Within the past two years, projects have included:
"Mock adoption" focus groups in different states to support the sales effort of a variety of textbook programs prior to an adoption. These focus groups help publishers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their product compared to the competition and can inform the sales strategy and determine supplemental materials to strengthen the product offering.
Market exploration projects (primarily using telephone focus groups and in-depth interviews) in new and/ or growing markets such as English Language Learners, International Baccalaureate, and Test Preparation.
Projects to guide the development of new textbook programs including reading and science programs for K-5 markets, and Biology, Chemistry, Literature, and English Language for the 6-12 markets (using in-person and telephone focus groups).
A few years ago, I acted as the project manager and researcher for all stages of new product development for an instructional program aimed at the pre-K market. The development took place over a year and the phases of research included market exploration, concept development, concept testing, and marketing studies through reviews of published information, a telephone survey with district administrators, telephone focus groups, and multiple phases of in-person focus groups with teachers. It was a privilege for me as a consultant to be able to see a product from start to finish, to work in a new market, and to work closely with a creative and supportive client team. Within a year of being launched, the product was in use by twenty of the top 100 school districts (by enrollment).
Last year, it was a great pleasure to be able to collaborate on two projects with Pegeen Wright (http://www.pegeenwright.com/). Pegeen has over twenty years of experience in educational publishing and software development and consults with publishers to help them develop practical eLearning strategies. We worked together on a website usability study (geared to K-12 educators) and an online survey on educational technology to support a K-8 basal writing program. Pegeen has just published a wonderful K-12 Publishers Guide to Interactive Whiteboards (visit her website for more details).