Ever wonder why kids these days find it difficult to grasp and imbibe all the information that is taught to them at school? One of the answers to that question might be in the way that our brain processes information. It is far easier for the brain to remember anything visually or as a sound than just letters on paper or on a board. And when there are pictures, the process of holding the information in your memory gets easier. So does retrieving it from memory when you need it. Today we are going to talk to about an app that helps with this. Let us talk about Themeefy.
Imagine a dedicated school intranet that helps students, teachers and even parents to see the learning information as sets of rich data that are sorted by theme. That in short is what Themeefy does. Although it sounds simple when we say it like that, the app is basically a huge value add for a school. It helps the student immensely to have photos, audio and other rich media as reference material to study. The Teacher has a controllers role here and has a dashboard from where “themes” or topics can be created and then opened up for both students and parents alike. The ability to have a portfolio or a repository of all the content that was taught and understood will stand the parents in good stead.
The Themeefy Platform allows you to do all of the following:
- Enable teachers and students to create themes on all themes covered in class
- Build digital portfolios of children with audio, video, text and images
- Share themes with parents with content covered in class, making it easy for parents and tutors to relate to class activities
- Use digital portfolios to help parents and teachers track progress, and to help students make better choices in the future
- Store all curriculum resources centrally and share these with various branches of the same institution
- Themeefy serves as a dedicated intranet for your school, ensuring that there is seamless interaction between all members of the school
In a nutshell, it makes the whole learning and recalling process interesting for the students and managing or tracking easy for parents and teachers. This kind of an app will be ideal for schools as a learning enabler. The best part of this is that the school needs no extra infrastructure for this, Themeefy handles that from their end.
We had a chat with Ryan Chadha from the Themeefy team to get a better understanding of this app. Here is the whole chat
Q: What is the innovation that drives Themeefy?
Ryan Chadha: The ability to use a wide variety of resources to create learning content with a few clicks. There are so many high quality resources available on the web, and Themeefy makes it possible to access and use all of these in a simple manner.
Q: What inspired/motivated the idea?
RC: Our founder felt the need for a more visual way to search, and for a better way to curate the vast amount of content available on the web.
Q: What are the interesting things you discovered in the process?
RC: Only 20% of people are ‘creators’ of content, while the other 80% are consumers. As a result, it is equally important to help the creators with their creation process and make it as seamless as possible. Having said that, the UI and UX needs to be spot on so that the other 80% are prompted to view and engage with the material that the creators have made.
Q: How do you see it helping the existing challenges in education in India?
RC: Process v/s Product: A journey is more important than its destination. The Maker movement in education abides by this philosophy and emphasizes on the importance of the learning process during the entire exercise of creating rather than the final creation.
At Themeefy, the students can create their own lessons by searching the Web for content relevant to their subject. The exercise of searching for information, reading and choosing the most apt content is far more efficient in the learning process than consuming readymade lessons.
(Re)Iterations & Perseverance: The process of creation involves many reiterations.
Students aren’t expected to nail the project on their first attempt. With positive feedback from their teachers, they will have to go back to the drawing board and tweak their creation several times before they nail it.
While creating their Themes, students will often have to stop, rethink & even pivot, leading to several iterations of the Theme in the process of making it more interesting, pertinent and pleasing to their audience. The exercise not only encourages perseverance, it also redefines “failure,” making the erstwhile negative comment, nothing but the first step in the learning process.
Engaged Learning: The Maker movement is driven by interest based projects that value individual insights and personalization. The very fact of being responsible for their learning process rather than being passive recipients of knowledge handed down by their teachers, drives a certain passion and sharpens the students’ interest in the subject.
In asking students to create their own lessons and involving them in the process of learning, educators are paving the way for more engaged and passion-based learning.
Sharing & Growing Together: Maker Ed is founded on the principles of sharing and community-based creation and growth. The Maker Movement encourages the practice of sharing of knowledge and skills and mentoring in the manner of our forefathers.
At Themeefy, students are encouraged to share their Themes in their learning networks and discover the Themes created by others. Themes published inside a class are visible to all the members, thus students can learn from each other. Learn more about this feature here.
Q: How is Themeefy different from such existing solutions and products flourished in the market?
RC: Themeefy is the only curation and publishing platform that is focused on education. We partner with schools, universities and NGOs to support their learning and teaching needs. In addition, Momentbox, the Themeefy app enables the creation of digital portfolios which serve as a digital archive of a person’s achievements.
Q: What are the challenges and obstacles you faced in building this product?
RC: The product has gone through several iterations as we’ve realized the exact product market fit that we want to achieve. As a result, we now have a platform which works well in the education setting, but are keen to explore other sectors which could make use of the platform.
Q: What are the initiatives/reforms you seek in education in India and why?
RC: We would like to see more innovation in teaching employed in India. For this teachers, need to be trained to be able to use EdTech products such as ours. In addition, the provision of internet in schools will make it easier for people to make full use of a product like Themeefy.
Q: What is the future road-map for the product and your start up?
RC: To grow Momentbox, the Themeefy app, and to grow the core platform. We wish to become the ultimate platform on which students record their learning achievements, and to create a powerful learning network consisting of 100s of schools, where collaboration and creation result in great learning experiences for students.
Our take is that if this approach to learning and teaching takes wings, the students and the overall quality of education will improve drastically! This is also clearly a brilliant use of mobile technology to help education and enable learning!