Nearpod Refines its Ability to Meet Instructional Needs, Using Academic Benchmarks Standards Alignment

Nearpod is an award-winning education technology company which creates digital learning tools, virtual reality and interactive content across multiple devices, providing teachers an easy and efficient way to bring interactive learning into the classroom.

Adam Franklin, learning experience designer at Nearpod, shared his perspective on how Academic Benchmarks™ has changed the way the company approaches learning standards alignment to better serve educators’ needs, and how the shift to Academic Benchmarks has impacted their business.

The Academic Benchmarks unique identifier (the AB GUID) and repository of more than 4 million machine-readable learning standards are used by nearly 200 edtech companies and learning content providers. Academic Benchmarks also includes the most extensive collection of education taxonomies and search terms – accessible via AB Connect™ – so edtech providers can align content to learning standards, tag content, and deliver content search, discovery and recommendation in their learning platforms.

Certica: How are you utilizing Academic Benchmarks, AB Connect and other Certica capabilities today?

Adam Franklin: We use Academic Benchmarks in a few different capacities. First, we leverage the learning standard alignment services to align our growing library of over 6,000 lessons to all 50 states’ learning standards. We also use the AB Connect alignment capability to help our scriptwriters and contractors expand initial alignments to all 50 states. We leverage the AB Connect search capability so that all these alignments can be made live in our content store’s search filter, so teachers can search by their state’s standards.

Certica: How were you accumulating, implementing and updating learning standards into Nearpod products before implementing Academic Benchmarks and AB Connect?

Adam Franklin: To put it simply, we weren’t. We had been identifying core standards in the metadata for each lesson, but these were sporadic and only aligned to one arbitrary set of standards. None of this data was visible to users, and no database served as a common reference point, either. 

Certica: What was the catalyst that made you consider adopting Academic Benchmarks?

Adam Franklin: In the past year, Nearpod has received quite a bit of interest from school districts for district-wide purchases, whereas before we were selling primarily to schools. Selling to school districts, especially when curriculum is a major part of the offering, meant we had a lot more stakeholders involved whose needs we had to address. The preeminent requirement most curriculum specialists have is a set of alignments to their state’s standards, to ensure the resources we provide will be immediately useful to their teachers. We wanted to be sure we provided the most accurate alignments possible in a manner that allowed us to update alignments as the standards landscape evolves. Accordingly, we searched for a partner that could help both with alignment services and technical support in making those alignments live in our search filter. 

Certica: What was the initial impact of implementing Academic Benchmarks?

Adam Franklin: I can say that there are big opportunities with districts in states that require us being able to say our content is aligned to their state’s standards to even get our foot in the door. The confidence to approach these districts would not have been possible without the assurance that Certica could help us meet these alignment needs in a high-quality and efficient manner. 

Certica: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience with Certica?

Adam Franklin: The folks I have been in contact with at Certica have been incredibly responsive to our ever-changing needs. They have provided multiple trainings for different contractors, worked in concert with our product team to discuss API integration, and are available to help troubleshoot problems at a moment’s notice. On multiple occasions they have pulled up-to-date alignment reports for specific states within the hour, allowing us to seriously impress the districts we are approaching. We rest much easier knowing the team is there for us.

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