5 Local Startups Offering Online Resources to Help Educators through COVID-19
Updated: Jun 24, 2020
This is the first piece written as part of an ongoing series, Supporting Educators Through COVID-19, providing a glimpse in the challenges educators faced during this trying period.
Digital learning has always been at the heart of Singapore’s education landscape since the implementation of infocomm technology (ICT) for schools in 1997. In recent years, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has been purposefully encouraging all secondary school students to have a personal learning device (PLD) by 2028, as part of a national digital literacy programme. With this initiative, our students can be more digital-savvy, allowing them to pick up skills and technical know-how on their own.
The recent unfolding of COVID-19 has resulted in a more prominent shift toward remote forms of online learning, with recorded lectures and online quizzes replacing physical tutorials and lectures at universities. This black swan event, albeit uncertain for students, does have a silver lining as it encourages students to take greater ownership of their learning. With Home-Based Learning (HBL) being implemented for a month, schools are transitioning to a blended form of learning. Students are encouraged to be more self-directed and proactive in their own learning through their school learning platforms.
During this unprecedented period, online resources are increasingly becoming a necessity and a new normal for students. Hence, with startups like SmarterMe providing skills-based online courses and Geniebook providing AI-driven assessments, there are plenty of learning resources to enable educators to provide the best educational experience for their students.
On the other hand, educators now struggle with digitalising their curriculum and designing new teaching practices that can help students learn via video conferencing tools e.g. Zoom. As educators, we understand the importance of ensuring that every student gets the quality educational experience they deserve.
Thus, we have curated the following list of local startups in Singapore, whose online resources we hope will serve you well during this circuit breaker.
Online Tuition, Unfair Advantage — Cudy
Founded in 2017, Cudy has been creating a virtual classroom experience and aims to connect students to a suitable tutor, without the hassle and fuss of travelling. Needless to say, any form of online learning is beneficial because of the convenience it brings about. However, this live-streaming educational platform not just benefits students, it also provides the freedom for its freelance educators to connect with multiple students concurrently. For tutors who are unable to conduct a physical class, live-streaming provides an ideal alternative.
Soft Skills Development, Holistic Competence — Skilio
Amongst the many players providing self-directed development is social learning platform, Skilio. Founded by Felix Tan, a current full-time student and entrepreneur, Skilio primarily serves as a soft-skills analytics platform in helping students develop soft skills alongside their academic curriculum. Its main function stems from the tracking of soft skills development via various Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) and Values-in-Action (VIA) programmes, through its proprietary AI-based algorithm.
Upon the completion of identified activities, Skilio measures students' soft skills competencies through their proprietary AI algorithm, where students' reflection and feedback received from the activities are mapped against a skills taxonomy. This will then be displayed into the students' soft skills dashboard allowing students to visually understand their strengths and areas to improve. By adding a more quantifiable value to qualitative soft skills such as leadership or teamwork, it can allow for a more holistic evaluation of the student. Beyond the monotony of grades-chasing in school, students can strive to hone soft skills and job-relevant competencies.
Connecting Learners and Educators—Tueetor
Tueetor is an all-in-one package for educators. Operating as a fully-automated, location-based, edutech platform, Tueetor helps to connect learners and educators on 500+ subjects - academic, arts & crafts, culinary, performing arts, programming, technology, sports & fitness, special needs education.
Unlike Cudy, which provides primarily academic resources, Tueetor helps to cater to the more holistic development of students. By offering different subjects like Personal & Professional Development and Software & Technology, this Singapore-based edutech platform strives to promote other forms of education.
Subject Categories on Tueetor Credit: Tueetor
Smarter Learning — Smarter Me
With live online classes offering a varied range of topics — from introduction to entrepreneurship and game development to coding—SmarterMe emphasises imparting 21st-century digital competencies. It offers a range of affordably-priced classes that are priced between $20-30 per student.
With e-learning being implemented in schools more than a decade ago and MOE’s introduction of a Student Learning Space— an online learning platform in 2018 — there have been sustained efforts to revamp digital learning methods for students to make it more engaging, self-directed and student-centred. Teachers can find it especially useful in getting students to learn new skills that are valued and complementary to their curriculum and co-curricular activities.
Targeted at students aged 9-17 years old, SmarterMe bridges learning gaps for new relatively new topics such as entrepreneurship, coding and robotics. Unlike other online learning focused on traditional curriculum subjects, SmarterMe focuses on developing problem-solvers with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Personalised, Tailored Tutoring — Geniebook
Focus & Effective, Champion Progress, Empowered & Confident — these isn’t just the company’s mission statement, but qualities that Geniebook have been conscientiously imparting to their students. If there is one thing that all my years of tuition and education have taught me — it is that student-centred learning often leads to improved results.
In this case, Geniebook has successfully put forth a product that caters to each and every student’s academic ability. The students’ worksheets are marked by real teachers before the answers are to be published online. With every incorrect answer, an automated and comprehensive solution would be displayed, guiding the student in better understanding the content. By harnessing AI to identify weaknesses and assign worksheets, it can better address the student’s learning gaps. Its data-driven software has allowed a more personalised approach in guiding students, almost akin to engaging a tutor in person — which explains its relatively higher package cost.
In times like this, Geniebook is undeniably a saving grace for many students and educators. With its patented AI technology, who would have thought online learning could be so accessible and practical?
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” - Chinese Proverb
Why not take this time to pursue something different, perhaps kickstart your entrepreneurial endeavours or develop your passion project? Amidst the current disquiet, it would be a timely opportunity to reflect and decide how else you can develop as a more resilient and holistic individual.
As aptly phrased by Minister Ong, let us take this time to ‘stay safe, stay home, stay curious’.
Team Reactor would like to continue to offer resources and assistance to our Educators during this difficult time. This list of startups provide an alternative learning resource that can be accessed by students on their mobile devices. While online learning will not be able to fully replace the depth of the physical learning experience, we sincerely hope that these resources will enable educators during this trying period.
Thank you for everything that you continue to do for our youth.
As we stay afloat in this wave of certainty, let us reflect and focus on what we can work on. While this article has provided some base for educators, we strive to be #PeopleFirst. Hence, we have curated a list of valuable learning resources for the community.
For more COVID-19 resources, view them here.
Written by Sherman Tham
Sherman is the Marketing Ensign at Reactor School, and a Reactor Student Alumni.