Local software engineer creates education app

A local software engineer recently teamed with a speech language pathologist friend to develop an iPhone and iPod Touch application that helps educators track students as they progress toward their goals.

Jason Rinn, of Del Mar, and Eric Sailers, created Percentally (www.percentally.com) to help educators track data, such as how successful their students are in forming certain sounds. The tool is particularly useful for special education teachers who are using an individualized education program for their students.

Rinn and Sailers met recently while training for the Rock N Roll Marathon. Rinn was laid off from a job working with apps that compete with the iPhone. Sailers was accustomed to working with iPhone app technology in his position with the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.

As Rinn started developing the app, he and Sailers spoke daily over Skype about what features should be added and the bugs they found along the way.

"Once we got to the point of a working app, I committed to buying my own computer, and we signed up with Apple to distribute the app," Rinn said.

Sailers found colleagues to beta test the app through conferences and online mailing lists. They distributed test copies and performed tech support over e-mail, Web sites and Skype.

"We got a lot of positive feedback and worked to add features and fix bugs, doing everything remotely," Rinn said. Sailers then built their Web site.

After months of development, they submitted the app to Apple on Dec. 4.

"It took 11 days before Apple approved it. For most of the day, people who knew the name could find it, but it was not listed in the App Store until after 11 p.m. that night. Now we are watching sales increase each day," Rinn said.

Percentally works outside of the classroom, too. The app is designed to track progress in different environments, from the classroom to the golf course.

"Percentally can also be used in extracurricular activities like sports," the Web site explains. "Measure the percentage of football passes completed, percentage of basketball free throws made, or number of putts in a golf round. The pupil or mentor can document improvement with Percentally."

   
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