went to groups researching and developing educational technologies that support students with disabilities and special education administration.
One such grant was awarded to Education Modified for further development of a web-based platform to improve data management related to IEP goals and progress monitoring for special educators and administrators. In 2018, Education Modified received a Phase I ED/SBIR grant to create a prototype of the platform. This year’s Phase II grant will be used to fully develop the platform to host and integrate diverse sources of IEP data from larger school management platforms. The platform would also filter and analyze data and recommend evidence-based practices for educators.
IES also awarded a Phase I grant to IQSonics to support the research and development of an online musical game to address speech delays in preschoolers including students with autism and cognitive disabilities. The game uses musical patterns and songs to increase speech-language learning outcomes.
Several grants were awarded to groups researching and developing the use of augmented and virtual reality technology as a tool to engage learners in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.
For example, one awardee will use the grant to develop an AR app for a science module on magnetism that would use augmented reality to show students the invisible magnetic fields around them and how those fields interact with different objects.
Jennifer Herseim is an editor for LRP Media Group and program chair for Inclusion and Special Education at DA’s Future of Education Technology Conference.