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Programmers Guild research may help high school, college students

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Programmers Guild has received funding to help them conduct research into the use of technology in remedial math education and create Web apps to encourage higher success rates among high school and college students who must take remedial courses.

The Sheridan Programmers Guild received a $5,000 Phase 0 Wyoming Small Business Innovation Research/ Technology Transfer Initiative (WSSI) award to help them pursue a U.S. Department of Education Phase I SBIR award. The company will use the funding to research literature in math remediation, conduct interviews with educators, begin mockups of the software, cover mentoring fees and complete an application to the Department of Education for the next phase of funding.

“A high percentage of community college students are required to enroll in remedial math courses but then fail to progress toward a degree,” Sheridan Programmers Guild founder Anne Gunn said in a press release. “We intend to build educational games that can provide students with immediate feedback, encouragement, progress tracking, and a certain amount of entertainment value, to help alleviate the tedium of the practice required to master specific skills. Our initial games will be Web apps using our in-house capability to support multiple platforms, including mobile devices. Given success online, we would hope to publish the same content in the form of mobile apps as well.”

WSSI director Gene Watson said the funding will allow the business to develop a nationally competitive proposal for submission to the U.S. Department of Education. If the business’s national proposal receives a $150,000 Dept. of Education award, they will then become eligible to compete for a $1 million award which should allow them to commercialize their math remediation Web apps. The WSSI is sponsored by the Wyoming Business Council and administered by the University of Wyoming Office of Research and Economic Development. The mission is to increase the number of federal Small Business Innovation Research awards received by Wyoming small businesses by providing funding assistance through the WSSI Phase 0 program.


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