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Agama Technology creates software to aid educators statewide

ALLISON MILES

By ALLISON MILES
Sept. 6, 2012 at 4:06 a.m.


A bit of technology developed and programmed in Victoria now affects educators throughout the Lone Star State.

Education consulting firm Engage Learning contacted Agama Technology in late February for help in developing a way to allow clients to collaborate online, said Shannon Buerk, chief learning officer at Engage Learning.

The goal, she said, was to train educators on the process that goes into designing curricula for project-based learning and to use the site to house their projects.

Other educators could then access the system and glimpse other stored projects.

Project-based learning is a process where students gain knowledge by solving real-world problems, according to an Agama news release.

Agama sat down with Engage Learning to determine the company's needs and programming feasibility, said Steve Adams, manager of Agama Technology. Although Engage initially knew what it was looking for, development would have taken about six months.

Engage needed the finished product in six weeks.

Adams said the companies worked together, weighing needs against wants and came to agreements. A three-person Agama team met its deadline without much time to spare.

"It literally came right down to the wire," he said. "They were using the program the day after we finished. But we finished."

The launch went smoothly, Buerk said, explaining that, even though the educators weren't trained on the specific site, an understandable interface allowed them to self-navigate.

"From that initial launch we've already made some enhancements and added some different features and functionality," she said, explaining Agama assisted them throughout the process. "It's something that's really dynamic and growing with the users' experience."

Buerk said more than 1,000 educators now access the website, and about 550 projects already call the site home.

For Adams, he said it was gratifying to know his team produced a good product, and that it was in use by so many people. It made a difference, he said, that Engage went into the discussion knowing exactly what it was looking for.

"They had a good, clear picture of what they wanted, and that helped," he said. "I don't think either side could have done it without the other."

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