Niwot’s Indigo Education Makes Its Personality Assessment More Accessible

NIWOT — Indigo Education Co. is an education-tech company that provides comprehensive surveys about the skills and traits of students to help them better understand themselves.

The Boulder-based company, founded in 2013, is now automating the interpretations of its survey results using artificial intelligence. It’s also developed online courses students can take — typically when they’re college freshmen — that teaches young students how to know themselves, know where they’re going and know how to get to that goal.

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Indigo Believes That, To Personalize Learning, You Need To Start With a Learner’s Personality

When one hears ‘AI-delivered personalized learning,’ one immediately thinks of companies using adaptive algorithms to create a one-to-one teaching relationship without the teacher (or, alternatively, current edtech development in China). But one company believes that before you can personalize education, you need to be familiar with the personalities of each student. Indigo offers non-academic assessments of learners using numerous methods recently developed in the fields of psychology and social sciences. Their reports help guidance counselors and teachers tailor education for students and match them with learning experiences in which they will thrive.

eLearning Inside recently hopped on a video conference with Indigo CTO and Strategist for Technology and Growth Initiatives Chris Kalish. “Our designs are non-academic,” he said, “however they are designed to be able to understand the student better to deliver appropriate learning methodologies.”

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Indigo Education Company Brings Personalized Learning to U.S. Classrooms

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Indigo Education Company promotes and implements personalized learning through non-academic, in-depth assessments and diverse school-based initiatives that put individual students at the center of education.

Indigo Education combines online assessments with an AI expert system that delivers individual student recommendations right in the classroom.  Robust professional development, an online career readiness course, entrepreneurship training, and consulting helps districts create human-centered strategic plans. By offering insights not found anywhere else, Indigo enables schools to transform their culture and improve outcomes.

Sheri Smith, founder and CEO of Indigo Education, says that her organization’s goal is to bring transformative change to public education, which has been built on a one-size-fits-all model. Smith advocates for a personalized learning approach that encourages innovation, individual strengths, and a student’s own interests.  

“The standardized approach to education is not giving students the skills and knowledge they need to connect with their futures. Students feel disillusioned,” Ms. Smith said. “Schools are eager for change but overwhelmed with daily challenges. Indigo Education offers solutions that provide meaningful impact and lead to positive results.”

Founded in 2013, Indigo Education uses the Indigo Assessment as the starting point to identify individual strengths in students as well as educators to bring personalized learning into the classroom at the middle, high school, and college level.

Indigo Education has delivered their assessment to over 75,000 U.S. students, as well as educators, in more than 100 high schools and colleges, with a comprehensive inventory of skills, motivators and behaviors based on more than 35 years of research. The Indigo Report also offers students custom post-secondary college major and career options.

Indigo Impact Initiative, the company’s nonprofit, catalyzes economic development in underserved communities by establishing partnerships that improve employment opportunities for students after high school.

Some schools and universities that engage students through Indigo:

  • Novato School District, Marin County, CA

  • University of California Irvine

  • Whitehorse High School, Navajo Reservation, Utah

  • United States Naval Academy

  • Phoenix Coding Academy

  • Peak to Peak High School, Lafayette, CO

  • Arizona State Barrett Honors College

  • Blue Valley CAPS, Overland, KS

Watch the video “Indigo Education Explained” to learn more.

For more information on the Indigo Education Company, its assessments and initiatives, call 877-665-3055, visit the website at IndigoEdCo.com, or email to info@indigoproject.org.Click to see article on Business Insider.

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Indigo Education Company Brings Personalized Learning to U.S. Classrooms

From Yahoo! Finance

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Indigo Education Company promotes and implements personalized learning through non-academic, in-depth assessments and diverse school-based initiatives that put individual students at the center of education.

Indigo Education combines online assessments with an AI expert system that delivers individual student recommendations right in the classroom.  Robust professional development, an online career readiness course, entrepreneurship training, and consulting helps districts create human-centered strategic plans. By offering insights not found anywhere else, Indigo enables schools to transform their culture and improve outcomes.

Sheri Smith, founder and CEO of Indigo Education, says that her organization’s goal is to bring transformative change to public education, which has been built on a one-size-fits-all model. Smith advocates for a personalized learning approach that encourages innovation, individual strengths, and a student’s own interests.  

“The standardized approach to education is not giving students the skills and knowledge they need to connect with their futures. Students feel disillusioned,” Ms. Smith said. “Schools are eager for change but overwhelmed with daily challenges. Indigo Education offers solutions that provide meaningful impact and lead to positive results.”

Founded in 2013, Indigo Education uses the Indigo Assessment as the starting point to identify individual strengths in students as well as educators to bring personalized learning into the classroom at the middle, high school, and college level.

Indigo Education has delivered their assessment to over 75,000 U.S. students, as well as educators, in more than 100 high schools and colleges, with a comprehensive inventory of skills, motivators and behaviors based on more than 35 years of research. The Indigo Report also offers students custom post-secondary college major and career options.

Indigo Impact Initiative, the company’s nonprofit, catalyzes economic development in underserved communities by establishing partnerships that improve employment opportunities for students after high school.

Some schools and universities that engage students through Indigo:

  • Novato School District, Marin County, CA

  • University of California Irvine

  • Whitehorse High School, Navajo Reservation, Utah

  • United States Naval Academy

  • Phoenix Coding Academy

  • Peak to Peak High School, Lafayette, CO

  • Arizona State Barrett Honors College

  • Blue Valley CAPS, Overland, KS

Watch the video “Indigo Education Explained” to learn more.

For more information on the Indigo Education Company, its assessments and initiatives, call 877-665-3055, visit the website at IndigoEdCo.com, or email to info@indigoproject.org.

Click here to see article on Yahoo! Finance.

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The Average Student Myth

The Average Student Myth: A New Study Focuses on the Importance of the Individual in Education

By Sheri Smith

In his book, The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness, Harvard scientist Dr. Todd Rose examines  the idea that there is no average person and that by ignoring individual differences – and what makes us each distinctive – we overlook potential and talent.  The End of Average not only shows that there is no average person but also demonstrates the importance of nurturing traits that define each of us.  

Dr. Rose’s  work is part of a new field – the science of individuality— that looks for solutions to social problems by studying  individuals rather than group averages.  It is a recognition that each person has diverse talents. As the CEO of Indigo Education, I was curious to see if our own research would support Dr. Rose’s findings. I wanted to answer for myself whether the idea of the average student is really a myth.

The Indigo Assessment captured 150 dimensions of students – covering behaviors[1], motivators[2], soft skills[3], and perceptions[4]. The survey included four well-known corporate tools that have been used for the past 35 years. 

The results were striking.  Out of 15,012 students, not one fell into the average. Our analysis supported that the average student is indeed a myth.

Yet the education system is built on the myth that you can and should teach to the “average.” If a student does not fit into a very narrow mold measuring only academic performance, he or she is considered deficient.  Students have little time for learning what matters: relationship building, developing soft skills, tapping into self-knowledge, and understanding how to exercise their constitutional right for the pursuit of happiness. 

Ending average in education changes teacher training programs, what we spend our money and time on, how our schools look, how we measure success, how we define ourselves, and perhaps most importantly, how we give people the opportunity for leading a fulfilling life.   

The real change that needs to happen in education is not 1-to-1 laptops, some amazing new common core, or the perfect super school – it’s a mindset shift from the system to the individual. 

[1] Behaviors are measured by TTI’s DISC. DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, which centers on four different behavioral traits: dominance, influencing, steadiness, and compliance. This theory was then developed into a behavioral assessment tool by industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke.

[2] The Indigo Motivators Assessment is based on the research of Dr. Eduard Spranger and Gordon Allport and their study of human value, motivation and drive.

[3] Soft Skills are measured using a Likert scale survey developed by Target Training International based on the most important soft skills for workplace success. 

[4] Perceptions are measured with TTI’s version of the Hartman Value Profile. It is based on the science of formal axiology, developed by Robert S. Hartman, providing rational answers to many of our questions about human values. Our values are the keys to our personalities, to self-knowledge, and to understanding others.

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Assessment helps CSET engineer stronger students

Marette Hahn never will forget the day a freshly minted Grand Canyon University graduate dropped into her office, the big, bright, wide world rolling out the red carpet for him, spilling out all of its possibilities.

It was the summer after he graduated, his premed degree in biology still fresh in his hand. He was going to be a doctor.

His parents wanted him to be a doctor.

“But he had no desire to go into medical school,” Hahn said.

The student admitted to her, after four long years of climbing up that wall of chemistry and physics and calculus, “I hate it. I don’t want anything to do with it.”

Then came THE question: “Now what do I do?”

It wasn’t a fun conversation to have, Hahn said.

Members of the Canyon Activities Board took the Indigo Assessment, a comprehensive personality and career assessment, over the summer. Several Student Engagement groups and full-time employee groups at GCU have taken the survey to help with team-building.

These days, when the College of Science, Engineering and Technology student success specialist speaks to students, she often tells that story.

“I don’t want to have that conversation with you,” she tells them, at least not after they graduate: “I want to have that conversation with you while you’re a freshman or sophomore, while we still have time to figure it out.”

Stories like that are part of the reason why CSET takes a unique approach in serving its students and helping them find “their God-given purpose,” as CSET Dean Dr. Mark Wooden calls it.

Personality survey on steroids

It was in 2015, when GCU built its engineering programs, that the college started using the Indigo Project’s Indigo Assessment, a comprehensive career and personality assessment the department gives to its freshman engineering students.

This year’s cohort has until Sunday to take the survey before Hahn starts making her rounds in the engineering classrooms on Monday to “debrief” students on the results.

CSET Dean Dr. Mark Wooden said the assessment helps incoming engineering students determine early on whether their choice of an engineering major is truly in line with their internal motivators.

CSET is the only college on campus to incorporate an assessment like this into the curriculum, though Career Services does offer Career Compass to all GCU students who are trying to find a career path.

Just call it a personality and career survey on steroids.

“We were looking for something that would help incoming students determine early on whether their choice of an engineering major was truly in line with their internal motivators and capitalized on their unique strengths,” Wooden said.

Even if the student hasn’t asked, “Do I have the personal disposition and skills for the field I’ve chosen?” Or, “Will I be entering a career truly meant for me?” Wooden said, no problem. The department is asking – and answering – those questions through the survey.

More than academics

When helping craft the engineering program, Dr. Michael Sheller, Associate Dean of Engineering at the time, wanted the program to be more than merely academics.

“He wanted these engineers to graduate as well-rounded professionals ready to enter the workforce, and not a lot of college students have those professional skills,” said Hahn, who worked in Career Services before moving to CSET. “They don’t have enough experience, so he was really interested in trying to build, essentially, the career-development pieces into the curriculum. So rather than them having to go out and seek out that kind of assistance and guidance, it was just built in there for them.”

Such assessments have been used in corporate America for development training for decades. But in recent years, organizations such as the Indigo Project have found value in assessing college and high school students, too, and making them self-aware.

Not that the assessment’s value is just in suggesting career choices. It also gives insights into what motivates people, what value they have on a team and even how to improve their study skills.

The assessment incorporates the DISC model, which outlines four behavioral styles — dominant, influencing, steady and compliant.

The survey, which analyzes a person’s behavioral style, motivators, social emotional perceptions and 21st-century skills, takes about 45 minutes to complete. It asks students to rank, for example, what’s most important to them out of a list of 20 or so possibilities. Would it be a new car that’s ranked at No. 1? Or helping others? The survey wants to know if you value beautiful surroundings or if you like learning just for learning’s sake.

After completing the assessment, students receive a more than 20-page report detailing their top five skills, motivators, their strengths and their value to a team.

“It’s scary how accurate it is,” Hahn said of her own Indigo report.

A major part of the assessment is the DISC Model, which divides people into their behavioral styles: dominant, influencing, steady or compliant.

High dominants are big-picture risk-takers and go-getters, while low D’s are the more team-oriented peacekeepers.

Influencers are the enthusiastic ones who need to be in an environment where they’re working with people. “High I’s are going to be the people who talk to people on the plane sitting next to them,” Hahn said.

Those who score high in steadiness are loyal, calm, reliable and consistent — the ones who drive the same way to work every single day – while low S-scale people need constant change.

Those who are high on the C-scale, or compliance scale, want to know exactly what is expected of them. However, low C’s are “going to find a workaround; they’re still going to try to get that end result, but they’re going to get it in a different way,” Hahn said.

Building teams

Mechanical engineering technology professor Dina Higgins has used results from the Indigo Assessment to build student teams, particularly lab groups.

Mechanical engineering technology professor Dina Higgins

“That’s the biggest thing we do with it,” she said of herself and fellow engineering professors. “I put a group together based on Indigo results. … It’s interesting, because you can form groups in different ways.”

She said she has put teams together made up of members who all were congenial types that got along well. But that combination hasn’t always yielded the best results.

“The group didn’t have the person that says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a deadline. We’ve got to go!’”

Faculty have access to a dashboard and can pull up students’ profiles, see their classes, get a sense for their behavioral styles and put together effective teams based just on communication style, for example.

As for how the assessment helps students, Higgins said that those who might have doubted their choice in their career path will see their attributes highlighted in writing: “I think it’s a real good morale-builder. They realize they do have those tools to be successful. It’s like their swagger comes back,” she said.

Higgins has taken the survey herself. It helped her realize why she wasn’t the best fit for a business-development job she once had. She was good at the educational portion of that job but said she never wanted to close the sale. Looking at her Indigo results, she was reminded how money isn’t a motivator for her.

“Of course!” she said of that revelation. “Even as old as you might be, you still can learn things.”

She loves the “time-wasters” portion of the assessment, too, which details for the user what might hinder someone from maximizing their time.

Higgins said the DISC Model has been used in the corporate world for years. Having taken this sort of assessment in college gives students an advantage. They might, for example, realize their boss is a certain behavioral type and will know when to back off.

That kind of knowledge, Higgins said, “is empowering for a student.”

Team dynamics

While CSET is the only college to incorporate the Indigo Assessment into its curriculum, it isn’t the only department on campus using the survey. After hearing about the test, other groups on campus have been interested in taking the assessment, too.

CSET has collaborated with Student Engagement to help facilitate that.

The Associated Students of GCU, for one, “fell in love with it,” Hahn said. She has completed Indigo Assessment training with not just ASGCU but with the Canyon Activities Board, Freshmen Class Council and full-time staff, too.

“I just love doing those presentations so much because there’s so much clicking that happens. People will say, ‘Oh, that makes so much sense,’” she said. “It’s a little bit of personal awareness and development, but also some team dynamics as well.”

The Indigo Assessment is incorporated into the freshman engineering curriculum.

Rizella Espiritu, ASGCU club advocate and a sophomore nursing student, took the assessment with fellow ASGCU members during leadership training at the end of summer. The students shared their results with each other and attended roundtable discussions.

“A big part of it was to learn from each other and learn how we work differently,” Espiritu said.

Fellow ASGCU club advocate Madison Wade, sophomore environmental science student, said the test helped the team “get the best work out of each other.”

ASGCU’s Lexi King, a sophomore studying psychology, said the value in the assessment for her was it “helped us to know how to interact with each other.”

While the group used the survey mainly for team-building, King said it also guided them toward careers that meld with their personalities: “It helped you to know what environment you work best in,” she said.

Not that the assessment’s career guidance is an absolute be all, end all. Hahn said that whatever the Indigo report says, students ultimately have the power to decide what they’ll be doing after they leave the GCU campus, and they have their career and personality assessment as a tool to help them make those decisions.

“It’s not that you can’t do it. It’s that you’re really going to have to push yourself to do it if it doesn’t come naturally to you,” she said.

While engineers are high in steadiness and compliance, Higgins said she doesn’t fit the mold. She scores extremely high as an influencer and is an enthusiastic people person. 

“Engineering is not on my Indigo Assessment list for jobs,” she said, making this point to her freshman engineering students: “When you get this (Indigo Assessment) over the weekend, if the word engineering isn’t on there, don’t freak out. … We’ve got three engineers (on the faculty) who are high I’s. That’s not an engineering personality.”

So many different things go into engineering, she pointed out. For her, when it comes to an “engineering personality,” really, “There isn’t one.”

What there is is the knowledge that the world still will be rolling out that red carpet and spilling out all of its possibilities.

Click here to see article on GCU.

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Indigo: Empowering educators with online tools for analyzing education assessments

The Indigo Education Company is a social enterprise that administers their corporate level non-cognitive Indigo Assessment surveys in high-school and college classrooms and ensures that the results are accessible and informative for students and educators. In contrast to traditional academic evaluations, the Indigo Assessment places a high emphasis on the social and emotional aspects of student development, highlighting non-academic strengths, behavior styles and motivators. The reports that Indigo generates from these assessments have had different purposes in different contexts — they have been used by students for career guidance and better understanding themselves, educators for supporting students, and policy-makers for understanding the underlying data and making appropriate amendments to curricula.

Click here to read more.

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Athletics meet Non-Academics: College Basketball Team using Indigo to Up Their Game

 

(Version of this story published in Niagara Gazette).


Coach Bill Beilein isn’t only teaching offensive and defensive strategies to his players, he’s also teaching how to work with people different than them.


Coach Bill Beilein is tackling sports head on with Indigo.

Coach Bill Beilein is tackling sports head on with Indigo.

Beilein is the head men’s basketball coach at Niagara County Community College, and this season is a momentum builder. It’s the best record he’s seen at NCCC as the head coach, including decisive victories over teams like Henry Ford College (95-47) and Isaiah Christopher Academy (107-59). His goal is to capitalize on momentum to make NCCC a destination school for junior college athletes.

As Beilein and his assistant coach Mike Corbi continue to further their success, they have to dive deeper into how to develop players. “Some of the questions we have to answer are how will we grow together and understand each other?” said Beilein, “Also, who are we as a team and what are our ideal circumstances for peak player performance?”

Beilein now has the luxury of taking a step back to understand the individual strengths of his players, and how he can capitalize on them both on and off the court. He needed to understand who are the young men that make up his team.


Regional Director Natalie and the Niagara County Community College basketball team.

Regional Director Natalie and the Niagara County Community College basketball team.

Beilein brought on Indigo to learn more about how he can improve the human dynamics on his team. Indigo provided the Indigo Inventory to engage students in who they are and how they can work better together.

The work changed the dynamics of the team. The Inventory helped both the coaches learn more about how to communicate with and motivate individual players. It also helped the team better understand how to talk with their coaches. Beilein is a dominant, loud, move quick and act quick kind of coach who should be approached with big-picture things. Corbi is more of a low-key, consistent, detail tracking coach who can handle the day-to-day, granular issues of each player.


NCCC team players discussing the results of their Indigo Reports.

NCCC team players discussing the results of their Indigo Reports.

It also helps the coaches identify opportunities to develop students outside of athletics – character, academics, career future. It helps focus on opportunities to bring the best out of players, and translate that success to life off the court.

One of Indigo’s focuses in Western New York is to create more opportunities to connect students to career pathways and opportunities based on their strengths. “There is a huge push to expand conversations like the ones happening with NCCC’s basketball team in schools,” said Indigo Program Director Natalie. “Our goal is to reach more than 50,000 New York students in 2017 so that we can help students find that spark that will drive them in life.”

Through Natalie, Indigo Project is working with 10+ high schools and community organizations, including entities such as Liberty Partnerships, Lewiston-Porter, Lockport, Grand Island, and Niagara Global Tourism Institute. 

 

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Indigo Hits BOCES in Niagara Falls

This past week, Indigo worked within throwing distance of Niagara Falls (the 8th wonder of the world). The Indigo Team hosted 10 districts in Western New York for a shared event to collaborate, share ideas, and talk about ways Indigo could be used in schools.



Lockport High School teachers and counselors going through an Indigo workshop.

Lockport High School teachers and counselors going through an Indigo workshop.


CEO Sheri Smith with a Buffalo Public Schools educator.

CEO Sheri Smith with a Buffalo Public Schools educator.

The event is a big celebration for Indigo – by hosting the event, all 10 districts can now get reimbursed by BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) for any work they do with Indigo.

Now, nearly twenty high schools in the Niagara Falls and Buffalo area can access Indigo’s products and services without finances being a barrier. It’s a huge step toward increasing the equity of our product suite for students in schools that want to partner with us.

Indigo has been working extensively in Western New York the past nine months through Natalie Beilein, our Program Director. She was recently featured in Niagara Gazette for the impact she had on one of the top-ranked junior college basketball teams in the nation.

It’s exciting to see all the buzz and excitement educators are having for Indigo. We saw teachers, counselors, social workers, and administrators from across the region exchanging ideas, sharing contact information, and discussing issues that matter in their schools. 

We are so thankful for BOCES helping make our services more affordable to high schools in Niagara-Orleans County. Can’t wait to bring this type of equity to schools throughout the state in the coming months, and further the work Natalie is doing leading Indigo in her region!

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