SmartEdTech Provides Mobile Learning Platform
3-28-2018 By, Electronic Education Report - Vol. 25, Number 4-Feb. 23, 2018
The business model for SmartEdTech, a mobile learning platform and content aggregator for PreK-12 education, has evolved over the past year with a new emphasis on a customer base of educational technology companies, rather than schools.
SmartEdTech (Sunnyvale, CA) began as SpedK12, a business that looked to improve speech and language abilities in children with learning disabilities. CEO Brian Sharp, who joined SmartEdTech in 2016 after stints at PowerSchool (Folsom, CA), Apex Learning (Seattle) and Kickboard (New Orleans), told EER that a passion for helping children who are challenged in learning still is part of the company’s work. The other driver is leveraging mobile learning.
SmartEdTech works to provide a personalized mobile learning experience that tracks student progress and delivers targeted recommendations for instruction. The company has built close to 200 apps, on topics that include grammar, writing and composition, math and cognition, and has opened up the platform to apps from other providers. Chromebooks and mobile devices, often purchased primarily for assessment purposes, are coming into the classroom in large numbers, Sharp said, but teachers often are not sure what to do with them. Teachers may settle for using devices to deliver programs like PowerPoint and Excel that they already are comfortable using.
Sharp said it can be difficult for teachers to choose mobile app content to use in the classroom, even though there are nearly a million apps out there labeled for education.“There is a huge pot of content if we can figure out how to put a lasso around it and make it useful for a classroom teacher,” he said.
SmartEdTech focuses on mobile apps that once downloaded can be worked on offline because there is still a challenge around connectivity for many students. At the same time as the move to mobile, there has been in education a push for data-driven instruction. Teachers receive much data and tools to make inferences from that data. What has not been as well provided, according to Sharp, is the path to the next instructional steps. With SmartEdTech, the teacher can push a button and see 10-12 apps that could be effective in supporting an individual student, he said.
“Our goal is to have an extensive library of quality content that is tagged in a way to support efficient sourcing of meaningful content that addresses individual student needs,” said Sharp. “To do that, we need a lot of content.” SmartEdTech works with app review organizations, like Bridging Apps and App Ed Review, finding content and partnering with app developers to integrate their apps into the platform. “This means we can not only source content effectively for teachers based on data, but we can also aggregate data across apps to show a full picture back of how the student is performing with that strategy,” Sharp said. “Today, data in apps is either non-existent or in a silo which is another reason why teachers don’t maximize mobile apps.” Typically, SmartEdTech’s efforts are with developers of three-to-five quality apps who struggle for market penetration. SmartEdTech helps those developers gain expo sure to teachers who then can leverage the content with individual learners.
Sources: Electronic Education Report