Speak to anyone about a class room and images of blackboards and endless exams seem to come to mind. The monotony of the classroom is often what gets kids off from learning and losing their interest in education.
“The prevalence of the Internet in our daily lives has largely changed the way we choose to learn,” said Michael Chian, the founder of BeED, a Malaysian-based education app developer. Chian asserts that students are pretty much like any consumer of information today and their needs drive content creators and educators. “Market driven education is where we want to be”, he said.
Using a mobile app, BeED’s founder has a vision to create a virtual marketplace for students and for educators. The location-based app will allow students to learn while traveling or even in their home-country. “The new classroom is the unknown”, he said. Students can choose any host of subjects based on their age and level of education and use a mobile device to be guided through a city or space to learn more. “It allows students to pick what they want to learn, where they want to learn and do it at their own pace, on-demand”.
A virtual marketplace also opens opportunities for educators according to Chian. “We’re looking at empowering educators to become entrepreneurs”, he said. Educators will be able to tailor specific courses for students and offer them online through the BeED app. “The app opens doors to educators around the world to reach out to students globally”, he said. The app will also integrate with transport and accommodation providers to allow a seamless learning experience.
Chian said the app doesn’t replace a traditional classroom for now, but it will be a model for education in the future and it could potentially be used to integrate into current school activities including school trips. “Kids don’t like being told where to go, we’re giving them a chance to explore the world for themselves”, he said. The app will have options for use by a school as well as individual students for their own self-learning experience.
“Mobile technology will change the way we learn and how teachers teach”, he said. The founder of BeED is looking at using part of the proceeds from the marketplace to help train teachers and also fund schools and NGOs in less developed communities. Chian foresees that the education market is going to have to adapt to changing needs of students. “Students want choice and that’s what we’re all about”.