Founders of a Social EdTech Startup iDream Education Share Their Journey & Impact

Startups in edtech today span private sectors such as K-12, higher education, vocational training, and corporate training sectors.

But we see that huge opportunities also lie in serving the bigger pie of govt. schools and one such social edtech startup we came across is iDream Education. During our talk with founders Rohit Prakash and Puneet Goyal last week, we learnt about iDream Education's bootstrapped journey and impact they have been able to create.

Here's a transcript from the interview.

What’s the briefest way to define iDream Education?

iDream Education is a social ed-tech startup facilitating access to enjoyable digital learning in local languages on tablets and mobile.

What problems are you solving, for whom & how? (What initiatives?)

During an assessment conducted by Govt of Haryana, Lalit a student from a govt school in Rohtak was considered not Saksham. His attendance had dropped and he was almost leaving school but then TabLab was set up in his school. With direct access to Hindi medium play way digital content, Lalit began taking a proactive interest in learning, became regular in school and is now happily covering his previous learning gaps.

 To Lalit and millions of children like him , we are taking interactive and skill oriented digital learning in local language directly in their hands. Our vision is to engage and excite our last mile learners for growth oriented education by leveraging the reach and acceptance of android and multimedia.

Tab Lab, our flagship solution is a plug and play tablet lab for schools to personalize learning for their students with offline content in any language.

We have recently launched the iDream Learning App, which has been designed to access digital content of all categories in English medium and local languages via Android devices.

We are taking interactive and skill oriented digital learning to local language learners and rural govt schools. Our vision is to engage and excite our last mile learners for growth oriented education by leveraging the reach and acceptance of android and multimedia.

Tab Lab, our flagship solution is a plug and play tablet lab for schools to personalize learning for their students with offline content in any language.

iDream Learning App has been designed to access digital content of all categories in English medium and local languages via android devices. The app integrated to a unique app, iDream Coach developed for teachers and schools to access usage reports and guide the learners for best of integrated use at schools.

How many clients/users have you impacted till date with TABLAB/other projects? How do you keep a check on improvement?

Our solutions have reached around 15000 students at more than 100 schools in 10 states across the country. We have also implemented Tab Labs with digital content in 8 different languages and as per state boards.

We have integrated student wise usage and learning outcomes reporting both in the Tab Lab and the iDream App. This ensures access to personalized usage and improvements data for the schools and other stakeholders.

How did this start? Tell us about your background, team, who do you have supporting you?

Me and my partner Puneet had been working in ed-tech distribution and training for more than 5 years before we started iDream Education. During that time, both of us had an opportunity to work closely with government schools. That is when we realized that our rural and semi urban students have little access to quality digital content. Availability of local language content and easy to use digital learning hardware were the two gaps we saw.

On the other side, those were the times when android devices were fast reaching every corner of rural and urban India.  

During a trip to Kashmir, where we were setting up a computer based lab in a government school, a class 6th student walked up to me and told me my name and that I have come from Delhi. When I asked him how did he knew, he shared that he found out everything about us using Google chrome on his father’s android smart phone.

We fell in love with the idea of leveraging this reach and familiarity to android and taking digital learning to students in the language they understand best and in a way that they enjoy.

We came together and seeded iDream Education.

We are a self funded social startup and have been supported by organizations like Vodafone Foundation, NASSCOM Foundation & Google India who awarded us as SMB Heroes for Impacting Change through Digital. Yes Bank Foundation also awarded us as one of the top 25 Social Impact Organizations in India for 2018.

What are iDream Education’s expansion plans for the coming years?

Now when we have stabilized Tab Lab and experienced the ease of use and acceptance it brings to digital learning in schools, we plan to create a country wide outreach for Tab Labs and Learning Tablets for Schools. But we wish to create a credible and value driven inbound business development approach.

In terms of partnerships, we are exploring possibilities of on-boarding vision aligned partners who can take our solutions to schools, NGOs, CSR and students in different states. We would also wish to associate with state governments, education consultants and CSR consultants who connect to the deeper value and research we bring for government schools.

What is the biggest need/void in your firm currently?

Our priority today is to scale up our outreach to schools, principals and the social plus government sector in digital education but with a digital approach. We wish to build a credibility driven inbound business growth by showcasing the deeper and differential value we offer in every aspect of our solution.

The biggest aspiration today is outreach and connect to schools and social sector looking to personalize digital learning via tablets and mobile apps.

Who would you call your competitors? And how are you different?

India needs many more organizations like us to truly open up student-centric and personalized digital learning access to every school and therefore we look at everyone as a collaborator instead of competition.

We like to follow and study Byjus for the way they scaled up in the direct tablet retail to parents although we do not operate in that space but Byju’s may soon be coming to schools:)

What’s your take on opportunities in the Indian edtech market? What role can technology play especially in the low-income communities?

Ed-Tech in schools is now opening up from a teacher centric smart class approach to include a student centric and personalized learning approach. Direct Ed-Tech retail to parents is already growing propelled heavily by Byjus. We believe that the indian ed-tech market is set to grow and also mature to integrate in-school and at-home learning instead of creating two parallel worlds for students.

As for the low-income community students, we firmly believe that mobile ed-tech can very well be their growth enabler. Affordable android devices are reaching the farthest of our rural homes and students are happily training themselves to access digital via parents phones.

Our social ed-tech fraternity can leverage this reach and acceptance of android to break open the learning and growth barriers for our underserved yet brilliant rural students.

At iDream Education, we are committed to this space and carry a vision to take mobile ed-tech to the last mile learners with local language digital content.

Any thought leader or companies with innovation which you follow for success? Whether in the EdTech space or in general?

At iDream Education we are deeply inspired by Google. We believe that Google and its tools have brought in a digital democracy to the world in its true sense. Google is also leading the movement of enabling digital access in every language that the world speaks.

Therefore whether it is the deep focus on their vision, the universal design principles or their amazing value marketing, we look up to Google for most of our learning and inspiration.

In social edtech, we revere Arvind Gupta for the stupendous work he has done to bring two most important aspects to school education:
a) Enjoyable Learning via student engagement and  
b) connecting education to skills with real life application using everyday material.

His video concept of Toys from Trash is the most beautiful approach to learning we have seen students experience.  

So its Google and Arvind Gupta for us. Deep Respect.

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