News Column

"Educational Management System and Method of Operation for Same" in Patent Application Approval Process

February 13, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- A patent application by the inventors Rocha De la hoz, Alexander (Boynton Beach, FL); Narayana, Narendra (Boynton Beach, FL), filed on January 9, 2013, was made available online on January 30, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The use of applications, commonly referred to as 'apps,' has become prevalent over the past few years. To meet this demand, several entities have developed services to enable users of mobile devices to download apps to such devices. For example, Apple, Inc. of Cupertino, Calif. offers an interface to permit apps to be uploaded from app developers and for users to search, select and possibly purchase apps for download to Apple devices. As part of this process, the company offers a software development kit (SDK) to developers for guidance on creating these apps, and the apps must be approved by Apple before being made available to users. In addition, Apple shares with the app developers the revenue that is generated by the downloads. Other companies, such as Google, Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. and Research In Motion, Ltd., of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, also offer interfaces for developers to create and upload apps and for users to retrieve such software.

"Thus, there are multiple companies that offer this service, and it is expected that the number of them doing so will increase. While this recent development has established a new platform for the delivery of software to a wide variety of mobile devices, general oversight of this process is lacking. This aspect can be particularly troublesome in an enterprise setting. For example, a company may be leery of allowing employees to access and download apps from these services onto its work devices because the employer has no control over the process. A similar concern exists in a personal or family environment because a parent will not have any control over his/her child's activities in this area. In fact, supervisory authorities, like employers and parents, have very little control over mobile devices that are distributed to their subordinates.

"Additionally, as smartphones have evolved over the years, consumers have become increasingly reliant on these devices, particularly when it comes to managing their personal affairs. Many enterprises, however, have resisted putting corporate data on the personal devices of their employees due to potential security breaches. For example, many applications (or 'apps) installed on personal devices contain malware or some other questionable code. Currently, information technology (IT) departments have no way of managing the personal devices of their employees. As a result, sensitive enterprise data, if installed on an employee's personal device, may be subject to attack from a dishonest source. This potential security breach has led many companies to resist integrating corporate apps and information in the operating environment of a worker's personal mobile device."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "A method of selectively deactivating features on a computing device is described herein. The method can include the step of determining an examination time period for one or more students, each in possession of a computing device, in which the examination time period is set aside to enable the students to participate in a testing exercise. The method can further include the steps of generating a deactivation signal and transmitting the deactivation signal. The deactivation signal, when received at the student computing devices, can cause the student computing devices to selectively deactivate predetermined features of the student computing devices. The predetermined features are based on a factor of providing an unfair advantage to a student during the examination time period. For example, if a feature--such as an application--would permit a student to have access to information that would give the student an unfair advantage, that feature could be effectively shut down during the examination time period. Once the examination time period is complete, the deactivated features can be reactivated.

"This process may be selective in nature in that only certain features may be deactivated, depending on the choice of the testing authority. For example, students may be granted access to applications that can access information from different resources for certain examinations but not for others. In another example, the students may be granted access to applications that can access information, but the texting or messaging feature of the computing devices of the students may be deactivated to prevent the students from unfairly sharing information.

"In one arrangement, the predetermined features of the student computing devices that are deactivated can include applications, access to communications networks and calculators. For example, any relevant communication stacks of the student computing devices may be shut down to limit cheating. In another arrangement, the deactivation signal can be generated by a computing device of an examination proctor, such as a teacher.

"The method can also include the step of forcing the student computing devices into a testing mode in which the deactivation of the predetermined features is part of the testing mode. As another example, another part of the testing mode can be automatically silencing the student computing devices to prevent the broadcast of ring tones during the examination time period.

"A system for selectively deactivating features on a computing device is described herein. The system can include a transceiver that is configured to communicate with one or more computing devices associated with one or more students. The system can also include a processor that can be communicatively coupled to the transceiver. In one arrangement, the processor can be configured to determine an examination time period for the students, each in possession of a computing device, in which the examination time period is set aside to enable the students to participate in a testing exercise. The processor can also generate a deactivation signal in response to this determination, and the transmitter can transmit the deactivation signal. The deactivation signal, when received at the student computing devices, can cause the student computing devices to selectively deactivate predetermined features of the student computing devices. The predetermined features are based on a factor of providing an unfair advantage to a student during the examination time period.

"A method of preparing a learning package for a group of students is also described herein. The method can include the step of retrieving the learning package from a database, and the learning package can include predetermined materials that are designed to enable the students to learn a topic. For example, a school district or some other organization may prepare learning packages for a wide variety of educational topics, including those for particular lessons of such a topic. These learning packages may or may not be uniform across the district or some other jurisdiction, like a state or a country. The method can further include the step of selecting all or a portion of the materials from the learning package and publishing the selected materials to computing devices that are associated with the students. This process can provide an assignment to the students to complete at least a portion of the selected materials.

"As an example, the predetermined materials can include reading materials, videos, on-line resources or examinations. As another example, the database can be associated with an electronic storefront. The electronic storefront may be associated with a school district such that the school district determines which materials are to be included in the learning packages and which learning packages are to be offered at the electronic storefront. In this case, the electronic storefront may be developed and maintained by or on behalf of the school district.

"The method can further include the step of reporting the progress of the students in relation to the completion of the assignment. The reporting of the progress of the students may be in terms of the overall completion of the assignment or in terms of the individual components of the assignment. For example, if a student has completed 50% of an assignment or 50% of a component of an assignment that has several components, then that progress can be reported. The progress can be reported back to the computing device of the teacher or other individual who assigned the assignment. In one arrangement, the reporting of the progress of the students is done through a progress indicator assigned to each of the students. The progress indicator can be a visual element that is displayed on the computing device of the teacher or the person who assigned the assignment. As another example, the reporting of the progress of the students may also provide an indication as to the accuracy of the work of the students for the assignment.

"A system for preparing a learning package for a group of students is also described herein. The system can include a database that can be configured to store a learning package that can have predetermined materials that are designed to enable the students to learn a topic. The system can also include a processor that is communicatively coupled to the database. The processor can be configured to retrieve the learning package from a database and to select all or a portion of the materials from the learning package and to cause the selected materials to be published at the computing devices that are associated with the students. This process can provide an assignment to the students to complete at least a portion of the selected materials.

"A method of modifying an application is also described herein. This method can include the steps of receiving a non-educational application in its original form and injecting an educational aspect into the non-educational application, thereby creating a modified application. This injection can occur when the non-educational application undergoes a wrapping process. When the modified application is launched, the educational aspect may interrupt the original flow of the application to direct a user to complete an educational task before the original flow can be resumed. In one arrangement, the educational task is one or more questions related to a certain topic, and the original flow is resumed if the user provides correct answers or at least attempts to provide correct answers.

"Consider the following example. A non-educational application, such as a gaming application, can be obtained and subjected to the wrapping process in which new functionality can be injected into the application. When the modified application is launched, a user may be asked to provide information related to certain educational topics at particular points of operation of the application. For example, at launch, a user may be asked to solve a word problem or to enter the answer for a mathematical problem. If the user provides the correct answer or at least attempts to answer, the application can be launched. Additional questions may be presented during the operation of the application, such as when a user reaches a particular stage in the application. In one arrangement, the modified application may be intended to be part of an educational profile for a computing device of a student.

"A system for modifying an application is also described herein. The system can include a transceiver configured to receive a non-educational application in its original form. The system can also include a processor, which can be communicatively coupled to the transceiver. The processor can be configured to injecting an educational aspect into the non-educational application, thereby creating a modified application. When the modified application is launched, the educational aspect may interrupt the original flow of the application to direct a user to complete an educational task before the original flow can be resumed.

"Further features and advantages of the invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the invention, are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings. It is noted that the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described herein. Such embodiments are presented herein for illustrative purposes only. Additional embodiments will be apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art(s) based on the teachings contained herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS/FIGURES

"The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and form part of the specification, illustrate portions of the present invention and, together with the description, further serve to explain at least some of the principles of the invention and to enable a person skilled in the relevant art(s) to make and use the invention.

"FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a system for educational management.

"FIG. 2 illustrates an example of an assignments page.

"FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a progress page.

"Applicants expressly disclaim any rights to any third-party trademarks or copyrighted images included in the figures. Such marks and images have been included for illustrative purposes only and constitute the sole property of their respective owners.

"The features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the detailed description set forth below when taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which like reference characters identify corresponding elements throughout. In the drawings, like reference numbers generally indicate identical, functionally similar, and/or structurally similar elements. The drawing in which an element first appears is indicated by the leftmost digit(s) in the corresponding reference number."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Rocha De la hoz, Alexander; Narayana, Narendra. Educational Management System and Method of Operation for Same. Filed January 9, 2013 and posted January 30, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=151&p=4&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140123.PD.&OS=PD/20140123&RS=PD/20140123

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Software.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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