The school, for long considered a bastion of tradition, is the newest hub for innovative technology start-ups. A clutch of entrepreneurs is creating software, platforms and applications for schools to enhance content and make its delivery more efficient. It is India's large and growing education market that is attracting these entrepreneurs. Their innovative products are changing the way students learn and schools function.
"Schools have specific pain points, which need specific solutions," says Anantharaman Mani, founder of ReportBee, whose eponymous product re-imagines the dreaded report card as a fun and interactive digital application, which provides teachers and administrators all aspects of a student's performance - on a single sheet. According to a Venture Intelligence report, K-12 schools and higher education institutions are expected to reach above 325,000 crore ($65 billion) in market size this year. In 2009, this number stood at over 225,000 crore ($45 billion). The total opportunity for digital content, which is the area many technology start-ups are focusing on, is estimated to be over 15,000 crore ($3 billion), according to advisory firm Zinnov.
In this, digital content creation is projected at over 10,000 crore ($2 billion), digital content delivery at above 2,500 crore ($500 million) and digital content management at about 500 crore ($100 million). "The opportunity is huge in India, given the sheer number of students, there is also global market for many of the solutions," says Chandramouli, senior director-globalisation advisory, Zinnov. Here is a selection of start-ups that are bringing cutting edge technology to the classroom.
The Chennai-based venture was founded by Anantharaman Mani, an IIM Bangalore alumnus, to change the way report cards are used. Traditional report cards do not reflect all the activities a child undertakes in school. Also, teachers are not able to track the student's incremental progress and compare class-to-class performance easily. The ReportBee application pulls out all the data that is entered in the school's systems about a student.
The company also trains teachers and other staff to enter co-curricular data and health and physical training data of students into the systems. Using algorithms, the application summarises every aspect of a student's school history onto a single page. Teachers can track the progress of a single student, see a class' overall performance and compare classes. Schools that do not have digital data can send a spreadsheet to ReportBee and the company will do the analysis. The application, which is available for 4,000-8,000 per month per school, is being used by 18 schools in Tamil Nadu and is in pilot phase in 30 more schools. E-DREAMS
Launched in 2010 by Rajeev Pathak, Surayprakash Konanuru and Haris Poonthala, e-Dreams has developed a digital tutor, Fun-Toot, for K-12 students. Fun-Toot, software that runs on the cloud, uses Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing tools to provide students with personalised tutoring. The programme starts learning about the student right from the first interaction through a series of questions such as what sports does she like? "As more data comes in, the programme becomes more intelligent," says Pathak, CEO, e-Dreams, which earlier this year raised angel funding from Mumbai Angels. Fun-Toot is being used in 30 schools across South India. The company plans to scale it up to all K-12 classes for all subjects and also bring out an at-home PC-version.
Courtesy: The Economic Times