You can now switch tabs and go from surfing Facebook aimlessly to completing your certificate course on Interaction Design thanks to the magic of Edtech. However, Edtech isn’t limited to online courses; startups have taken it upon themselves to transform all aspects of education, from teaching methods to job preparation. Here’s a look at some lesser-known Edtech startups and how they are looking to redefine modern pedagogy.
I4Class is a “real-time, blended learning, formative assessment tool,” – and that is a lot of buzzwords.
Basically, i4Class is a web-based software tool for both students and teachers, allowing students to access assignments teachers have created and enabling the two parties to interact with one another during the course of assignment completion. The app has an infinite scratchpad that students can use to work on problems, and a subject-specific keypad to input answers. Meanwhile teachers can watch live as students work on solutions and add their own annotations in real time.
Schools that have tried it have reported a 10-20 percent improvement in student’s test scores. They have also reported teachers saving about 4 hours a week grading and correcting homework assignments.
If technology is supposed to make tough things easier, you’d better believe that there are people out there working on simplifying Math learning.
MathSpace is an app available on Android, iOS, and Windows that has won multiple awards for its adaptive e-Learning platform. The app has the usual vast question bank and a math textbook, but what sets it apart is that learners get instant feedback at each step on their way to the solution (or a solution). Furthermore, data from the way students respond to each problem is analyzed to select what kind of question is thrown at them next – nobody wants to go from counting fruit to multivariable calculus (which is a very real fear for many of us who’ve used Math apps).
Mathspace is free to download and use, but with a twist: if they so choose, parents can deposit a certain amount of money in the app, which is returned if kids are able to finish their weekly MathSpace assignment. That’s definitely an interesting way for them to make money / create a reward loop.
Education Modified focuses on special needs students. Studies have found that the graduation gap between students with special needs and the rest is about 40 percent, and good chunk of the discrepancy is a result of relative limited strategies shaped specifically for that group of learners.
Education Modified hopes to close that gap by creating a repository of teaching strategies for diverse learners. The EdMod Platform tracks research in the domain and condenses it into actionable one-sentence recommendations. These strategies can be adopted by teachers across courses and learning levels.
An important part of the platform is EdMod’s Learning Biography feature; it can be used to create portfolios for each student along with how they respond to different learning methods, making it a handy resource for teachers and counselors who may work with the students in the future. Research conducted in all Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) disability categories are covered by the service, making it useful to special needs educators of all kinds.
College students are well aware that course materials don’t often prepare them for much of what they’ll truly face in professional working environments (admit it, we could all have used ‘How to Surf Reddit in The Office Like a Ninja 101’). Real Time Cases helps students prepare for their first job by exposing them to real challenges being dealt with by employees at startups and public companies.
RTC first provides students with material to help them understand each company’s business model and functional aspects. They’re then given a ‘real time case’ – an assignment from a top-level executive which concerns an actual challenge the company is facing. Students then apply course concepts to provide solutions to that challenge. The service is partnered with companies like Uber and ShopKeep.
Planet3 was already noteworthy at conception – it was created by Tim Kelly, the former National Geographic CEO known for leading the company into the digital age. But when the startup stepped out of stealth mode late last year, we found that there are more reasons to keep track of its progress.
The digital learning platform uses immersive experiences to spur interest in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) subjects. Lessons are conveyed through 3D game-like environments which lets students explore real-world simulations. The product includes lesson plans and training modules so classes don’t end up being full-on gaming sessions.
Planet3’s first product, which focuses on Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences, is set for release in fall of this year.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.