Cezary, our Chief Technology Officer, has more than a 15-year track record in e-education and publishing, running large software engineering teams at enterprise level. He will mentor xEdu startups on tech leadership and organisation.
Rafał has been associated with the graphic design industry for 12 years. He has been professionally involved with User Experience design for 5 years, previously designing web application interfaces, graphics and brand identities. He looks for solutions that simultaneously help achieve the organization’s goals and respond to the user needs. At Setapp, he heads the Product Design department, creating digital products based on UCD (user-centred design) methodology.
Łukasz is the founder and CEO of the Edtech startup Wisdy. Not only does he have expertise in Customer Development and product lifecycle management but he also has tons of experience in Agile software development. Łukasz can also provide Scrum training - a basic training aimed to introduce Product Owners, Product Managers, stakeholders or other team members to scrum. At Setapp, we work in real scrum - check our article to learn more about scrum.
Mentoring Spring '19
What are some of the most common pain points for startups?
We’ve already helped a lot of Edtech startups to overcome their digital problems, which has given us a lot of insightful knowledge about the most common problems they face. And, even though, every startup is unique and has its own set of challenges and opportunities, we can highlight several pain points that are extremely common among startup community:
1. Lack of quality feedback
Some startups don’t invest enough time to gather quality feedback from their target market. Startups that don’t listen to their audience are doomed to fail.
2. Lack of business knowledge and experience
The difference between running a startup and a mature company is huge. While a lot of startups have great ideas and are full of energy, they lack business knowledge and experience to succeed.
3. Focusing on building a product and not on building the right product
It’s not actually that difficult to develop an app. The challenge is to create an app that sells! Finding the right business model and revenue plan is a huge problem for a lot of the startups we spoke with.
4. Not enough testing
Startups were scared to define a number of hypotheses about their product/business/marketing etc and then testing it. Their main job is to find a product-market fit. However, a lot of them are not aware of it.
5. Lack of knowledge in terms of agile
Many startups lack the knowledge and experience to work in an agile environment. Their product development process is all over the place and a clear product roadmap has not been defined. Enthusiasm and energy are great, but they won’t cover for clarity and experience.
6. Bad User Experience
Some startups don’t put much emphasis on the User Experience of their app. Learners’ goals and how easy the technology is for the teachers to implement are two critical factors for an Edtech product to succeed. The UX of some apps we’ve analysed had many flaws related to engagement and the user journey.
Setapp offered strong mentoring support to Betwyll during the acceleration program we made in Helsinki with xEdu. They not only offered useful suggestions on how to reshape our app and its user experience, but they also offered us a wide variety of services to foster our grip on the edtech market. Setapp is one of those partners which can really make the difference for developing your business.
UX, UX and UX. If you’re in the business of creating digital products then you probably stumble upon this term at least once a day. Yes, it’s a staple when building high-quality user-centric products (not just digital). We all know that.
But what could go wrong if you screw up UX whilst developing an educational product?
What can you do to improve the User Experience of your Edtech app?
And how important is the User Experience in Edtech?
What could go wrong if you screw up UX?
Let me be upfront with you. It may well kill your app. You see, unlike in Fintech and other industries, in Edtech $$$ isn’t the most critical metric for success. It won’t win you over investors by itself, and for sure it won’t bring any value to your users.
The key to success in Edtech is the ‘pedagogy’ of your product. How engaging it is and whether kids and teachers are still using it one year down the line?
Basically, before you even implement ‘tech’ in education you need to ask yourself one simple question.
Will it bring any additional value to your users?
If your users can solve a problem with pen & paper then is it really necessary to build an app for it? Will it give something additional to the users?
Saila Juuti, head of UX at Kokoa Standard has vast experience working on UX projects with clients from around the world. Kokoa provides world-renowned certification for Edtech companies around the world. Get yours here.
Kokoa Standard's Marika Kukkasniemi testing Ovobots robot for certification
Over the years she has come across many examples of lacklustre UX. Let’s look at some of them:
1. The system doesn’t save the teacher’s time - lack of automation
One Edtech trend is open platforms, where the teacher can create assignments for their students - such as open-ended tasks, multiple choice tests and so on. The purpose of these tests is to automate some of the teacher’s work.
A common error in these kinds of systems is the lack of feedback for students. The teacher may be able to set which of the three answer options is correct, and the software can easily create grades based on that, but there are no fields for explaining why one answer is correct and another is not. In the worst case, the system doesn’t even say which of the answers was correct.
A system which only provides points still requires the teacher to go through the questions with all the students - a time which they could use to give more personal support to those students, who actually need it more.
2. The system doesn’t scale to all of its target users
Edtech products often try to cater to a large target group. What works for a 10-year-old doesn’t necessarily work for 14-year-olds. The graphical representation, language used, complexity and so on should be optimized for the most reasonable target group. It’s quite rare that the same system will work for 6-12-year-old kids.
3. Failing is not fun - feedback is key
In systems which provide challenges or problems to solve, failing a challenge should be a point of learning. When a student fails, the system should provide helps to move forward and create positive excitement for trying again. This requires that the challenge level is optimal for the student and the feedback is helpful. In case it’s not, the previously mentioned scaling problem may exist as well.
What can you do to improve the User Experience of your Edtech app?
I asked again Saila from Kokoa and Paulina Tervo from Lyfta about some practical tips on streamlining UX in Edtech.
First up Saila. Below she shares her three tips for good UX in Edtech:
1. Tell your user clearly, which problem they are solving
The best motivation to use an app for learning is if you know what you are gaining from using it. For Edtech creators, this means keeping the learning goals clear. The teachers may want to know, how the content of your solution is linking different curriculum goals, but also the learners will be more motivated if they are provided clear descriptions of what they are about to learn.
2. Design for the classroom, not just for individuals
If your target group is schools, remember that the learning environment probably involves 20 kids all trying your solution at the same time. Make the launching process as quick and easy as possible, keep the navigation path simple and support searches and prompting of the content that the user has recently viewed. Designs relying heavily on sound may also be cumbersome in a classroom.
3. The details matter
Many school solutions fall into the category of “just good enough” UX. What sets the really good solutions apart from the rest is the amount of polish and effort put to finalizing the app. Consistent aesthetics, well written and informatic system messages, smooth transitions and non-intrusive help will make the user feel good about using your solutions. Game developers need to keep the users immersed in the world they have created, so take a look at how this final level of polish is done by them.
Over to Paulina now...
Paulina Tervo is the Co-CEO and Product Director at the award-winning company Lyfta. They help teachers tackle complex topics and measure attitude change in the classroom through stunning premium quality films, VR and AR technology and pedagogy based on Finland's new Phenomenon-based learning curriculum.
Storytelling is key to Lyfta's success.
Paulina told me the key to their success is down to three key factors:
Storytelling - Lyfta’s founders have a background in filmmaking and that’s what helps them to connect emotionally with their customers. It also helps them to tell the story of their product better to their customers.
Gamification & Exploration - Their app is playful and filled with real-life experiences at the same time. Children can explore and interact with different places around the world, interact with different objects, take a peek into people’s home, etc. The real-life content is presented in a playful and explorative way, which makes them quite unique in the Edtech world.
Co-creation with teachers - Another important reason why Lyfta has nailed UX is by involving teachers in the product development process. This helps them understand what needs the teachers have, what technology they are currently using and whether they have any experience in using digital products. On top of that, every teacher is given onboarding on how to use their product.
And now to the final question.
How important is User Experience when creating Educational products?
You should already know that by now. UX plays a critical role when creating educational products. Learner's goal's and how easy the technology is for the teachers to implement are two critical factors for an Edtech product to succeed. Get those two right from the beginning and you'll have a product which is scalable and loveable. On the other hand, if you're off the track from the beginning, chances are your product will struggle with user engagement and retention in the long run.
Don't let UX screw up your app
Use Design Sprint to create a hi-fidelity prototype in 1 week - tested on real users!
You’ve probably heard these two terms many times before. Gamification and Game-Based Learning have become the most popular buzzwords in the EdTech community over the last few years. They might look extremely similar on the surface, but if you look a little bit closer, you will find out they are actually quite different.
The first term, which seems to be more popular, is Gamification. To put it simply, it’s the process of applying game-design elements and game principles into non-game contexts. There are a lot of different ways to do this, but the most common example is a reward system after accomplishing a desired goal. Even though getting stars or badges for doing the right thing might sound childish, it appeals to the most basic human instincts.
One of the best examples of gamification is the language-learning platform - Duolingo. Over 300 million registered users across the world spend hours and hours improving their language skills thanks to this app. Why do they do that? Because it feels like a challenge that is actually doable. You get small chunks of materials to complete, you achieve badges, and your progress level bar rises. It also rewards consistency - to keep your ‘streak’ you need to do your exercises every day which is crucial to foreign language learning. Duolingo also has a lot of other pros like accessibility, but it’s the gamification factor that makes it so successful.
Duolingo - perfect example of gamification
The main advantage of Gamification over Game-Based Learning is the fact that it can be implemented over the existing training or teaching methods. That makes it a much faster and cheaper option. Take a look at Duolingo again - the learning material and methods are actually not that innovative. What makes it special is the gamification layer added on the already existing materials. It doesn’t cost as much and it’s relatively easy and quick to implement.
What are the strong and weak sides of Gamification ?
As Gamification doesn’t really change the content and form of learning, it’s not the most engaging technique. It’s best suited with content that is relatively simple and short. If it’s too complex or takes too much time to complete, the engagement factor of gamification fades away.
Because of that, Gamification is most successfully implemented in projects built around short, memory-based material. It easily goes outside of the boundaries of formal education. Gamification is often used in a professional environment for issues like on-boarding, Health & Safety or error elimination.
Unfortunately, Gamification has already gained a bad reputation. this is the immediate consequence of the rapid rise of its popularity. As with every new, popular phenomenon, the initial good idea became ruined by poor implementation.
Many educators felt pressure to add some kind of “Gamification” element to their teaching methods. In many cases, these forced attempts were limited only to points or badges systems, with no coherent system or rational idea behind it.
That’s the concept of “chocolate covered broccoli”. You might cover broccoli in chocolate but it’s still broccoli. In the same way you can add a layer of gamification to boring or incoherent material, but at the end of the day - gamification won’t save it. Having said that, it’s incredibly important to not throw out the champagne with the cork. Gamification can be an amazing tool, if applied properly. It should be treated as part of a bigger idea of creating successful and engaging educational content.
Game-Based Learning (GBL), even though often confused with Gamification, is a completely different concept. You might even call it the complete opposite of Gamification. While Gamification implements some elements of gaming into the learning process, Game-Based Learning completely incorporates learning into a game scenario. It’s not just about getting badges and stars. It’s about a fully functioning game with a clearly defined learning outcome.
If you are looking for a good example of Game-Based Learning - take a look at a game created by Siemens: Plantville. Plantville is the first business online game aimed at company’s employees and clients. Through learning and competition, players can build and manage a factory. The goal is to gain as much experience as possible and get the best score. How do they do that? As a fictional factory plant manager, you are responsible for maintaining the operation of a virtual plant while trying to improve key areas of manufacturing.
Siemens: Plantville, great example of GBL
The game covers a lot of issues like workers safety, managing schedules, reacting to changing external conditions and improving process efficiency. The same material that used to be taught at boring company meetings with very little engagement from employees, became an exciting thing to learn thanks to GBL.
What are GBL’s pros and cons?
Game-based learning gives the unique opportunity to learn even the most complex issues in a fun and safe environment. The safety part is incredibly important. GBL is often used in fields that are prone to very high risks. Take medical education as an example - thanks to the use of technology and game-based learning, future doctors learn even the most complex medical procedures in a completely safe environment.
Game-based learning is also more efficient when it comes to very complex issues that require a lot of engagement from users.
It’s worth noting that game-based learning has a few vulnerabilities. The first is rather obvious - it’s expensive and time consuming. Especially with smaller projects, it just makes no sense to build a seperate game for it. Another drawback of GBL is its niche position in education. While gamification techniques are getting more and more popular in schools, game-based learning is still extremely rare. It’s not only due to high costs.
Another reason is the increasing importance of standardized testing. How many times have you seen an interactive game-like test? Probably never. That’s why teachers are not likely to implement GBL into their curriculum as their highest priority is to prepare their students for exams. The form of exam will always put pressure on teachers to use similar educational tools that match the exam. Different kinds of exams require different kinds of skills. So far our schools are not up to date with the skills needed in 2019.
To sum things up, I prepared a small infographic to highlight the main differences between Gamification and Game-based Learning. There are obviously many other differences between these two tools, but these are the most important ones that will make it clear for you, which one might be better suited to your needs:
Both Gamification and Game-based learning are getting increasingly popular. They can truly improve the quality of education by making it fun and engaging. It’s time to use the tools that technology gives us to transform education. As both Gamification & GBL are getting more popular, many people get confused with the difference between them and which one would fit their project better.
Gamification is a process of adding elements of gaming to the traditional course. It works great for smaller, memory-based material that needs a boost in engagement. It can be implemented quickly over the existing material, with relatively low cost. On the other hand, Game-based learning offers enormous possibilities. It’s extremely engaging and can be used with very complex and multidimensional projects. It has drawbacks though - to develop a good quality game-based learning app, it takes a lot of time and resources. It’s not a great solution for smaller projects.
The choice between Gamification and Game-based learning is not always simple - different projects require different approaches. Hopefully this article has made it clear, and has helped you to understand which tool fits your project better.
Learn about our projects
Shapes 3D Geometry Learning – the first and only complete geometry app
The article featured EdTech experts from different backgrounds and highlighted the top trends from the world of educational technology.
Fast-forward 12 months and now I’m excited to present the EdTech trends again for 2019! 🎉
This time I reached twice as many experts and asked them two key questions:
Which Edtech trend/s are you looking forward to in 2019?
What were your biggest challenge/s in 2018?
I’ll reveal the survey results later in the article. So stay tuned! I’ve skipped the funding part this time as it pretty much remains the same as last year. You may read the 2018 article if you want an overview on EdTech's valuation.
Let’s dive in then!
What are the EdTech Trends for 2019?
1. Making EdTech more accessible
Continuing from 2018, one trend which stands out again is to make learning technology more accessible to more people.
“Schools and teachers should be given exploration and innovation budgets.” Says Kristian Lundquist from Gro Play. This will see teachers getting more involved in EdTech product design and development.
“The metric of success is whether we are delivering an education ecosystem that gives learners the opportunities to thrive in 21st-century careers solving 21st-century challenges." - Becky Sage
Becky Sage, CEO, Interactive Scientific
Lowering the cost of EdTech can help penetrate the developing world says Juan Manuel Pico from Education Soul.
“EdTech needs to address the needs of millions of students. Governments can help to implement different solutions as long as the cost per child is below $3. Today the average retail price per child is around $30.”
Mervi Pänkäläinen from Mightifier is concerned with the low adoption of EdTech licenses.
30% of the EdTech licenses are never used and over 97% of licenses are never used intensively in US K-12 districts. This is highly alarming and will push EdTech developers to focus on UX and pedagogical value for teachers.
Also, Märt Aro from Nordic EdTech Forum "N8" agrees that we should focus on making EdTech accessible to more people globally.
"I am convinced that we have all the means and knowledge available to significantly increase the quality of learning experience and provide access to education to everybody globally." - Märt Aro, Nordic EdTech Forum
According to AR insider, there will be almost 1.5 billion AR-compatible smartphones by the end of 2020 and 3.4 billion by 2023. No wonder the adoption of AR in educational apps is growing every year.
Let’s find out what the experts have to say about ARinEdu!
"In 2019, teachers expect EdTech solutions that augment the reality of the classroom where the physical and digital realms can be seamlessly merged and a more holistic, multidisciplinary approach can be taken." - Pouria Kay, CEO, Grib
With Grib's AR app anyone can create 3D models and hone their creativity.
Anshul Dhawan, Founder, Equally
Augmented reality is poised to be the next frontier of computing with big players like Apple, Google, Microsoft, putting their weight behind the development of this technology.
Anshul Dhavan, founder Equally demonstrating the DaVinci AR app
Milena, Product Owner, Learn Teach Explore
“I believe that 2019 will be the year when teachers focus on meaningful EdTech solutions that allow for the creation of new tasks which were previously inconceivable. Augmenting the classroom with immersive technologies and collaboration tools is a top priority for 2019 for Shapes 3D Geometry Apps.”
3. Virtual Reality
Another immersive technology which is gaining more and more momentum in Education is VR. Perhaps the most important value learners get from VR is empathy. And with VR going cordless - it may speed up immersion in learning.
Barbara Anna Zielonka a renowned English teacher from Norway and top 10 Global Teacher Prize Finalist hopes there will be more apps that will offer social VR experiences to students.
“I have been using Google expeditions as a teaching tool, but I am looking for more social VR platforms that could be used in teaching.“ - Barbara Anna Zielonka
According to Paola Paulino from XR Pioneer, in 2019, 5G + standalone headsets are going to level up the VR industry to new accessible heights.
Hege Tollerud from Oslo EdTech Cluster believes VR will become more accessible as the prices of the equipment will drop in 2019!
Hege is working to build a more coherent Nordic EdTech community. Photo Credit: Gorm K Gaare/Oslo Innovation Week
Margherita Berti from University of Arizona says:
“In 2019 virtual reality will become increasingly accessible with affordable, yet sophisticated, viewing devices. Higher education institutions will begin to implement virtual reality inside the classroom.”
Jaime Donally, founder of ARVRinEDU and a renowned EdTech consultant is excited about the progression of immersive technologies that improve the user experience with artificial intelligence.
“The newer resources are continuing to move students from users to collaborators and content creators.”
At the same time Mika Kasanen from School Day Finland says:
“Analytics & AI will play a significant role in the early identification of both positive and negative issues at schools. At the end of the day, it's all about giving students and teachers a voice and a channel for their well-being."
Transparency and social impact of AI aided learning platforms are important to ensure the quality of education. That's according to Meri Sestola from Metka.
5. Standardization in EdTech
Making EdTech standardized was a key trend last year. This year the trend continues.
“EdTech is developing fast with many new interesting services being launched. Our main challenge is building powerful, interoperable digital ecosystems where developing standards, information, and structured data can be processed on a larger scale.“
“I'm hoping for a more systematic approach to EdTech solution development and deployment. A move away from solutions that solve 'everything', to capable solutions that integrate with other solutions.”
Neil O'Toole from the organization EDvisor Finland has developed a quality assurance framework that prepares companies for the Kokoa Standard. Finnish pedagogy provides sound methods to integrate technology with everyday classroom practice, something EDvisor Finland views as critical to the future of EdTech.
Other trends to look out for in 2019
Both Sari Hurme-Mehtälä from Kide Science Olli from Kokoa Standard believes companies focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) will be in the spotlight in 2019.
"I visited China at the end of 2018 and saw the insane fuzz around STEM education." - Olli Vallo, Kokoa Standard
Extended reality in MOOCs
Antti Lähtevänoja from ZOAN expects schools to adopt extended reality technologies. Especially with MOOCs.
However, he points out that research in this area is vital. Every new device or technology used in schools must have proven results in improving learning or teaching.
I’m excited to see the progression of immersive technology improving the user experience with artificial intelligence. The newer resources are continuing to move students from users to collaborators and content creators. - Antti Lähtevänoja, ZOAN
Another aspect to focus in 2019 are offline solutions. Fast-reliable internet is still out of reach of millions of learners around the world. So building EdTech product which doesn’t need internet connection all the time will be key.
Svenia Busson, founder of Paris based EdTech accelerator LearnSpace agrees that offline solutions are the way to go at least in the near future. She adds "I am quite confident Edtech in 2019 will evolve more and more around evidence-based products and active learning."
As promised here's the survey result from mini-research. In total, I got 40 respondents for the first question and 38 for the second.
1. Which Edtech trend/s are you looking forward to in 2019?
2. What were your biggest challenge/s in 2018?
As you can see 2019 is looking bright for artificial intelligence and immersive technologies. Both educators and entrepreneurs regard these two technologies very highly!
On the other hand, the biggest challenge for educators in 2018 was funding, followed by technology and user experience of the educational products.
It seems those who succeed in balancing “Ed” and “Tech” will definitely make a positive impact in 2019.
One of the many advantages of working for Setapp is the chance for all employees to improve their English with free English lessons with a British native speaker.
That English teacher is me, and back in September 2017, I was lucky enough to be welcomed into the family at the home of significant code. I have to admit, my initial decision to join was largely influenced by the location of Setapp HQ, set within the luxurious City Park complex. But I was quickly pleased to discover that the impressive architecture was equally matched by a positive and progressive vibe in the company. Things are happening here.
English lessons at Setapp are designed to:
give everyone the opportunity to improve their English skills
build confidence to use English regularly
have a positive team building effect in a fun way
Mistakes Are Good, Problems Don't Exist
Lessons are conducted twice a week in small groups averaging 4-5 people. A nice size for everyone to get the opportunity to speak during a 50-minute session. The teaching philosophy is founded on the belief that mistakes are like gifts that help us to improve. We can always learn from our mistakes, and so Carol Dweck’s concept of developing a growth mindset (as opposed to having a fixed mindset) is consistently encouraged for everyone to move forward.
The words we use can be a reflection of our mindset. For example, the use of the word “problem” can reveal a fixed mindset and serve as a barrier to get better. People who say, “I have a problem with grammar/speaking fluently/listening/vocab" invariably have a problem with those skills, a type of self-fulfilling prophecy. Using phrases like, “I need to improve my grammar" or “I'm learning more vocab" are more positive, much less restrictive and have the ability to set the learning process free.
Tech & VR For English
As a teacher, I also believe that it is equally important for me to learn from my students, respond to their needs and provide lessons in an agile way. At Setapp I’m surrounded by tech experts, so I can happily take advantage of this by learning more about using tech in my classes.
We have experimented with different types of technology to assist the English learning process, and VR has proved to be the most impressive in that regard. After teaching English in Poland for over 11 years, I’ve discovered that a person's confidence to use English is just as important as a person's knowledge of grammar, vocab or pronunciation. Fear of sounding silly or making mistakes can be the biggest obstacle to getting better, especially when you come face-to-face with a big bad native speaker. Fluency occurs when you’re not worried or thinking intensely about what you want to say.
This is where the likes of VR comes in, it's immersive power can take you to another place and allow you to talk about your new environment without the pressure of being visibly judged by an English teacher or others. Just having a VR headset on allows a person to focus on what they see and to describe things in a more relaxed way. So you don’t really need to know much about how to use it, just allow your student to browse what’s there and allow them to go on a journey of discovery.
One of Peter's student playing with Google Earth VR to strengthen communication and team-building skills in his classroom.
The Virtual Bomb!
After some cool advice from Michał Wróblewski, Setapp’s head of VR development, I decided to try out the game ‘Keep talking and nobody explodes!’ After some experimenting, I came to realise that this is perfect for communication and team building for groups of around 4 people. It targets skills such as describing things in detail under pressure (you have 5 minutes before you virtually explode!) and using specific vocab. Meanwhile, those not in the headset need to ask specific questions whilst reading a detailed user manual, before relaying instructions about how to defuse the bomb back to the player. It really does tick all the boxes and is a lot of fun.
I’ve also been introduced to the world of Kahoot, which is an online quiz maker with a difference. It is best used with a projected screen and requires players to use their smartphones in order to answer the questions. It's good for revising past concepts and again this can be a lot of fun and can provide a healthy competitive spirit in the classroom.
English For Specific Purposes
We also focus on improving English for job-specific purposes, which can enhance professional development. Everyone is encouraged to give a presentation in English in order to show off their confidence and skills. Students can also learn better writing with all types of company texts.
I have also started to oversee the English used in company meetings like Sprint Reviews as part of the Scrum framework and would like to extend this service. Also, the offer is always on the table to help anyone who would like to pass an English proficiency test like FCE or CAE.
English In Reality
English at Setapp is alive and happening on a daily basis, so let’s hear the opinions from the some of the people who matter, the students:
Ada Dymek, a Recruitment & Employer Branding Specialist, whose dream it is to be able to speak about any subject imaginable in a natural way says “I like the atmosphere during our lessons in which we aren’t afraid to make mistakes and thanks to that I feel more confident talking about any topic I want to.”
Rafał Araszkiewicz, a .NET Developer who wants to gain more fluency points out, “my fluency is improving because I can talk freely in English under the safe and watchful eye of our teacher.”
Marcin Domański, one of Setapp’s Web Developers adds, “Peter always points out easy fixes to improve our English, especially the most common mistakes made by Polish people”.
As an English teacher, I'm really pleased when I hear someone improving in the classroom, but small talk on the corridor or in the chill room is like gold to me and proves that people are really capable of using English in actual reality in a natural way. As one famous advertising campaign once said, “just do it!”.
If you would like to know more about how we do things at Setapp or you would like to discuss or exchange ideas about using Edtech or using VR in the classroom, then feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com or on Twitter.
Ok, so EdTech is rising and fast. As an entrepreneur in the educational space, you don’t want to be left out, do you? As an educational institute you want to embrace technology in learning, right? But…
You lack the technical know-how to build an educational app. Or, you can’t find a reliable partner who can build it the way you want.
Well, let me share some good news with you. In the next three minutes (or five if you happen to dig more into point 3) you will find a reliable partner who can build a top-notch educational app for you and your users.
And that partner is…
Setapp - The home of Significant Code
Ok, so let's look at those reasons for working with Setapp
1. You will have access to a wide array of technologies
It’s frustrating when you finally discover an idea for your next e-learning app, only to learn that you’re struggling to find a skilled dev team to build it.
Oops! There goes your next big idea down the drain. Or maybe not?
At Setapp, we are proud to have a vast pool of talented developers experienced with a wide range of technologies. You can count on us for Mobile, Web, VR, and AR development. Yes, all under the one roof! As tech consultants, our goal is to help you to choose the most suitable technology, which can bring value to your product and your users!
So, whether you're looking for developers to build a 3D mobile app to teach geometry to school kids or an engaging virtual reality experience that takes students to field trips to exotic places, at Setapp you will find a reliable partner for all your software outsourcing needs.
2. We have our own educational app
That’s right we have our own award-winning educational app called Shapes, which helps teachers to teach geometry to elementary and middle school students.
Developing Shapes has made us understand the importance of ‘impactful learning’ as an educational solution. At the end of the day that’s what matters, right?
Facts and stats about Shapes:
Over 22k downloads
Featured in the App Store as the "Best New App" in more than 100 countries
Available for Android, iOS, Mac and windows and Samsung Galaxy
Michał Wróblewski, our head of VR/AR is currently working on an AR version of the app. We’ll let you know when it’s out.
3. Get quick feedback from teachers, student, and investors
At Setapp, we work in Scrum. Our agile software development methodology not only decreases the time to market of your product but also ensures faster feedback from the end users.
We will deliver a ‘working increment’ of your product at least once a month. This way, you can test it first with students and teachers to get valuable feedback for further development. You won’t waste precious time and money for features and functions which are not ‘useful’ for your users.
Did I say something about ‘saving money’? Your investors will thank you for this!
In the beginning of January, we launched The EdTech World on Medium. Our aim is to provide you with the most comprehensive, thoughtful and well-researched insights from the world of educational technology!
That’s not all, in October last year we organised a Significant Hackathon, dedicated to EdTech. We had the privilege to invite Olli Vallo from Kokoa Standard and Mateusz Bartos from SlideCase as our guest mentors!
5. Poland is a top outsourcing destination
Poland has some of the most talented developers in the world. According to Hacker Rank, Polish developers are behind only to China and Russia in third place. Considering the massive size of those two countries, achieving such a result is highly commendable.
Our company is based in Poznań. The city is strategically located in the middle of Europe (literally)! Cities like London, Stockholm, and Copenhagen are within one - three-hour flight to Poznań.
And Berlin? Well, just hop on a train at Berlin Hauptbahnhof and you’ll arrive comfortably in Poznań in less than three hours.
6. Access to a qualified development team in a short period of time
Are you having a hard time recruiting experienced developers to build your app?
Partnering with Setapp will give you access to a qualified development team in a very short period of time. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have to worry about staying ahead of the competition. Setapp’s seasoned development team will leave no stone unturned to deliver your MVP before you know it.
Want more info?
If you’re looking to build your next educational app then don’t hesitate to sign up for our free EdTech consult. Our tech consultants, be it for Web, Mobile or VR/AR will be happy to answer all your questions.
2017 will be remembered as the year of the 'EdTech rebound'. After a sluggish 2016 in terms of investments, the global EdTech market has fought back with more than 500 deals expected by the end of the year. One region which is performing exceptionally well is the Nordics. The region is flourishing with many promising EdTech startups making their way up the ladder.
When I was a primary school teacher, I felt that there wasn't enough content in the teacher's manual and student exercise books to cover an entire lesson. This prompted me to come up with the idea of 'active assignments' which would keep the kids more active and motivated during lessons.
However, planning these assignments required a lot of time and effort from my side. I was spending over two hours on just lesson planning, while the class lasted only forty-five minutes. As I wasn't ready to use my personal time to plan the lessons, I just went with the flow during the classes!
The 'going with the flow' approach didn't really create anything special. The kids were getting frustrated and anxious, and started bullying each other. This made me very nervous as it was a challenge to keep the kids together and motivated to learn.
Then I thought maybe technology could help me. I could use it to give meaningful and activating tasks to the students, as well as track their progress and have them create things using technology.
Since I was a musician, I had the idea for a music app which students can use during their lessons to compose music. I pitched it to some government organisations with my friend and found out that a similar solution already existed. I contacted the company and started to do my PhD research on composing music with computers by using their app to collect data from students.
After publishing my first research article, the company offered me a job and that's how I ended up working in the field of EdTech.
How has EdTech changed education in Finland in the last 5 years?
EdTech hasn't really changed education or the school system in Finland. In fact, we are still waiting for the 'big education revolution'. Apps like Shapes is changing the way students understand geometry. It has the potential to take mathematics learning to the next level.
Shapes by Setapp
Like the Stanford professor of maths once said: " The invention of numbers caused a big revolution in maths." The invention and use of tablets should be causing a similar revolution in learning maths. Having said that I'm optimistic that the big change is coming soon!
Do you think exposing kids to too much tech at an early age is good for their development?
I'd say too much of anything is bad. Even too much sport isn't good for kids. It's all about finding the right balance between using technology and doing other things.
I used to spend a lot of time in front of the computer, making music when I was a kid. For me 'my computer' was my instrument instead of a guitar or a piano!
You can't artificially limit kids 'screen-time' and force them to go outside. You need to make them understand why it's essential to go and play outside and engage in “offline activities”. They need to understand why it's not good to spend too much time in front of the screen.
What are the most significant changes you've witnessed in the EdTech community in the Nordics?
I'm happy to see the progress made in EdTech in the last five years. Companies have started to realise the true potential of their business by focusing on 'the value' their product will give to the customer rather than just aiming to maximise profits.
They are thinking along the lines of "maybe this could be used in schools" rather than solely planning the product on the thinking "I want to make $'XYZ' money". When you base your product on these values then the quality of the product increases.
Is it crucial for an EdTech company to verify their product in the Nordics through Kokoa Agency?
I’d say that having a Kokoa Agency certificate is not that crucial. What's important is to provide the evidence that your product offers tangible outcomes in learning.
One way or another you can get the evidence. For instance, you can run long pilots and write a solid case study. This approach works just as well as our certification.
What are some of the most common mistakes made by EdTech startups?
Niche offering - The app is too niche! It's nice to have it, but it doesn't change the situation that much.
Value for money - If you want to introduce an app to replace books at schools, then it has to as comprehensive as the books (if not more). Why would a school pay 5 euros extra for your app if the books do as good a job as the app?
Quality of the application - The learning goals and the purpose for the users are unclear. Often what happens is that startups focus too much on the 'mechanics' of the app rather than focusing on its learning objectives. This is very much evident in the language learning apps where sometimes the emphasis is put too much on 'gamifying' the experience rather than creating content which will actually improve their vocabulary.
What are your thoughts on VR/AR in EdTech?
Immersive technologies like VR and AR bring additional value to the learning experience. You have a whole new dimension on how you can present your content and make learning an exciting experience.
Emotions are essential too! We know that emotional engagement can be a useful way of teaching. You learn a lot while watching a movie as it engages your emotions. So, if the emotional engagement is high in VR/AR, you can definitely use them to enhance learning.
Where is EdTech heading in the next five years?
Here are my top 3 predictions for the next five years:
Publishers will start producing good quality EdTech solutions for schools.
We will see an increase in Startup - Publisher cooperation.
The level of digitalisation in the Education sector is expected to rise from the current 2% to 5% during the next five years.
Finally, How was your experience at the Significant Hackathon?
It was awesome! The atmosphere was great and I really liked how Setapp focused on making the event fun for everyone. You often see a super serious competition where no one sleeps and everybody is stressed to win the contest. Which was not the case at the Significant Hackathon.
Many of the participating teams had a good understanding of the learning process. I believe you’ll see the teams producing high-quality pedagogical products in the near future.
If you are a programmer looking for something significant to do during one of your October weekends, why not joining us in Poznań for a hackathon? You just need to gather a team of no more than six people, come up with a good idea and sign up here.
Are you still unsure why you should come? Have a look at the five reasons why you shouldn’t miss it!
Is your office work lacking in adrenaline and challenges? If you join our Significant hackathon, we guarantee a healthy amount of competition! You can see what you are really made of as a programmer.
The experience of coding in just 24 hours with time pressure and other competitors coding away in the same room awaits! You will be able to verify if you have better ideas than the others and if you can really make it work within limited timeframe.
Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash
We are aware that you know a lot but we also know that you are hungry for more. That is why we give you the opportunity to learn new things from our fantastic mentors.
You will meet some of Setapp’s brightest minds:
Janusz Bossy with a strong background in many different technologies
They will be joined by Olli Vallo - our special guest from Finland. Olli is a co-founder of Kokoa - a company that specialises in ensuring that companies have their products created according to the highest educational standards.
You will be able to ask any questions related to your idea. Our mentor will also advise on how to deal with some technical aspects of your solution. You will not be left alone with your problems. Moreover, you will have time to talk about any other ideas as the guys are really chatty and helpful.
3. Latest technologies to test
At Setapp we have already developed apps for VR - such as Neverout, Overflight and other experiences. Therefore, we can offer you the latest technologies to test and play with.
However, if you have already dabbled in VR/MR/AR, you can also choose to develop a solution for our hackathon in one of these technologies. Our Head of VR is one of your mentors, so he will support you in your endeavours.
Please remember that it is crucial that you know the technology that you want to use during hackathon - only then you can count on winning.
Talking about winning. We know that competition is fun and it is a value in itself but we bet you appreciate a good prize! That is why we also thought about this. We have prepared two prizes - one for each of these two categories:
Idea - The prize for the idea will be awarded to the solution that fits well into the “learn | teach | explore” paradigm and ties technology and education. (PlayStation 4 + PlayStation VR)
Technical quality - While the prize for technical quality will be given to the team that will come up with the solution that is developed in the best way and has some potential to be developed even further. (A yearly subscription for Pluralsight.)
These two prizes are not linked. You can win both of them if you aim high and your team can deliver an incredible solution.
5. Amazing atmosphere
We will most definitely take care of you and your team! Members of our staff will be there to help you with any kind of inquiry. You will have time to chat with each other and meet new people.
We will take care of everything!
Our Significant hackathon is going to take place in our modern and brand new Showroom. Just next to a green wall full of live plants you will find comfy chairs, a sofa, and even a bar area!
Upstairs there is a chill room with even more attractions. You can use our pool table that can be converted into a table tennis table, Nintendo, Sony Play Station VR and much more.
Food and more!
We also know that it is difficult to think on an empty stomach. Sacks waiting for your within your arm’s reach. There will be also a lunch break during which we will serve hot meals that any geek will fancy. And don’t worry there will be an area where you can have a nap!
As you can see there is no need to think more about whether to join our hackathon or not! Just gather a team and apply on our Hackathon page.
Nordics have always been a frontrunner in education, focusing on creativity and collaboration. Although it has seen a steady rise in the number of EdTech companies over the last few years, still the Nordic EdTech scene has recently lagged behind the UK and the US. This is caused by the lack of synergy between startups, investors, governments and other stakeholders.
What’s more, it lets you create and export references in any style you desire and the best part it costs a mere $1/month. Now that’s a bargain for such a handy tool like this one. Kudos to Cenk Özbakır for creating such a helpful tool and making writing less stressful.
Not everyone enjoyed reading at school especially when they had to go through a pile of boring texts from a big fat textbook. Then in 2015 came BookBites to motivate schoolchildren to read by gamifying reading and making it an enjoyable experience.
It splits books into digestible and time-based segments called “bites.” The quantity and duration of these segments adapt to match the student’s individual reading level and speed. It lets students track their reading progress and check their reading history or statistics.
Gamification encourages students to read by rewarding them with stars as they read. Teachers can use the app to get an insight into class reading skills and performance.
Another classroom EdTech startup to be nominated for the best newcomer Danish startup for the 2017 Nordic Startup awards. Peergrade solves the problem of teachers to give comprehensive feedback to their students and encourages peer grading among the students which reduce 'time spent' on evaluating assignments.
It also provides quality feedback and encourages critical thinking among the pupils. It is easy as a pie to setup and use, for both students and teachers.
Some of the leading schools and universities including, Byron Public School, INSEAD, Boston University, KTH Royal University of Technology use Peergrade.
5. 3D Bear (Finland)
This is by far the coolest and the most fun application on the list. 3D bear is a 3D design tool that runs on your browser or tablet and gets you familiar with 3D printing, AR and VR. The mission of 3D bear is:
Tohelp educators create an environment in which students can learn life-skills that will make them successful in the 21st century – to elicit collaboration, improve multidisciplinary skills, develop a growth mindset and creative problem-solving.
With 3D bear, you can design and print your own avatar, learn number sequences and mathematical equations. You can even plan and produce a 3D model of your own room and furniture.
Created in support with Rovio - the company behind Angry Birds. Fun Academy combines entertainment with education to bring a dynamic learning environment. It offers teaching and gamified learning tools for teachers and kids at kindergarten.
Its array of digital and physical products helps teachers to provide kids with a fun and engaging learning environment.
Apart from Finland, Fun Academy has kindergartens in China, Singapore and the US and is set to roll out in Middle-East in 2017.
7. Gruply (Norway)
People’s attention span is getting lower and lower each year. Advancement in technology and content overload are the reasons for it. Gruply lets you create bite-sized micro-courses and build an audience in less than 57 seconds.
You can create video stories, capture 3D animations and deliver them to your audience. It lets you share your content on channels like social media, email, SMS, and the web. You can be an influencer by building your community on chats and groups. Although still in beta, you can pre-register for the closed-beta to get an invitation.
As you can see the Nordic EdTech scene is hotting up, and it's only going to get bigger! We'll be closely following the latest development from the Nordics and we will share our thoughts on our blog.