ITSS (Intelligent Tutoring Structured Strategy) is the latest in a suite of educational tools OpenArc has developed, helping to realize decades of expert educational research from some of the leading lights in the field. Operating in the same ecosystem as WeWrite, another OpenArc-built platform, ITSS is a program that introduces elementary students to a structured strategy of reading and writing. In addition to the design and creation of the learning management system, OpenArc developed and produced original, story-driven animations to further bolster the program and to further increase its accessibility and marketability.
When OpenArc was engaged, the ITSS program had been in use for over a decade, and seeing an increase in standardized test scores each year. However, a decade in technology is a lifetime, and improvements became necessary for the program to remain relevant and useful for its intended audience of digital natives. The scope of this project for OpenArc was nothing less than a complete overhaul: taking the existing system and fully modernizing it. Using that system as a reference point, the OA team built a new version from scratch, rewriting from Flash specifically for use on mobile devices (and especially for iPad). Streamlined workflows, massive UI/UX upgrades, and a focus on scalability were key.
On the animation side, the sheer amount of research that needed to be synthesized and boiled down into a simple story approach presented a formidable challenge. The design team was responsible for every aspect of the project: script, storyboards, illustration, animation, and sound recording and editing – distilling extraordinary nuance and detail into an inviting, engaging visual experience. As these are the first videos in a proposed series, another goal of the design team was to put the content in context, looking ahead to the complete story and educating viewers about the value and importance of text structure techniques.
The team at OpenArc provides a complete suite of expertise in all areas of design, development, and dissemination, and provided me the most current technology solutions.
Dr. Kausalai (Kay) Wijekumar, Professor, Teaching, Learning and Culture, Texas A&M University
If you hope to engage minds in training and technique at a young age, it helps to think like a kid.
Our third-party text-to-speech options simply weren’t good enough, so we learned audio engineering to be able to work within our parameters and make our English and Spanish voices more natural.
Researching how to animate speech is weird, wild stuff. Also, “viseme” is just a cool word.
The development of a strategy for integrating applications and utility services via a scalable, centrally authenticated platform architecture will provide critical experience to countless future projects.