With recent technology, lot of tools have come for the parent, teachers and students to facilitate the learning process inside and outside the classroom. These tools permit students to connect with the class, assists parents to monitor their child’s activity and schedules and simplifies the task of teachers.
But it well-known that only schools that are well funded can get hold of the technology tools like iPad or other stuff. Apart from these problems, companies offer high-quality ed-tech tool that disturb the education industry in a good way. Those companies use technology let people take up classes and learn from home and some allow interaction between teacher, parents and students. In the past year, there are some start-up companies that has made head-turn of many with their offering and the way they offer it. Ten such interesting and most used education tech start-ups are discussed below:
1. Khan Academy:
California-based non-profit organization that offers free lessons and videos to students around the world. The academy’s videos are very popular and has been viewed more than 500 million times. The academy has delivered more than 440 millions of lessons to its students. For instance, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has mentioned he uses the videos to teach his children. Students have taken up and completed more than three billion exercises until now, approximately four million per day, on Khan Academy.
Started by Salman Khan who is fondly called ‘Sal Khan,’ as math tutoring YouTube videos for his cousin in 2006, launched official in 2006 to a team of 80 with thousands of global volunteers working on the content. It holds contents in various subjects like sciences, humanities, history and lot more. There are also Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French, and Turkish versions with more languages soon to be added. Best of all is that its free of ads.
An online application that assists teachers and trainers in leveraging social media to improve learning in a classroom setting. It is addressed as ‘Facebook for schools.’ Teachers can create private groups solely controlled by them and invite students to use it for online classroom discussions. The students are given a class sign-up code, which can be deactivated after all the students have signed up. On the other hand, students are encouraged to share the cod with their parents, permitting them to watch their own child’s activity.
This invitation-only social network is meant to mirror a secure offline classroom that intruders cannot access, with rules of decorum imposed by software. It is a secure micro blogging platform + and works on a controlled environment appropriate for school. Founded in 2008, this virtual group allows students and teachers to place digital resources to be accessed or downloaded, create polls to vote, write summaries of topic for students who were absent and post homework details. It has more than 49,542,797 members. Best thing is that the transmission is fast and it also saves paper.
San Francisco based Edu-startup ClassDojo is a tool that allows people to create a class and award each child points based on their behavior. The common practice of teachers maintaining charts in classrooms to award points or stars good habits, tidiness, hard work and more, has been brought online to be done in a more attractive and engaging way with ClassDojo. It recently updated its mobile app to allow build stronger relationship between parents and teachers with its messaging feature.
Used by more than 3 million teachers and 35 million students in more than half of US schools, ClassDojo mobile version has another feature that tracks student behavior and non-cognitive skills. Founded in 2011 by Liam Don and Sam Chaudhary, ClassDojo has raised $10.1 million in private equity. This app has been very recently introduced in Ireland too.
Codecademy targets mainly at unemployed or underemployed to prune their technical skills and it does not demand a degree in Computer science. Founded by Zach Sims, the company has raised $12.5 million in equity financing which is used to build its products. No fees is collected to the students and Sims hope ” is to keep the education free and to find a way to work with employers or organizations who are looking to work with that talent.” This is definitely a big departure from traditional education programs where the students take up loans to study. The company works closely with Raspberry Pi community, as those are the systems most often used in educational labs in emerging markets.
Started by two Stanford professors, Coursera is an educational platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses online for free. Founded in 2011, it has more than 12 million students around the world and raised $85 million in venture capital. Currently, it offers 1000 courses from 117 institutions. All the courses are available for free for the students and some give the option to pay a fee to join the ‘Signature Track.’ Students enrolled on Signature Track receive verified certificates, appropriate for employment purposes.
Courera is the first to offer top-drawer courses in humanities and the social sciences, a particular bugaboo for online learning in the past. Apart from teaching the students online, Coursera also tries to showcase the work of its online learners to the country’s leading tech companies. Recently, the startup has joined hands with big companies like Google, Instagram and Shazam to design special projects for students pursuing specializations. Specializations are like mini-majors for Coursera learners for they comprise several courses within a given subject like data science. Apart from the students getting benefited with the partnerships, these companies are tapping into a pool of talent which they may not be able to reach otherwise.
Founded by brothers Brett Kopf and David Kopf, Remind is a start-up built around using smart phones to link the three groups of parents, teachers and students. It is a messaging app that teachers can send messages on homework, test reminders, notes of encouragement, photos during an activity, quick surveys, venue updates etc. Students and parents can reply to teachers via structured data not with free-form comments or voice mails of their own.
Currently, Remind has more than 300,000 users in the U.S and was listed as the top education app in both Apple’s and Google’s US app stores online. The start-up has got big financial vote of confidence from prominent investors. Last year it raised $40 million from existing investors, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and joined by the Social + Captial partnership and First Round Capital. The new round raises Remind’s total fund-raising to $59 million.
Founded in 2008, Knewton is an adaptive learning company that has developed a platform to personalize and customize educational content for individuals. The start-up provides an open API for ‘adaptive learning,’ a term for computing that assists students learn at their own pace. The company uses the technology that works by dividing lessons into building blocks and then measuring students’ performance as they learn.
The online software monitors every move of the students like scores, speed, accuracy, delays, key strokes, click streams and drop-offs. as the behavior of the individual students are co-related with thousands of other students, Knewton can make between 5 million and 10 million refinements to its data model every day. The founder Ferreira says, “Online education is on the cusp of massive changes and only 100 cognoscenti know about it.” The company last year raised $51 million in funding which is significant for any education based tech company. On the whole till date, the company has secured $105 million.
Launched in 2012, Duolingo is an app that applies computer science to the teaching of languages like English, French, Spanish, German etc and seven other languages by developing a hierarchy of skills in which the user goes from one challenge to the next. The method has been organized by looking how thousands of users react to learn one skill, for instance nouns, before another such as adjectives and finding the most beneficial.
Sixty million people are now signed up to use Duolingo – the simple, gamified, adaptive language teaching app for smart phone and web browsers. Current active users count to twenty million. The number just means there are more people using the platform to learn languages than there are in the entire American public school system. It recently launched a service for schools called ‘Duolingo for Schools.’ This app is free of charge for the users with no advertisements, no subscriptions, no up sells and no in-app purchasing.
MIT and Harvard teamed up to form edX in 2012 to offer massive open online courses in collaboration with a number of universities worldwide. It hosts university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a large range of audience through online. Some of its courses are free of cost. It also conducts researches on how people use the learning based platform. The main focus of the start-up was to transform students and institutions through cutting-edge technologies, innovative pedagogy and rigorous courses. Currently, there are more the 60 schools, nonprofits, corporations and international organizations that offer courses on the website. The website has more than 3 million users taking over than 300 courses online.
Recently, edX announced it will collaborate with Microsoft and Smithsonian Institution to help prepare students for the workforce and provide insights. Associate vice-chancellor at University of Illinois Springfield Ray Schroeder said there is an increasing number of employers looking for students that have specific technical skills for entry-level jobs, and so collaborating with edX would be a good way to target potential employees.
Created by Google X founder Sebastian Thrun in 2011, Udacity is a California-based for-profit start-up that brought computer science classes online and watched hundreds of thousands of students enroll for single classes. Though it was launched to offer university-style courses, it now focuses more on vocational courses for professionals. It has more than 160,000 students from 190 countries around the world.
It was started as free education but then introduced pay-curriculam. For instance, Big Data course would cost students $105 per month. The website also offers online coaches or tutors seven days a week, so that students can take up the course at their own pace. It also introduced on Nanodegree recently. The ultimate goal of this start-up is to democratize education to a point where anyone with access to broadband and smart phone can take up Stanford-quality education for free. For the goal, the company raised $15 million on a financing round led by Andreesen Horowitz and Charles River Ventures and Steve Blank. Reports suggest, the company raised $21.1 million of fund.