How this startup is bringing VR into your classrooms and textbooksSindhu Kashyap
Veative Labs is an edtech startup that uses VR to make learning interactive and fun in classrooms.
VR and AI seem to be the buzzwords of today, making their way across sectors like entertainment, real-estate, retail, gaming, and even healthcare. However, while so many sectors have witnessed these technologies spreading like wildfire, the education space hasn’t had the same exposure.
Ankur Aggrawal, Founder and CEO of Piron Corporation, an edtech company providing solutions in over 20 countries, had attended Almotahida Education Group at education technology show BETT. It was there that he realised that there was a need for better and more engaging educational resources for schools, teachers, and students.
It was then that he came up with the idea of Veative Labs, which he started with the help of the Almotahida Education Group. The idea behind the venture is to bring a better learning experience to schools and higher education colleges around the globe. This is done through the use of high-quality 3D, virtual, augmented, and mixed reality content and teaching tools. Explaining how this works, Ankur says,
“Our immersive content and products capture the imagination and help students learn by bringing subjects and concepts to life. Created for educational institutions, the content can be aligned to any curriculum. Veative has hundreds of VR modules in science and mathematics, and we are constantly developing more.”
Building the team
One of the biggest challenge they faced while setting up was to assemble a workforce that would be capable of dealing with these upcoming technologies while continuing to research for updates in the existing technologies.
This was when they roped in Mehak Aggarwal, who had worked for ICICI Bank and Steria, Colin Bethell, a qualified teacher with 20 years’ educational publishing experience, and Aditya Hansen, who comes with experience in 3D production.
Since the core team had been involved with e-learning technologies in the past, they brought with them the capabilities to chart out the best possible approach for setting up the broader team. The Veative team now comprise of 250 people, with offices in Singapore and a production centre in India.
Veative’s innovative VR Learn solution comes pre-loaded with high-quality content that aligns to curriculums and slots neatly into the classroom–supporting teachers in delivering more engaging and effective lessons.
With 300 modules already launched, Veative aims to develop 700 by mid-2017, and 1,200 by the end of the year.
Currently available in biology, chemistry, physics, and maths, all modules can be easily adapted for any language and any curriculum. They include 3D models, 360-degree videos, tasks, exercises, simulations, and other interactive activities, all complemented by smart analytics and classroom management apps for teachers.
The wireless controller completes the package, enabling true interactivity with VR objects and subjects–bringing learning to life for today’s digital-savvy students.
How does it help?
Veative’s modules are interactive, easy-to-use, and enable student-centred learning, which can reinforce any science or mathematics curriculum.
The modules are built into the headset without the need for a mobile phone. This makes the management of the equipment and classroom straightforward and avoids any issues that might arise as a result of using mobile phones. But for convenience, Veative content also works on Google cardboard.
The headset also comes with a hand-held controller that enables navigation and engages the student in the VR module. Objects can be manipulated by the student, allowing for virtual experiments.
Teachers can control student screens, and can also blank them to get the students’ attention. They can also install, uninstall, and launch VR modules remotely on students’ devices.
The Veative VR Learn content delivery app is employed for delivery of high-quality interactive VR modules. Students can easily organise their existing VR modules and also add new ones in the My Library section of the content delivery app.
It also enables students and teachers to download VR content from the online store or from a local (offline) content access point.
There is built-in learner feedback and tracked assessment, which ensures that learners stay on task. “The offline version is supported by our proprietary analytics system that stores results locally and syncs with the server when an internet connection is available,” says Ankur.
Veative VR Learn provides its own proprietary reporting system for students, teachers, and parents to view data. Analytics data can also be sent to any other LMS/LRS system used by schools.
Space and future
Veative was set up in May 2016 with an initial investment of $5 million. They are currently in discussions with companies and institutions around the world, and have started pilots in schools across the globe.
Edtech is one of the biggest sectors in the Indian startup ecosystem, and within the sector, tutoring and K12 is one of the largest segments. A Kaizen report suggests that edtech is amongst the largest capitalised spaces in the country, with an annual government spending at $63 billion and a private spend of $56 billion.
Standing tall in the segment at the moment are Byju’s, which already has $140 million in its kitty, and Mumbai-based Topper. The report suggests that, since 2007, close to $1.1 billion has been pumped into the space.
Veative is also increasing its marketing efforts to reach major countries by showcasing their VR solutions in education technology-related shows. Having just completed a successful product launch at the BETT and GESS shows in London and Dubai respectively, the company is now gearing up for its US product launch at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio.