Publishers Turn a New Leaf with Edu-tech
Publishers go the startup way digitising content and investing in education-technology cos
Bengaluru: With startups innovating with technology in the education space, veterans in the publishing space also want to be a part of this change too. From digitising their content to investing in ed-tech startups, these players want to reach their audience in an all-new tech-savvy avatar.
“You have kids using smartphones and tablets at home, but using pen and paper when they come to school. We believe that there should a change in the way kids learn. There are many advantages — one is obviously with replacing text books, the content becomes interactive, user retention and user engagement are much higher,” said Gaurav Jhunjhnuwala, director at S Chand.
The content is not just the ecopy of the physical textbook, it is made interactive through use of animations, quizzes, links to external articles, among other methods. “Our school educational content offered digitally has animations, PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, picture galleries, glossaries and interactive activities like quizzes, crosswords, multiple choice questions etc. We also incorporate links to relevant and interesting content,” said Krishnadev Rao, director (commercial) at Orient Blackswan.
Dedicated teams are in place to design the content, though the digital learning part of the business is still in its nascent stages. “Looking at the future, we need to be prepared. Whether it is print or digital, we are trying to cater knowledge to a set of people. If the consumer moves and we are still in the paper format, we will not serve the purpose,” said Ujjwal Singh, vice-president (product) at Pearson, which has close to 240 people in its technology and digital team. “Digital has grown 300400 times in the last 24 months. This is our focus area.”
Publishers are also actively looking to invest in startups in the education space. S Chand has invested in test preparation platform Testbook and tutor aggregator platform FlipClass. Pearson has inves- ted in science experiments startup Experifun and pre-school player Sudiksha Knowledge Solutions. “We look at a product or service that is correct for India, not just a copy of Europe or the US, because India is a different market. We look at guys who are making disruptive technology and have a very strong management team,” said Jhunjhnuwala.
Hyderabad-based startup Edutor Technologies flagship product Ignitor has tied-up with publishers to digitise their content. “We help publishers to create and enrich digital textbooks with interactive elements. The teacher can then use this to share additional content and the students can annotate and make notes. We also do data mining and give publishers the feedback,” said Ram Gollamudi, CEO of Edutor Technologies.
UJJWALSINGH VP(product), Pearson Digital has grown 300- 400 times in the last 24 months. This is our focus area