Palash Tiwari, a class 10 student from Kasiga School, Dehradun represents the new breed of tech-savvy Indian students, taking learning beyond classrooms with the help of app-based tools. “I prefer Khan Academy and EdX,” says Palash who is doing online English course offered by University of Queensland and Computer Science by MIT through EdX, an education technology company with an avowed vision of increasing ‘access to high quality education for everyone, everywhere’.
Technology is revolutionizing the manner in which education is being structured and delivered. Online learning does wonders for students who do not have access to high quality education. The technology has had positive results in K-12 schools where teacher quality is a big problem.
With the advent of app-based tutoring, the education scenario is changing for the better as live and interactive learning empowers anytime, anywhere learning. So the primary driver of change is the hunger to go beyond quality limitations imposed by classrooms and poorly trained teachers.
The rise of EdTech companies
The present government’s vision of a ‘Digital India’ is a big boost to EdTech, which Marlboro College defines as ‘the study and practice of designing effective instruction using technology, media, and learning theory’ (www.marlboro.edu). The huge scope and magic of EdTech is attracting a generation of brave new entrepreneurs to this sector. The current education market in India holds a great promise for EdTech companies. The E-education market is expected to touch $40 billion by 2017. India is currently the largest market for e-learning, next only to the US. “They are growing because schools have failed. These companies have employed some of the brightest teachers, so it is a chicken and egg situation. Somewhere it’s a loss for schools,” says Nandakumar.V, Director of Chennai-based Datta Educational Consultants.
How does EdTech operate?
The EdTech companies either sell tools to schools or sell directly to parents and students. The business-to-consumer model could be quite promising with the growth of the Internet as has been demonstrated by EdTech firms in the country. Unlike the e-commerce industry that gives its buyers instant gratification, the users go through a longer cycle to know the company, verifying, learning and validating. Once the users see the value that online education provides, they are hooked on to it.
Top of the chart companies
Pearson: MyPedia programme is directly sold to schools and currently availed of by 250+ schools in India, impacting the lives of over 60,000 learners and 3,000 teachers. “Teachers are finding MyPedia to be an extremely comprehensive and easy-to-use programme. It helps easy analysis of students at an individual level. MyPedia facilitates learning in a fun way and encourages students to think out-of-the-box,” says Ujjwal Singh, Vice President, Product K-12, Pearson India. Other products like DigiClass and MX Touch are widely used by students and teachers. Mypedia comes with a Home App through which parents can see what was taught in class and teach the students by themselves, thus eliminating the presence of a tutor.
Teachers are finding MyPedia to be an extremely comprehensive and easy-to-use programme. It helps easy analysis of students at an individual level. MyPedia facilitates learning in a fun way and encourages students to think out-of-the-box
BYJU’s: BYJU’s learning app is India’s largest K-12 app. Within just a year of its launch in 2015, BYJU’s app has been downloaded more than 5.5 million times, reached 250,000 annual paid subscribers along with 30,000 students being added in the last one month alone. “Around 70% of parents said using the app improved their children’s learning dramatically. Our approach combines world-class teachers, proven pedagogical methods, innovative technology and data science to deliver personalized learning, feedback and assessment for students in classes 4-12,” says Byju, Raveendran, Founder & CEO, BYJU’s. The product has a reach of over 1400+ towns and cities, and not just metros but also smaller towns.
Meritnation: With over 1 crore registered users, Meritnation caters to CBSE, ICSE and State Boards such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Through its freemium model students get to sample free NCERT and popular textbook solutions and get their doubts resolved by a panel of subject matter experts through Ask & Answer forum. It offers 16 lakh questions and 40 lakh answers in the forum. Demo Video tutorials, LIVE classes, tests, reports are also made accessible for the student to sample the website. “We want to make studies more effective by removing inefficiencies of the physical tuition market. There are 7,000 new users joining every day. Out of the users, 5,00,000 are teachers registered on the site,” informs Pavan Chauhan, Co-founder & MD, Meritnation.com.
Co-founder & MD
We want to make studies more effective by removing inefficiencies of the physical tuition market. There are 7,000 new users joining every day. Out of the users, 500,000 are teachers registered on the site
eSense: The product TOPClass caters to schools where eSense has a tie-up with around 2500+ schools across Maharashtra and Gujarat, training 10000 teachers and 8 lakh students through the software. As per Harshil Gala, Director, eSense learning, “There is still long way to go. As of today, India has over 1.3 crore classrooms in K-12 segment, out of which not even 20 percent have been digitized.”
Entab: It provides advanced school management software under the name and trademark of ‘Çampus Care’. According to Mani Shankara, Vice Principal, Airforce Bal Bharati School, the product has enabled students’ record maintenance, timetable, attendance, library, fee, examination and communication in the school. “It has channelized smooth communication with teachers, students and parents,” he said.
A revolution in the making
India sees maximum funding in the education sector. With focused EdTech accelerator, incubators, and funds coming in, this is just the right time for entrepreneurs. One major point of concern is that even though technology is slowly penetrating to the most remote areas, it will be of no use if teachers are not equipped to use it. “Teachers need to be trained to move ahead from traditional method to reap the countless benefits of technology in education space, “cautions Pearson’s Ujjwal.
Making students fall in love with learning
Founder & CEO
Careers360: How is your app making learning effective?
Byju: We are creating a segment of self-paced learners. The focus has been to help students take up the initiative and learn on their own. Today, love for learning is missing amongst most students, as learning is still driven by the fear of exams. Using technology and data science, the app adapts to the pace and style of learning of every student.
With over 30 million lessons watched and average time spent on the app being 40 minutes a day, we have created students who are addicted to learning. It is helping us innovate the way in which concepts are taught, and also personalize it based on the capability of the student. We always encourage children to ask questions and not focus at getting them to find the answers only.
Careers360: Can you share the responses of BYJU’S app users?
Byju: Our app has seen great adoption in the last one year. We have successfully forayed beyond the metro cities in the country and helped India learn better. Currently, our product is available in India and the Middle East. It is an overwhelming feeling to see the positive response from students who have become toppers and rank holders. We have stood out as a company that wants to makes students fall in love with learning - because if you love to learn, the results will anyway show.
Careers360: Any expansion plans?
Byju: With the recent round of funding from Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and few other investors, our focus is to create a similar product for international markets, especially the English-speaking markets. We want to capitalize on our core strengths that we have developed in the last 4 year .i.e. creating high quality learning modules, videos and interactives across segments/grades. We see a potential for our product globally. Overall, in the next 18-24 months, you will see us create better and interesting learning products which help students to become lifelong learners.
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