Meet the five startups that are using digital technology to engage students and help them learn, programme, and experiment in the field of STEM.
The demand for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills is increasing exponentially. Across the world, parents and educators are realising the importance of nurturing children’s STEM skills with educational programmes and DIY activities.
According to the latest market study - Global Educational Toys Market 2017-2021 - by market research firm Technavio, the global educational toys market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 10 percent until 2021. The report suggests K-12 and STEM learning are the primary focus of the educational toy market.
The idea of experiential learning, if spread properly, can change the face of the Indian education system. Recent initiatives like Atal Innovation Mission and the concept of Atal Tinkering Labs is encouraging startups and students by giving wings to their creative ideas.
And why not? The global market for STEM educational toys is valued at $29 billion. Of this, India accounts for about $235 million and is expected to grow to $500 million by 2020. STEM is also one of the few categories of the toy industry that has shown consistent growth over the past five years; this growth is expected to be faster over the coming years.
Sensing the growing potential, several Indian companies are trying to create a niche with innovative offerings in the educational toys market. We list five Make-in-India companies that are aiming to make learning fun for children with their STEM-based toys and activity sets.
Smartivity Labs: Delhi-based Smartivity Labs was launched in 2015 by Tushar A Amin and IIT-Delhi alumni Apoorv Gupta, Rajat Jain, and Ashwini Kumar. The startup is dedicated to the design, development, and sale of STEM toys for children aged between 3 and 14 years. Its portfolio includes physical STEM educational do-it-yourself kits, and toys and activities that integrate cutting-edge technologies like augmented reality (AR), offering AR-enabled colouring sets and jigsaw puzzles.
STEMRobo: Founded in 2015 by Anurag Gupta and Rajiv Tiwari, Delhi-based STEMRobo focuses on designing and making innovative electronic devices, software, and methodologies around STEM Robotics for India’s K-12 segment. Incubated in Delhi’s Electropreneur Park, STEMRobo offers innovative models and project-based learning around STEM-Robotics. STEMRobo’s solutions are a combination of hardware kits (10 kinds of DIY models for different age groups), software, content, and services (online and campus training for kits via STEMRobo certified trainers).
Avishkaar Box: Started in 2008 by Tarun and Swati Gupta, Delhi-based Avishkaar Box aims to make children understand tech and science concepts in an effective and engaging way. Avishkaar Box is a bundle of monthly theme-based educational kit for children that can be purchased as standalone kit or a year-long subscription. The startup has developed two boxes - STEAM and INVENTORS. STEAM is a science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics-based educational kit for students of Class 1 and 2. INVENTORS boxes focus on specific technology themes like robotics, and are for children from Class 2 to 10.
evive: In July 2016 three engineering graduates, Abhishek Sharma, Dhrupal Shah, and Pankaj Kumar Verma, all alumni of IIT-Kanpur, developed evive to simplify learning, skill development, and project making in the field of STEM. Their device is designed to help students and tech enthusiasts learn, build, and debug robotics; embed systems; and other projects. The open-source embedded platform is powered by Arduino Mega (a programmable microcontroller board referred to as the “brain” in electronics and related projects) and offers an on-screen menu, eliminating the pain of re-programming the Arduino repeatedly. The device is coupled with an online learning centre, aimed at providing an enriched Do-It-Yourself experience for tech enthusiasts of all age groups.
Robotix Learning Solutions: Founded in 2009 by AS Ramana Prasad, Robotix offers robotics education for kids through an interdisciplinary approach, where STEM teaching happens in an interesting and innovative manner. Besides nurturing STEM skills and helping students take classroom skills to a higher level with its robotics and coding education programmes, the firm has also developed three robots - Phiro, Taco Playbits, and Taco Robobricks - to help children learn coding and enhance their STEM skills with ease.