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Seamus Company and Technological Solutions

Abstract

Seamus Company produces educational materials for middle school students and is seeking additional educational solutions for its line of products. This paper presents a proposal for the enhancing of the Seamus Company product catalog through an innovative technological solution. The current abundance of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile technology on the market make them an ideal platform for an accessible and interactive educational application that the Seamus Company may find beneficial. The program would at first provide the user with the material that the company already created, as well as exercises based on its lessons. However, by tracking and collecting the user data, the company should be able to improve its products as well as create new ones with the user preferences in mind. The project would require approximately $86,000 dollars for its development including the application, as well as a team of analytics that would be responsible for the analysis of the collected data. My expertise as an IT professional allows me to understand the benefit of automatic feedback gathering, and its positive effect on the development of future projects. The Seamus Company would receive a powerful platform for distribution of new products, as well as a user base that would willingly improve its products through feedback.

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Seamus Company Proposal

Modern technological solutions enable students of all ages to learn outside of the classroom. Smartphones, tablets, and other app-compatible hardware are present in the majority of homes. By taking advantage of the technology proliferation and children’s interest in touchscreen-enabled devices, Seamus Company could augment its product portfolio with effective, and continuously improving mobile learning applications. This proposal will provide an overview of how this project may be implemented.

The Proposed Solution

While mobile applications with a focus on learning are extremely common in the marketplace, the majority of them are static in their development. A teaching company creates an application based on certain topics, releases it, and then it remains the same for the entirety of its product lifespan. Such programs may be successful, but due to their high volume on the market, it is very difficult for the consumer to find those that are appropriate for them. To resolve this issue in an innovative way, the Seamus Company may release a learning application that not only provides information to the customer but uses the data collected from their learning sessions to improve the application and update it with new modules. At the moment, Seamus Company is focused on teaching grammar through cartoon characters, but with a continuously improving application, they would be capable of branching out into science, mathematics, and other school subjects.

In the initial form, the application would be based on the previously developed children’s learning books based on the company’s cartoon characters. Each lesson will be presented as a separate interactive activity where the user would be able to learn and then apply various elements of English grammar. After the end of the lesson, they would be scored based on the number of errors they made and the time they spent on each task. This information would be stored and transferred to the company for further analysis. By analyzing the data, the company would be able to determine which elements of their products are the most successful at teaching and which may need to be improved. Based on this data, the company would be able to improve their existing materials, as well as develop new ones for the application. New installments would become available at an additional cost to the user, but updates to the already purchased material would be free. The solution would implement best practices, innovative technologies and would adhere to all the educational standards. Interactive learning applications have shown to be effective educational tools (Liu & Chen, 2015; Kao, Tsai, Liu, & Yang, 2016) and by integrating continuous improvement into the application, it would ensure that the information is being comprehended.

Examples of Previous Implementations

One of the most successful companies who implemented a similar solution is Duolingo. Their iOS and Android applications are some of the most popular tools for learning foreign languages including French, Spanish, Italian, and a variety of others. While the application is free to download, it provides additional features and learning topics as in-app purchases for its users. Similarly to the proposed application, it evaluates the results of each lesson and keeps track of them for the user. While the way the Duolingo Company analyzes the information they receive is unknown and confidential, it is not unreasonable to assume that it informs the upgrades they implement into the application and the learning materials. While these applications are not the primary product of the company, they became highly lucrative and allowed for much wider exposure of the company. Through the accessible interface of the application, people of all ages are capable of learning a variety of languages that previously required much less portable solutions.

Another popular application on the mobile markets is iTooch Middle School by eduPad Inc. The program utilizes similar technical solutions of presenting learning information in the form of lessons and exercises in mathematics, language arts, music, and sciences. The information is focused on the middle school curriculum and is presented in both text and visual forms. In addition, the company provides more advanced and less advanced packages in the form of other applications. The application is provided for free, but the various subjects are required to be purchased as in-app purchases. As with the previous example, the application evaluates the work of the student and tracks their results across all the lessons.

Pearson Education, Inc. produces a series of desktop and mobile applications that connect under the brand “MyLab.” This is one of the most commonly used learning applications due to its proliferation in universities across the United States. Its functionality is similar to the previous app, but its scope is much larger. Depending on the student’s curriculum, the material available in the application changes from the simplest task to the most complex. The flexibility of the app allowed it to be implemented into a variety of teaching programs, but its functionality is lacking. Users often leave negative reviews of the product, and it has a poor reputation because of it. However, this issue does not relate to the aspects of the proposal. Elements such as automatic evaluation and results tracking function correctly and are some of the reasons behind the application’s popularity among educational institutions.

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Accomplishing the Goals

The primary goals of the proposal are to create a mobile application that would add to the Seamus Company catalog of products and introduce its brand to a wider audience through it. There are multiple elements to the completion of this goal. The first is the need to create the application itself. It may be done from within the company by organizing a programming and support team, or by hiring an outside organization. Then the supporting objective of creating an analysis group would need to be addressed. It is expected that the information that would be provided by the users could be used to improve not only the application but also other products of the company. This is why the analysis group should operate from within the Seamus Company. Preferably, it would be organized from within, but new employees may also be hired as analysts. Subsequently, the existing creative staff would be tasked with the creation of new modules based on the feedback provided by the users. The deliverable of the project is the application itself, and in its final product form, it should be released on both iOS and Android mobile operating systems.

Projected Timeline

It is expected that the project would take approximately six months to complete. The first testing version of the product is expected to be released in June 2018. It would serve to find any possible issues with the application and its data delivery. At the beginning of July 2018, the first full version of the application should be released on iOS. Before the end of July 2018, the Android version should also be released. Then, the application would be used to collect data for the next two months. During this time, the creative team would be working on new modules for the application. By October 2018, the company would release the first new module for the application. Subsequently, this cycle would continue until further changes become required.

List of Required Resources

For the completion of the project and its implementation, a team of programmers would be required. It is estimated that the development would take around $70,000 for the full project, iOS and Android versions and the data delivery system. The cost of the data analysis team would depend on whether the company is capable of creating an internal department without hiring new employees. The base price, however, would be within the limits of $15,000 for equipment such as servers for data storage and analysis.

Evaluation of the Project

Due to the built-in analytics systems of iOS and Android application stores, the process of evaluation would be relatively simple. Statistics such as the number of downloads, star rating left by the users, and the number of purchases would be used to track how the project is being received by the public. Additionally, the content presented in the application would be evaluated based on the results achieved by its users. If people who use the application are having too much difficulty when completing a certain task, then perhaps the lesson contents need to be improved. This way evaluation would be done on both effectiveness and the success of the product.

Justification of Technology

The technological solution of this proposal perfectly fits into the business priorities of the Seamus Company. While the mobile platform allows for accessible interactivity and widespread availability of the company product, the automatic data collection aspect allows the company to continuously expand and improve its catalog of products with modules based on user’s preferences. As it was previously noted, the use of mobile interactive applications have shown to be an effective method of additional education, and the presented examples of other companies on the market show that such applications are quite popular. It would also allow the company to expand its focus to other middle school subjects and diversify its output without the need to produce new physical products.

Letter of Transmittal

JoAnn Miller

Seamus Company

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Supply Chain Department

650 N South Street

Dellberg, WI 99999

Dear Mr. Miller,

I submit this proposal for an interactive mobile educational application based on the previous projects of the Seamus Company, specifically series of books about grammar, to your attention. Its technological application should fulfill the needs of the company by enhancing its catalog with an interactive educational platform on mobile devices. The program would use best practices and should be able to attract a wide array of new customers and demographics. It is designed to allow for continuous improvement through the automatic gathering of user data and its analysis.

The project is expected to be in operation in six months after the approval of the proposal with the first public release of the application occurring in July 2018. Both iOS and Android mobile operating systems would receive the application. The expected budget for the project is $85,000, which would include the development of both the application and the analytics team within the company. The timeline and prices may shift after further discussion of the project, however.

I hope that you will find this project to be beneficial for the Seamus Company and that it would allow for its future development.

Sincerely,

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References

Kao, G. Y.-M., Tsai, C., Liu, C.-Y., & Yang, C.-H. (2016). The effects of high/low interactive electronic storybooks on elementary school students’ reading motivation, story comprehension and chromatics concepts. Computers & Education, 100(9), 56–70. Web.

Liu, P.-L., & Chen, C.-J. (2015). Learning English through actions: A study of mobile-assisted language learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 23(2), 158–171. Web.

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