Education

NROC | Networked for Change

Networked for Change, NROC 2017

Education leaders take action to scale innovative practices

CHALLENGE

In 2016, NROC's marketing leadership identified "Networked for Change" as the theme of their upcoming 2017 annual member meeting.  Blue Marble was tasked with developing a visual identity for the theme.  

INSIGHT

The team at NROC felt inspired by aspen trees and wanted to use an aspen forest as a metaphor to describe how being "networked" is a powerful force for change. We agreed that the idea was a great fit for this collaborative group of education leaders. In order to execute the idea, the branding program would need to appeal both to young teachers and seasoned administrative leaders—not too trendy and yet not too staid.

"Networked for Change emphasizes how natural and human systems of connection encourage resilience and evolution. The NROC Network of members is a powerful force for change, unified by a commitment to honor and support all learners."

—Amanda Melton, NROC Marketing Director

For the campaign visuals, we paired a geometric look with an organic, hand-drawn illustration. The illustration shows an aspen forest across a landscape with connected roots underground. In addition to creating the illustration, we developed the overall visual identity, including the Networked for Change logo and a style guide with defined colors, fonts, and graphic elements. Working closely with the NROC marketing team, the theme was integrated into conference activities. The visual identity was applied across a range of media, including signage, name tags, agenda, tote bags, notebooks, a card deck, slide presentations, websites, emails, conference app, and more.

RESULTS

The Networked for Change branding succeeded in capturing the mood of this nonprofit project as its membership works behind-the-scenes to re-think pathways to student success and improve outcomes within the U.S. education system. Beyond that, the graphic identity has brought delight and interest to the often dry and thankless task of action planning for large-scale educational programs.

For Blue Marble, it has been a real privilege to take part in such an inspiring grassroots movement and to see participation and momentum growing after years of hard work. 

2017 Ambassador award winner and California Adult Education professional, Penny Pearson proudly displays her award featuring the Networked for Change aspen illustration.

(click images below to view as slideshow, scroll down for video case study)

Video case studIes: NROC Annual Meeting 2017 Highlights


About NROC Membership / Annual Meeting 2017 Graphics


Creative Direction: Christine Fisher (BMC) / Amanda Melton (NROC)
Art Direction, Design, and Illustration: Christine Fisher, Blue Marble Creative
Photography: Jennifer Jones   ||   Videography: Wiley Watson
Aspen concept: Terri Rowenhorst / Ilse Wolf  ||   Video direction / project assist: Suzanne Wright Baumhaukl


CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education

 
 

NROC | Champions for Change

Champions for Change, NROC 2016

Education leaders come together to create the changes they wish to see

CHALLENGE

As a long-time advisor to the NROC marketing team, we join in annual strategic planning sessions to outline strategies, and tactics for the coming year. In late 2015, while developing the 2016 marketing plan, NROC's marketing leadership identified a theme of "Champions for Change." Blue Marble was tasked with developing a graphic identity for this new theme. The graphics would be used for NROC-hosted meetings, events, and other promotions throughout the year. Blue Marble also assisted with planning by asking clarifying questions and documenting the strategy in an organized, visual format. The slide deck and summary sheet we designed helped NROC marketing staff to relate their vision easily to managers across the organization. 

INSIGHT

As a short-term campaign, Champions for Change (C4C) graphic identity would work with and play off of the organization’s overall brand identity. NROC represents a forward-thinking, innovative group of technologists and educators. It's important to keep pace with trends and present a feeling of being in-touch with the future. Our goal was to strike the right balance—staying clearly aligned with the NROC organization's main brand while also putting forth something fresh and inspiring.

RESULTS

The graphic identity we created for the Champions for Change campaign makes direct reference to the NROC organizational logo, which includes a triangle shape inside the letter O (symbolizing a play button and forward movement). The new variation on this symbol emphasizes the outlines of the circular O shape with breaks in the line so that it also reads as two Cs (for Champions for Change). Design decisions were summarized in a simple style guide and then applied to a variety of posters, name tags, flyers, and other swag to be used at events throughout the year. The graphics have been well-received by audiences, setting the tone for an energetic and aspirational 2016.

 style guide for 2016 Champions for Change theme (an internal document)

style guide for 2016 Champions for Change theme (an internal document)

 meeting participants (showing name tags, buttons, posters in background)

meeting participants (showing name tags, buttons, posters in background)

 NROC staff and ambassadors wore buttons to represent the main products NROC has created.

NROC staff and ambassadors wore buttons to represent the main products NROC has created.

 Blue Marble designed artwork for tote bags and various other items, including a simple black and white meeting agenda.

Blue Marble designed artwork for tote bags and various other items, including a simple black and white meeting agenda.

 Posters featuring the C4C theme artwork guide participants to the correct rooms.

Posters featuring the C4C theme artwork guide participants to the correct rooms.

 Flyers with inspirational quotes reinforce the theme and encourage reflection.

Flyers with inspirational quotes reinforce the theme and encourage reflection.

NROC-C4C-poster-face-LARGE_v3-5-hr.jpg

Faces of real NROC leaders, learners, and teachers were featured on campaign posters.

 NROC staff hand out name tags, drink tickets, and registration packets.

NROC staff hand out name tags, drink tickets, and registration packets.

 A conference app was branded with theme artwork

A conference app was branded with theme artwork

 NROC staff pose with EdReady glasses and a themed backdrop

NROC staff pose with EdReady glasses and a themed backdrop

 NROC is an organization that genuinely makes a difference in the lives of students and education professionals. Latonia (pictured above) is now attending Solano Community College in California and majoring in Political Science. She plans to attend law school.

NROC is an organization that genuinely makes a difference in the lives of students and education professionals. Latonia (pictured above) is now attending Solano Community College in California and majoring in Political Science. She plans to attend law school.

photos by Jen Jones


CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education


EdReady | Math assessment and intervention

EdReady | Math assessment and intervention

From middle school to college, students across the U.S. are using EdReady to fill their knowledge gaps and surpass their own expectations.

CHALLENGE

When NROC's founder, Gary Lopez, first told us about his vision for EdReady in 2012, NROC had recently secured funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build EdReady. The app would allow students to determine their readiness for college math based on their unique goals, then provide a personalized study path to fill in their knowledge gaps. The big goal was to save hardworking people's precious time and money and to really address the issue of college remediation in a new way. EdReady would be a free online tool with a more advanced and customized version used in educational institutions nationwide.

EdReady needed to appeal to a broad spectrum of people. Imagine a student headed to a rigorous college STEM program, or an adult with math anxiety striving to earn a G.E.D. A project like this requires the involvement of many stakeholders. Blue Marble was engaged to handle design for EdReady, both UX design and the brand identity and marketing materials.

INSIGHT

 Christine Fisher and John Watson of Evergreen Education Group discuss EdReady with high school students during a day of user testing.

Christine Fisher and John Watson of Evergreen Education Group discuss EdReady with high school students during a day of user testing.

NROC is unique in that their work is guided by a national network of educational institutions. Therefore, the need to get buy-in from students, schools, and other education leaders is embedded into its business model. 

Blue Marble helped with focus groups to test our assumptions and gain valuable insight into the user’s experience with early prototypes. Within the first three months, the interface underwent three major revisions based on feedback from students and teachers. We observed a wide spectrum of attitudes about math and college, learning our target audience's own language so we could gain their trust and engagement.  

RESULTS

  • EdReady is currently being used by institutions across the U.S. including some entire state systems such as Montana, Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Tennessee, North Carolina, and others.

  • A short documentary (about Montana) is available to show what a statewide implementation of EdReady looked like in 2015. Blue Marble was involved in the production of this film, conducting the interviews and providing feedback during the editing process.

  • EdReady has matured from the concept stage to become a fully functional product with a coherent brand and story that continues to unfold.

  • Based, in part, on the value EdReady brings to educational institutions, NROC has been able to increase membership and is working toward becoming a self-sustaining project.

Work Examples

Explainer Video

Blue Marble produced this first explainer video in 2014, including script, storyboards, illustration, voiceover, motion and sound design. Due to our careful planning the video serves a variety of needs and has been customized for multiple states and school systems.

Promotion

 In 2015 we produced a six-part  online toolkit  for education leaders to promote EdReady within their own institutions. A variety of customizable materials and a complete style guide were included.

In 2015 we produced a six-part online toolkit for education leaders to promote EdReady within their own institutions. A variety of customizable materials and a complete style guide were included.

 The toolkit was also shared as a credit-card-sized flash drive in conference bags. Our work has included designs for conference signage, name tags, and collateral.

The toolkit was also shared as a credit-card-sized flash drive in conference bags. Our work has included designs for conference signage, name tags, and collateral.

User Interface Design

 A suite of reports allows administrators and teachers to support students using EdReady. How is Ms. Sandoval's Algebra 1 class performing? How has Elizabeth been spending her time inside EdReady? How did Jonathan reach his target score so quickly? Blue Marble helped NROC to create a system that answers questions like these based on research into the needs of EdReady's administrative users.

A suite of reports allows administrators and teachers to support students using EdReady. How is Ms. Sandoval's Algebra 1 class performing? How has Elizabeth been spending her time inside EdReady? How did Jonathan reach his target score so quickly? Blue Marble helped NROC to create a system that answers questions like these based on research into the needs of EdReady's administrative users.

 The "study path" where a student can learn about topics they need to study, then check their knowledge to improve their scores. Students can learn and assess themselves at their own pace in a low-stakes environment with constant feedback.

The "study path" where a student can learn about topics they need to study, then check their knowledge to improve their scores. Students can learn and assess themselves at their own pace in a low-stakes environment with constant feedback.

 

CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Interaction/interface design

Customer/user experience

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Print and digital publication

Illustration, photography, video production, motion graphics

FOCUS

Education


“I think of Blue Marble as part of our team. Without their vision and creativity we would not have a fraction of the success we have enjoyed. Blue Marble took the time to understand the students and instructors that we serve, as well as the challenges we face. They committed creatively and emotionally to both our business success and our mission success.”

– Gary Lopez, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, The NROC Project


 
 

“We’ve got many students falling out of higher education. The work NROC is doing in technology and education could not be more important.”

– Martha Kanter, Former U.S. Department of Education Undersecretary




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Hundreds of education leaders have contributed time and expertise to this project and the underlying learning resources. It is truly a labor of love for many.

Hundreds of education leaders have contributed time and expertise to this project and the underlying learning resources. It is truly a labor of love for many.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To learn more about the organization behind EdReady, and to hear what education leaders are saying about EdReady, see the above video. You can also learn more about our work on The NROC Project.

Evergreen Education Group | Keeping pace with K-12 digital learning

Evergreen Education 

Keeping pace with the changing K-12 digital learning landscape

CHALLENGE

Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning is an annual report that examines the status of K-12 online education across the United States. Schools, districts, nonprofits, government, and companies rely on the Keeping Pace annual report and website to pinpoint key challenges and see overarching trends. With so much information to convey, Evergreen Education Group has worked with Blue Marble over the past seven years to enhance the visual presentation of this annual report. Every year we make incremental improvements to make this important body of research more accessible to diverse audiences.

INSIGHT

Knowing that the visual presentation of the data in the Keeping Pace report is nearly as important as the data itself, Blue Marble has taken part in numerous discussions with Keeping Pace authors. We introduced new design concepts for maps, charts, and tables to make the information easier to digest and share — in print and digital formats. Developing these visual tools requires a high level of collaboration between Blue Marble and the report’s authors and stakeholders. In addition, with so many rapid changes happening in the field of online and blended learning, the Keeping Pace printed report quickly becomes dated. A website with a customized content management system and integrated blog allows Evergreen staff to easily disseminate their research, keep information up to date, and share their expertise throughout the year.

RESULTS

Making information fresh and accessible

  • Evergreen Education Group has redefined the way information is conveyed in K-12 online and blended learning.
  • Infographics are now an anchor of the Keeping Pace annual report and website, and are used in presentations, classes and more.
  • Interactive maps on the Keeping Pace website feature up-to-date information.
  • Reports and infographics are available for free download and easy sharing.
  • A fully integrated blog has given Evergreen staff a platform on which to build their thought leadership, expand their reach and allow experts to share relevant news and resources on an ongoing basis.

FORGING AHEAD

For many years, we've worked with the Keeping Pace research team to distill the key findings and transform them into compelling stories. Whether the stories are told through graphics, case studies, or other narrative styles, Blue Marble helps ensure that Keeping Pace delivers rich, compelling content that’s freely available in both print and digital channels.

In 2015 the authors of Keeping Pace decided to shift the focus completely from text to data visualization. We created a significantly greater number of infographics and adjusted the layout to bring in more white space. The result is a visually compelling presentation of data-rich information throughout the whole of the 2015 report; a change that has been positively received by audiences.

cover.png
 

CLIENT

Evergreen Education Group

SERVICES

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education


“Blue Marble has become an indispensable part of our team, providing strategic creative thinking, graphic design and website development. They have given us a professional, creative look and their work is consistently complimented by our clients.”

– John Watson, founder of Evergreen Education Group


NROC | From product to purpose

From product to purpose

Highlighting mission to build a better brand

CHALLENGE

The NROC Project (NROC) is a national nonprofit that gives education leaders, teachers, and learners a voice in the production of digital content and software. Originally known as a “national repository of online courses,” the organization has received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others to build award-winning online learning tools. NROC is especially unique because they receive membership fees from educational institutions. Membership institutions share in both the work and the rewards of these development efforts. In this way, institutions are able to guide the development of learning materials to their own high quality standards while gaining access to excellent resources at a fraction of the typical cost. 

When Blue Marble first started working with NROC in 2008, the organization was comprised of several passionate staff with deep roots in education and technology. They had created various projects and initiatives lacking one recognizable name. The group was successful at securing grant funding and delivering quality work, yet it was difficult to gain recognition in a crowded and competitive marketplace. We were tasked with helping to narrow their approach and to define a brand architecture that could be used consistently long-term. 

INSIGHT

Over its 10-year history, NROC had proven to be much more than a static, “online repository.” Its unique attribute was its truly active community of education leaders. We began our work with a research and discovery phase, where we gained an understanding of the founder's longer-term vision. With that perspective, we suggested modifications to streamline the language for the organization’s projects. While many of these projects were complex, we realized the need for clear, concise names and consistent themes to address a diverse, national audience. This has been a multi-year process, and we are proud to say that due to the persistence and determination of everyone involved, NROC is increasingly gaining recognition for their valuable and innovative work.

 

RESULTS

Taking marketing to the next level

  • NROC began referring to itself as "The NROC Project" to change the focus to the active and participatory nature of the work while retaining their history. 

  • The visual identity has become more modern and professional, with an evolving suite of print and digital collateral to clearly articulate the mission, values, and offering.

  • Various elements of NROC's customer/member experience are now better aligned with the overall organization's identity.

  • NROC has a style guide and templates that staff can use to unify ongoing communications.

  • NROC hired a dedicated marketing director, who brought decades of experience in corporate marketing and collaborated closely with Blue Marble to grow an integrated in-house marketing department.

 

NROC-website1.jpg

CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Communication strategy

User experience design

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

Training and ongoing support

FOCUS

Education


“I think of Blue Marble as part of our team. Without their vision and creativity we would not have a fraction of the success we have enjoyed. Blue Marble took the time to understand the students and instructors that we serve, as well as the challenges we face. They committed creatively and emotionally to both our business success and our mission success.”

– Gary Lopez, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, The NROC Project

SETDA | A clear picture of state education policy and practice

A clear picture of state policy and practice

Sharing state’s regulations and process for acquiring digital instructional materials

CHALLENGE

Several years ago the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) developed an online database called the State Education Policy Center which housed data related to state policies on broadband access, online assessments and professional learning. Both the website’s public user and administrative interfaces were clunky and hard to negotiate such that it was difficult for SETDA staff to keep the site up-to-date with current information. With a large amount of new policy information recently gathered and more on the way, SETDA asked Blue Marble to create a new website that would make the data more accessible and easier to manage.

INSIGHTS

The most significant aspect of the project was the data that resulted from a survey SETDA had issued to all 50 states and two US territories. It was a huge amount of information concerning the procurement of digital instructional materials that is constantly changing. The data needed to be housed in such a way that users could understand the big picture as well as pull out detailed data points as needed. Both SETDA and BMC teams worked hard to comb through and organize this data into a computer-readable format.

Because SETDA intends to add additional topics to the site, it was also important to develop an information architecture that would would allow the site to expand and layer multiple data sets.

A central component of the new website is a data-driven interactive map that helps users easily see what’s happening across the nation with various topics related to digital instructional materials. From this map users can access a detailed profile of their particular state. A comparative table enables users to select up to five states to run a side-by-side analysis and ultimately understand the policies, requirements, and process for online content procurement as it relates to their particular situation.

RESULTS

Making policy data accessible and useful

  • State and district leaders better understand policies related to procuring instructional materials in order to best meet student needs and potentially impact policy changes.
  • With this information, publishers, technology developers, and funders know which states are open to innovations and understand individual states’ processes for acquiring digital instructional material.
  • State profiles and data sets can easily be shared, exported or printed.
  • SETDA staff have been able to easily adjust data points within the website’s CMS.
Digital-Instructional-Materials-home.jpg
 

CLIENT

State Education Technology Directors Association

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Education


SETDA | Improving education through technology

Improving education through technology


Uniting multiple initiatives under one brand umbrella

CHALLENGE

State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is a national nonprofit helping build and increase the capacity of state and national leaders to improve education through technology policy and practice. When we first began working with SETDA, the organization had recently completed a strategic planning process that included a brand identity refresh. Yet SETDA’s website remained outdated, and was a poor example of the organization’s technical focus and innovation — a concept that is core to SETDA’s mission. The site’s content was poorly organized, the messaging lacked clarity, and staff could not easily make updates. In addition, SETDA project initiatives that warranted individual websites were not integrated into the parent website, creating an information gap and disjointed user experience.   

INSIGHT

As important as having a clean, modern website and content management system (CMS) was having a seamless interface between SETDA’s parent website and its microsites. All of these interconnected websites needed to have a consistent look and one CMS. By using a WordPress multi-site install, we were able to establish a single database from which all sites originate and that allows for a multi-faceted search across all SETDA websites. The SETDA team had long been frustrated with the disorganization of their website content and their inability to efficiently manage it so it was critical for us to create custom modules in the CMS that would reduce staff members' level of effort.

RESULTS

Stakeholders are well connected

  • In the absence of compelling photography, the new website leverages typographic contrast, a bold color scheme, and strategic use of white space to denote information hierarchy, improve readability, and allow for easy navigation. 
  • Numerous customized editors in the CMS give SETDA staff a high level of control over their content and makes website administration much more streamlined than ever before.
  • A powerful search allows users to search SETDA’s parent website and its microsites at once, and delivers comprehensive results.

FORGING AHEAD

Since the launch of the parent website, Blue Marble has developed additional microsites that operate independently but share important database and stylistic features that bring cohesion to front- and back-end user experience.

 

CLIENT

State Education Technology Directors Association

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Education


Evergreen Education Group | A brand shift

A brand shift

Repositioning an established company with a new focus

CHALLENGE

Founded in 2000 as Evergreen Consulting Associates, Evergreen Education Group underwent a major change in 2009 when the founder decided to transition away from environmental consulting and focus exclusively on the education technology (edtech) sector. This shift required a new company name, a new brand identity, and new communication tools such as a website and business stationery. As long-time partners, the company reached out to Blue Marble for help.

INSIGHT

Our approach to Evergreen’s rebrand centered around market research and personal interviews with the company’s staff and key clients so we could understand current perceptions and the distance between those and the ultimate vision for the business. Through this research, we discovered that Evergreen should capitalize its ability to maintain neutrality in its work (impartiality is highly valued when working with private, governmental and nonprofit entities in education) and create a timeless image that would resonate with an ever-evolving audience. We helped Evergreen see the value of keeping its current name whose meaning was multifaceted, and evolved the wording slightly to allow for growth and clarification of their specialization.

RESULTS

Elevating Evergreen Education Group as an edtech leader

  • The company’s new identity has supported Evergreen’s thought leadership and new business development.
  • A suite of print and digital materials has helped Evergreen convey its story to gain recognition as a well-established, highly-valued research and consultant in the K-12 edtech space.
  • Strong brand guidelines, templates, and a content management system for Evergreen’s website have allowed staff to expand their communication efforts and retain a consistent visual identity

FORGING AHEAD

Since its rebrand, Evergreen has grown into a mid-sized company that utilizes a carefully crafted network of consultants and partners to fulfill its mission. The company is reputed as a leading edtech research and consulting firm. As the company’s service offerings have evolved, Blue Marble has helped Evergreen define and explain its value proposition to potential clients — through brochures, presentations, and other marketing materials.

 

CLIENT

Evergreen Education Group

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education


EdSource | California education news

Highlighting issues and increasing readership

California education news reaches a wider audience

CHALLENGE

EdSource has a great reputation among policymakers for in-depth research reporting, but most website visitors would come for one story and then leave. EdSource believed many readers were missing out on relevant stories because the site design made it hard to see anything but the most recent news feed. The organization came to Blue Marble looking to widen its reach with a more accessible and engaging online format.

INSIGHT

EdSource had already given their situation a lot of thought and initial research. We helped them dive deeper into discussions about information architecture and content hierarchy, which are critical aspects for a news site. It was important to balance the presentation of shorter stories that are typically more widely appealing with showcasing the robust research reporting for which EdSource is known.

Color and whitespace were used to distinguish major topic areas and increase the scanability and readability of the pages. The commenting feature was redesigned to encourage reader discussion through a friendlier, cleaner experience, eliminate spamming and ease administration. We we also redeveloped the search functionality to produce accurate and thorough results for staff and readers alike. We took great care to map the styles and content categories of the old site to the new one so that migration of thousands of past articles was an efficient, accurate and nearly seamless process.

Most importantly we built the new site with a customized content management system that would make website administration frustration-free for staff, even those without much technical experience. Special editors, user-specific plug-ins, and content categorizations allow for clearly organized content areas on the back-end.

RESULTS

EdSource has seen a measurable increase in retention on the site and increased traffic.

  • Staff reporters feel empowered to publish their articles and use a pre-determined set of styles and formatting to ensure consistent presentation.
  • The site is built responsively so that it delivers a positive experience for mobile, tablet, and desktop users.
  • The new site search allows readers and staff to make accurate and thorough content queries.
  • The new look and feel has modernized EdSource’s image and brought into alignment readers’ perceptions of the organization with the reality of EdSource’s work on the leading edge of education news coverage.

FORGING AHEAD

A dynamic site with actively engaged readership requires ongoing support to maintain optimal performance and build out new features. We are also working with EdSource to update other digital publication channels.

 

CLIENT

EdSource

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Education


iNACOL | Raising awareness of student-centered education

Raising awareness of student-centered education

Cohesive identity expands reach and deepens credibility

CHALLENGE

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to ensure that all students have access to a world-class education no matter their geographic location or demographic profile. Blue Marble was initially hired by iNACOL to lay out its research documents. We developed a clean, sophisticated brand identity for iNACOL’s research reports, policy briefs, and related documents, which helped the organization steadily gain visibility and credibility. Eventually, iNACOL asked Blue Marble for an increasing level of support with the creation of print and digital materials to support growing website visitation, conference attendance, and publication needs.

INSIGHT

We saw the need for iNACOL to elevate its profile in the edtech sector and convey its level of expertise and professionalism. With an initial focus on research publications, we soon broadened our efforts to encompass iNACOL’s websites, conference materials, and other marketing collateral in order to create a seamless brand experience. With a large and growing body of research reports, books and other documents, it was important to create a system to organize and distribute iNACOL’s published content. We also needed to determine how the parent website would incorporate various customer relations and admin applications that iNACOL uses.

RESULTS

Expanding reach and impact

  • With professionally produced publications, iNACOL felt comfortable with offering hard copies for purchase and this allowed the organization to realize a new stream of revenue.
  • The parent website features a powerful online resource library that gives staff the ability to catalog and organize their work, a feature that becomes ever more important as iNACOL’s published content accumulates.
  • The parent website interfaces with the organization’s customer relationship management (CRM) software, online payment system, and email marketing platform to streamline and automate many administrative and customer service tasks.
  • iNACOL’s annual conference has grown from a few hundred to several thousand attendees and its coordinated signage, programs, event sponsor materials, and related conference collateral ensure a unified message and experience.

FORGING AHEAD

Blue Marble continues to support the packaging and dissemination of iNACOL’s work and its marketing efforts. As the organization continues to grow in staff and membership, we have become more involved earlier in project cycles so that we can understand and address the complexities of their administrative needs and business goals.

 

CLIENT

International Association for K-12 Online Learning

SERVICES

Customer/user experience planning

Brand and message development

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

Training and ongoing support

FOCUS

Education


SETDA | Helping schools with technology readiness

Helping schools with technology readiness

One simple guide to what’s required for online assessments

CHALLENGE

In preparation for online testing, school districts need to discern what aspects of their technology they might need to bring up-to-speed to be able to conduct Common Core-aligned assessments. With these online assessments developed by six different state-led consortia, the amount of technical requirements to sort through is large and varied and none of it was collected into a single location for review. The State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recognized a need for this resource and asked Blue Marble to help with the task of collecting, aggregating and housing the technical requirements from all six consortia. The lists of technical requirements from each consortia are long and change periodically. In addition, school districts do not belong to all six consortia, nor do all of the decision makers have the technical expertise needed to understand what the requirements mean for their schools.  

The purpose of The Guide to Technology Requirements website is to provide technical assistance to states and districts on issues related to school technology readiness for implementation of next-generation Common Core-aligned assessments, especially the technology requirements of the tests offered by the six assessment consortia.

INSIGHT

With consideration of varied, detailed and evolving technical requirements, we determined that an interactive online chart would give users the ability to filter and interpret the information based on their specific needs. While consulting Blue Marble to define how the information would be presented, SETDA also convened consortia leaders to organize the requirements in clear categories that allows for an apples-to-apples comparison. A special editing module in the website’s content management system allows SETDA staff to manage all the information in the chart so that it can be kept up-to-date and accurate. Although the technical requirements chart is the primary focal point, the site also includes detailed information about each of the six consortia and guidance about broader issues as they relate to school technology readiness. Finally, as a project of SETDA, it was important for us to design the site’s interface and user experience to tightly align to that of SETDA’s organizational website.  

RESULTS

Bringing clarity to a single location

  • The guidance SETDA provides alongside the technology requirements helps districts evaluate their overall technology environment and how it supports their teaching, learning, and day-to-day school operations.
  • The ability to customize the chart allows users to access only the requirements and related information that pertains to their situation. Unique URLs, an email function, and specially formatted print capabilities allow users to share their specific version of the chart and for non-technical staff at the school to easily see what is needed to get their building ready for testing
  • Private sector/edtech vendors are able to review the complete listing of technical requirements for all six consortia to see how their product matches up overall.
 

CLIENT

State Education Technology Directors Association

SERVICES

Website design and development

FOCUS

Education


“Many schools and districts already are thinking about how to meet the technology requirements for the new tests, and this site will prove invaluable for their planning needs today and into the future as technology requirements for testing evolve.”

– Douglas Levin, Executive Director for SETDA