Gamified learning, apps that let you study on your phone, blockchain-based edtech companies, personalized learning, teaching robots… the list goes on.
You have most likely heard of and experienced some of the new-age edtech products first-hand. So let me state the obvious here – the edtech ecosystem spans much more than just apps for schools and teachers. Corporate learning, personal learning and hybrid education technology are all part of the edtech definition. With investments picking up in the sector and a recent avalanche of new edtech companies pouring onto the scene, the industry has blossomed into a multi-billion market.
We have already seen the speed of adoption of online learning, with platforms like Coursera and Skillshare counting their students in millions, and witnessed the booming popularity of MOOCs (massive open online courses). While so much noise in the market almost always means that some new companies will fail, those that manage to cut through the buzz will lead the disruption.
Here are five innovative education startups that are poised to make waves in the edtech industry.
BitDegree is the world’s first blockchain-powered online education platform that offers token scholarships and simplifies tech talent acquisition. The fact that it’s built atop of Ethereum, the new revolutionary blockchain technology, allows BitDegree to issue their own tokens that can be exchanged amongst the users of the platform – students, sponsors, and third parties. The beauty of digital tokens is that they can represent almost any asset that is trade-able and fungible, from commodities to loyalty points, and in the case of BitDegree, they represent payment for a scholarship.
How BitDegree works is brilliantly simple. A company can sponsor (hence, the sponsor) an online course in the hope of identifying and attracting the emerging tech talent. A student can undertake an online course for free and get rewarded for their achievements as they work their way through the course materials, with the bonus of a potential job offer from the sponsor at the end of the course.
The BitDegree educational model addresses some of the hottest industry issues. It helps students pick up new, in-demand skills that make them more employable, while, at the same time, helping businesses source the right talent. The gap between what universities teach and what employers want closes significantly, and this sort of incentivized, demand-driven learning is the future of education.
Happy Numbers is a math app for children that successfully blends pedagogy, research and technology. It’s engineered to assist teachers in fostering independence through immediate feedback and remediation for errors, adaptive scoring, individualized pacing, visual modeling, and support for non-readers.
The team behind Happy Numbers have neatly packaged some of the best, time-tested approaches to math instruction and enhanced it with emerging tech solutions to help children, as young as 4 years-old, to grasp and master math skills.
The shift towards an algorithm-driven world has put math knowledge at the top of everyone’s learning agenda, and if technology could be used to simplify and streamline this process, then Happy Numbers are already testing its capabilities.
Rype is the most effective way for busy people to learn new languages. Speaking a new language is one of the most popular items on everyone’s learning wishlist, and it’s also one that gets postponed, pushed aside and overlooked most of the time. Mastering a new language takes time and practice – or at least that’s what we’re used to thinking.
The Rype app is determined to change that perception by offering a fun, powerful and research-backed learning solution that combines quality teachers, convenient learning, and simple pricing. The backbone of the Rype teaching method is to have students immerse themselves in the new language on a daily basis. As a paying member, you can book private lessons with fully-vetted, 5-star rated teachers any time of the day, anywhere in the world. A student also gets a personalized learning program, which is designed to address their knowledge gaps and enable them to pick up language skills much faster.
A company that’s fixing language learning is a welcome change in an increasingly more global world.
Open Source University
Open Source University is a tokenized learning and development marketplace built on the blockchain technology. It strives to use blockchain technology to make all academic achievements transparent and to offer an industry-standard digital wallet to store academic certifications. For certifications to be useful, they must be universally recognized and verifiable, however, it is still very much a manual job in the education sector. OS University plans to change that in the nearest future.
The platform effortlessly connects businesses, students and academia by using smart contracts. It is particularly convenient for students who are trying to find the right academic and career development opportunities. A matching algorithm handles big data calculations to connect businesses with the right candidates, simplifying the recruitment process and significantly cutting down costs.
This Ethereum project aims to revolutionize the way businesses, learners and academia communicate, eliminating the middleman and making the tracking of learning records a simple, real-time process.
Brainscape is an online flashcards app that applies decades of cognitive science research to make studying as efficient as humanly possible. It allows users to either create their own flashcards, study Brainscape’s “knowledge rehab” flashcards or immerse themselves in classes created by fellow users. Learning topics can range from World History to Trigonometry to Salesforce, bringing modern students up to speed with the most important facts and lessons.
Brainscape stands out from the scores of other edtech apps thanks to its scientifically proven adaptive flashcards algorithm that repeats concepts in a pattern that is optimized to the user’s pace of learning.
The app is committed to combining the latest cognitive science research on the patterns of repetition, color, font style, social interactions, breaks, sounds, humor, animations, achievements, and rewards to develop a learning experience that improves our brain’s speed of learning.
Tomas Laurinavicius is a traveling lifestyle entrepreneur and blogger from Lithuania.