Education Day: Meet 5 EIC EdTech start-ups improving the classroom experience
COVID-19 has changed education forever. The pandemic forced the near-total closures of schools, universities and colleges, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries. With this sudden shift towards virtual classes, many wonder whether online learning will persist, and which innovations could improve the classroom experience in the post-COVID world. To celebrate the 3rd International Day of Education, the EIC Community gathered 5 EIC EdTech innovations shaping the school’s future. From robotics and artificial intelligence to virtual reality, many technological advances are entering students’ lives and strengthening education thanks to innovation.
Learning code through the joy of play
Currently, Europe is lagging behind the US and China in programming and robotics education as well as producing graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Robo Wunderkind is an Austrian company seeking to revolutionise the way children learn about new technologies and help them enter the world of robotics and coding. The innovative start-up builds tools that change the way kids play, learn, and create with tech in school and at home. Their robotics kits empower kids aged five and up to learn to code through the joy of play. Five hundred schools and cooperates are already using Robo Wunderkind, and the EIC-funded company continuously offers free robotics and coding workshops for primary school children.
The math incentive
We all have heard that students either love or hate math. The in-between never seems to exist. In Europe, math skills are in high demand but short supply, putting the EU in a disadvantage against the US and Asia. The Spanish company Smartick helps bridge this gap with a popular online method for learning mathematics geared to children ages 4 to 14. The disruptive AI-based math learning program has children complete interactive maths exercises on their computers or tablets for 15 minutes a day. A key innovation is that the content continuously adapts to the student’s learning style and current performance and supports the learning process with positive reinforcement. In addition to math, Smartick integrates a dedicated module of coding. Ready to take its method to the next level, and with the support of the EU-funded Smartick project, the company has integrated a cognitive training feature into the learning method.
When theoretical knowledge is not enough
Neurosurgery training is one of the most long-lasting and expensive of all medical disciplines. Learning programs average 15 years, and tuition fees can reach up to €60,000 per year. Furthermore, 3.4% neurosurgeons face malpractice claims every year, and 19% any claim, rising the indemnity payment up to €278,000 per physician. UpSurgeOn Academy aims to answer these problems with its first hybrid simulation platform which integrates digital and physical tools for neurosurgery training. Two neurosurgeons founded the Italian start-up UpSurgeOn in 2017 to improve global neurosurgical education. Partly funded by the EU, the company focused on developing the educational platform ‘UpSurgeOn Academy’ to facilitate the learning curve of future neurosurgeons.
Equalising opportunities for deaf people through education
Integrating deaf people into the job market is a crucial challenge. More than 50 % of the one million deaf people in Europe are unemployed and employed are often in low-skilled and low-paid jobs. Austrian company equalizent has created a business model offering job-related education and employment for deaf people. The company has developed specialised training for deaf people using sign language and professional training targeting students from the age of 16 through to adults. The project SIGNS FOR EUROPE now aims to replicate this successful business model currently running in Austria all over Europe via a franchise network. To do this, project researchers have carried out a detailed market analysis for all 28 EU countries and Israel.
Reinventing international student mobility
At most European universities, student admission is still bureaucratic and difficult to track. There is a lack of multi-institutional systems, where European universities and university networks can cooperate, promote studies and face study applicants jointly, to make their life easier. DreamApply EU wants to support universities to find national and international students and vice versa easily and fosters global student mobility towards the Old Continent. The Estonian start-up developed a student recruitment system for higher education institutions and has revolutionised the way universities work with international applicants from interest to enrolment. DreamApply was built on detailed analysis of more than 100 international higher education institutes which paved the way for an easily customisable and user-friendly admission management software.