We want children with autism
to reach their full potential.

Infiniteach

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    During ethnographic interviews in homes, we saw parents spending a lot of time creating and customizing learning tools for their children. They also told us they wanted to know more about what their kids were doing in school, and even wished for homework to keep their child occupied and enhance their development.

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    We also shadowed special education teachers in their classrooms. Teachers too spent a lot of time creating and customizing learning tools for their students, and they struggled to communicate progress effectively to parents. However, very few had any semblance of a curriculum, and what resources they had did not include or require homework.

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    Based on the research, our team sketched a wide range of ideas for app features, and started refining with feedback from the client.

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    Our team also gathered feedback and prioritized features with a group of special ed teachers.

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    We explored different visual brand directions with the client team, building on the values we had learned about through research with them and their community.

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    Our design team narrowed to a final logo and set of visual brand guidelines, including color palette, social media icons, fonts, business cards, imagery and website template.

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Project Outputs

Tools
The app we designed allows teachers to “send” homework home virtually, and parents to “send” it back. If both parties have iPads (which was much more common than we expected), this enables students to experience continuity of learning, where the same skills are practiced in multiple environments. In turn, students generalize and internalize these skills.

Children with autism often become really interested in certain topics—maybe cats, or trains—and lessons go better if they revolve around a child’s particular passions. The final app allows teachers to create work sessions with more than two dozen themes related to a child’s exact interests.

We paid particularly close attention to the interaction design, because children with autism thrive under consistent rules. For example, all interactions across 20 games move from left to right, inspiring comfort and confidence in the child.

Our app collects data on each session, so parents and teachers can track student progress, and the tool can increase the level of difficulty as each child learns.

 

Strategies
The strategy for the Skill Champ iPad app came together around the concept of “continuity of learning.” With one tool, teachers and parents could customize activities, track progress and communicate homework, from school to home and back.

Click the image to view our research presentation.

Greater Good Studio not only designed our first app, they reframed our company’s strategy based on the unmet needs of students, parents and teachers.”

Katie Hench, Infiniteach

Client & Community Outcomes

Mindsets
An important goal for the app was to build a team mentality among the group of adults who care for a child with autism. When these adults are not aligned, they can unintentionally slow a student’s learning, but when they are communicating clearly about a child’s goals, they can all support that child much better.

Behaviors
By 2015, Skill Champ had been downloaded over 5,800 times. The app helps kids with autism learn ten early academic skills, including number matching and object sorting. It takes advantage of the visual strengths of children with autism, and incorporates errorless learning, a best practice for their unique learning profile.

Culture
We developed Skill Champ when Infiniteach was still a startup. Based on our research findings, they shifted their company strategy to make continuity of learning a core element of their value proposition. The organization continues to thrive with these values at the center. They have since diversified to focus more broadly on developing products that encompass all skills necessary for success in adulthood, including job readiness and daily living skills, as well as social and communication skills.