5 of the most exciting edtech businesses right now

Written by Anna King

#edtech #innovation

For anybody who grew up with black boards, chalk dust and hand-written report cards, the technology in today’s classrooms is a revelation. With interactive white boards, iPads and online portals, education is already pretty darn techy as far as we’re concerned. But with the wave of new edtech innovators coming through, it’s about to get even more futuristic.

Edtech is one of the most vibrant sectors in the UK right now, having attracted a third (34%) of all the venture capital funding in Europe – that’s a cool £178m - across more than 1,200 companies. And with growth predicted at 22 per cent year on year, the market is expected to reach £3.4bn by 2021. So, loads of opportunities to be had.

To give you a taster of what’s in store (and what’s already out there), here’s our pick of the most exciting edtech companies around:

Chalk Board

Pi-top

The UK is facing a STEAM skills crisis (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) and the digital sector is crying out for the next generation of engineers and inventors.

That’s exactly where Pi-top comes in, with its modular laptop, designed to teach kids to create and make, with all the hardware, software, curriculum content and training support they need.

Young innovators can build cool creations such as a music synth, space race game and interactive robot.

Having just landed £16m of funding, the company looks set to take the classroom by storm.

Satchel

Formerly known as Show My Homework, Satchel was founded by former teacher, Naimish Gohil, as a way for teachers, students and parents to better keep track of homework tasks.

During his own time in the classroom, he found that this was a big point of friction due to a lack of visibility and communication on what was expected. Envisaging a solution, he set out in his free time to develop it. Needless to say, the company has been a hit, now used by around 50% of schools in the country and recently launching a seating plan tool and content portal.

BridgeU

Choosing which universities to apply for and then which to attend are huge decisions for students. Yet with 40,000 undergraduate courses in the UK alone, they’ve got their work cut out deciding which best suits their preferences and requirements.

BridgeU helps to solve this challenge with a platform that provides course recommendations based on student profiles, using big data and adaptive learning.

Students can then use the platform to complete their applications, while teachers can manage and track their progress throughout.

No More Marking

Ask any teacher what the worse part of their job is, and chances are they’ll say the marking.

Most teachers spend hours of extra time marking homework and exams, impacting their work-life balance and reducing the time they have to plan interesting and creative lessons.

No More Marking has come up with an ingenious solution, using a technique called comparative judgement. The company has developed an algorithm that learns from teachers as they compare two pieces of writing side by side, to establish a measurement scale. The algorithm is then able to rank all the pieces in order, so teachers can benchmark students work against their peers.

Incredibly, it’s proven to be more reliable than traditional marking methods, plus it is much faster, freeing teachers to focus on more value-add, not to mention enjoyable, activities.

Now>Press>Play

Headphones in class used to be a definite no-no, but Now>Press>Play is changing all that, by bringing immersive audio resources to primary schools, using wireless headphones.

Their experiences immerse kids in their own sonic stories, where they’re the main character.

For example, they can bounce across the surface of Mars, plunge into the Water Cycle, learn about global warming, or explore the wonders of ancient Egypt. The experience helps stimulate kids’ imaginations, creative writing skills and makes learning fun and exciting.

Now<Press<Play has now worked with over 200,000 children in 200 different schools across the UK – and counting.

Edtech is solving a whole host of issues in the education sector. But when you’re creating something totally new, you also face totally new risks.

Thankfully, Digital Risks specialises in insurance for techy businesses who are shaking up traditional sectors. Not sure what you protection your business needs? Then check out our Insurance 101, or give us a call on 0333 772 0759.

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