Homeschooling was once considered the eccentric hippie choice for early education. Now, with children participating in remote learning, and parents just a shout away, aspects of homeschooling have crept into the day-to-day lives of parents around the world.
Part of the problem is a lack of tools for remote learning. Zoom classrooms don’t quite work. Early education, for example, relies on classroom management techniques like clapping. These don’t translate over well to general-purpose video platforms.
A startup called Top Hat is solving this problem. Top Hat provides a video streaming platform for educators, and includes engagement features like polls and pop quizzes to keep students focused.
Edtech startups like Top Hat have seen unprecedented surges in usage. Investors have followed. For example, Primer, which hosts a series of online tools to help parents teach their children at home, recently raised a $3.7 million seed round led by Founders Fund.
Top Hat and Primer aren’t the only ones, either:
Zigazoo, an app for K-8 students, invites users to post videos in response to a daily prompt from a variety of categories. One day, a student might experiment with building fractions out of food, while the next could involve constructing a baking soda volcano.
Lingumi helps 2-6 year-olds learn English. The app uses voice-listening technology to listen to children speak, allowing educators and parents to assess their progress in pronunciation and fluency.
Make Music Count helps students learn math through music, using a digital piano. Each solved equation corresponds to a key on the keyboard, and once all the equations are solved, the keys are lined up and played to popular songs.
We’re still in the early days of remote learning technology. The approaches to digital learning are still somewhat skeuomorphic– we’re doing the same stuff we did in the classroom, but putting it online– because we’re still shaking off old habits and figuring out what’s possible online. But the startups building in the space are welcomed by parents and educators, who are looking for any help they can get. As someone who does propose digital, or remote learning! I would say, there are tons of other factors that need to be considered before this huge jump. Right now, it’s a fad technique, and something that is at its initial days, but as the days come there will be more room for digital learning as the expenses go higher, more software updates, and suggestive methods to train the child to not be distracted while there’s a screen between learning and teaching.
This is my two cents on online education. As I did teach pre primary for a little while, but writing about education has always been a fancy for me. Hoping to write more on this as the pandemic continues.
Ps, tons of research had to be done to create this post, as I wanted to know all the apps/ softwares/ methods one could use for remote, or as they call it digital learning.
Stay safe, stay in.