Selling Educators on Software
Potts, Gregory, THE JOURNAL RECORD
Jeffrey Butler doesn't say that his company's educational software should replace school textbooks. At least not yet.
"We market it as a supplement," says Butler, president and chief executive of The American Education Corp.
The Oklahoma City company's staff of 36, including eight programmers and a fluctuating stable of 15 to 25 consultants, designs educational software to comply with standards for all 50 states. Its flagship product is the A+dvanced Learning System, a comprehensive family of reading, writing, language skills, mathematics, science and social studies curriculum for grade levels one through 12 and adult literacy. Together with a companion student assessment and prescription tool known as A+ssess, Butler views A+LS as the most comprehensive and powerful integrated curriculum and management solution available today.
The multimedia programs include a variety of illustrations, many by AEC's staff graphic artist, and the programs for kindergarten through third grade may read materials aloud. A+Net, which joined the product lineup in February, enables educators to develop test questions from Internet site content.
Many AEC customers are convinced the products improve the education process. For example, the campus technology coordinator at McCarney Middle School in McCarney, Texas, thinks the software helped boost the facility's test scores.
"In Texas, our students take an annual assessment test called Texas Assessment of Academic Skills," explains Nancy Cvik. "Our campus scores rose last year. In fact, enough that we have been recognized by the Texas Education Agency as a T.E.A. Recognized Campus.
"We feel the A+LS programs were a contributing factor."
AEC focuses exclusively on institutional sales, says Butler, because no small companies have made any money in consumer-oriented educational software. …