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Case Study

Doddle’s whole-school platform saves teachers time and improves learning

Doddle is a whole-school homework solution where teachers can assign their own tasks and a huge variety of self-marking resources for students across KS3 and KS4. Our bespoke software development has given Doddle the power, flexibility and resilience to free teachers to teach – from first concept to a successful product with more than a million users in just a few years.

Challenge

Doddle’s owners wanted a cutting edge solution that would let teachers assign and track their own tasks, and a huge variety of self-marking, curriculum linked resources, with ease. It needed to combine simplicity with the granularity that would let teachers fully tailor learning paths. It also had to be resilient enough for schools to rely on day-in and day-out, and scale efficiently to cope with the fluctuations of pupil use across the day.

 

Key points

Bespoke platform
Interface design
Huge scale software development
Fault resilient architecture

Doddle logo

Our approach

A bespoke software build was the only way to realise Doddle’s ambition to give teachers and students powerful tools that fit their environment and needs perfectly.

Can Studios has been Doddle’s technical partner since its inception. In fact the relationship goes back further: we helped transform its inventor’s earlier CD-ROM-based resources into an online platform. The success of that product inspired this altogether more powerful solution, able to do more for greater numbers of users.

Drawing on our extensive work with educational publishers on school products, we helped refine Doddle’s initial concept into clearly defined requirements and a development road map suited to its commercial objectives.

This included developing meaningful user journeys; helping prioritise what the platform would, should and could do; and designing the user interface and creating prototypes. We also designed the underlying server architecture to provide a scalable system which would grow with the product, self-heal in the event of a server failure and save running costs on a daily basis.

Throughout the process we worked with Doddle’s non-technical product owners to explain the implications of the decisions they needed to make, and keep them involved in the software development at every stage.

Some agencies would just take our spec and run with it. But Can Studios interrogate it and improve it – which saves us time and money, and ultimately delivers a better product.

 

Paul Mallaband, Doddle Product Owner, on its mobile app development

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The resulting Doddle platform now includes:

  • Powerful search functions that let teachers identify resources by key words, topic, level, curriculum area and awarding body to create tailor-made activity selections.
  • A teachers’ markbook combining results from self-marking assignments, and student’s own confidence ratings, so they can see where more help is needed.
  • Detailed, instant feedback to students, along with suggestions for further practice activities.
  • Personalised learning checklists to track curriculum skills, helping students and parents engage with learning at home.
  • Comprehensive reporting at pupil, class and school level.
  • An underlying database and server architecture able to serve 2 million users and cope cost-effectively with the varying demand across the school day.
  • Communication functions via the teacher dashboard that Doddle staff can use to flag relevant new resources to teachers.
  • Marketing functions such as the ability to set up school trials that give access to individually tailored sample resources.

Results

Doddle’s curriculum and classroom expertise, supported by Can Studio’s technical skills, have realised a whole-school resource system that makes the most of study time in and out of the classroom.

It’s been a hit with teachers, pupils and parents thanks to the combination of engaging, high-quality resources it provides and its frictionless user experience.

Setting homework via Doddle means that lesson time isn’t lost to writing assignments into pupil’s planners – it’s all there on Doddle. And self-marking activities mean teachers have more time to focus on students’ individual areas of difficulty, and can set personalised revision exercises with ease.

Many schools have reported impressive improvements in students’ independent learning, with marked increases in the time spent working from home through Doddle!

Can Studios has remained Doddle’s technical partner throughout the years, with our team providing ongoing support, maintenance and system monitoring.

We continually optimise its performance, respond to potential outages, carry out security updates, protect the system from cyber attacks and adjust scaling rules for school holidays.

Doddle continues to evolve to meet the needs of teachers and pupils – and our ongoing consultancy and project work has included providing guidance on how to integrate new features with the existing system, advising on integrating new content generation tools and developing the Doddle mobile app for students and parents.

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