This edutech platform shows RASTA for students

This edutech platform shows RASTA for students

23.4 Degrees Education has designed products called Compass aimed at improving the productivity of teachers and another product RASTA which helps students face exams

23.4 degree is the angle at which the earth rotates around its axis. The difference a 'tilt' can bring makes seasons possible and thus life on the planet.

With this thought of finding the right tilt in the education system, Hyderabad-based startup 23.4 Degrees Education Services Private Limited was founded in 2014, to improve the productivity and effectiveness of a teacher.

The edutech platform is the brain child of Vinay Chousalkar, Sujay Shivram and Manoj Kumar Jain; classmates back in engineering, alumni of IIM Ahmedabad and ISB.

They have work experience of more than 10 years each at multinationals like Microsoft and Infosys.

Cofounder Vinay Chousalkar says, "We saw an opportunity in the education sector which needed change -- a solution to convert traditional methods of teaching in the classroom.

Bringing only external intervention would not be helpful, as it does not sustain the change. For the change to be sustainable you need a solution that will change the way teachers are teaching in the classroom."

The platform has two products, first being a curriculum solution called Compass and secondly, RASTA, (read, analyse, summarise, test, achieve), an exam preparation solution.

Under Compass, the startup provides textbooks in the subjects, social studies and science, lesson plans for the teacher and a mobile application for students and teachers of grade one to eight in the CBSE and ICSE board.

"We look at best practices in teaching like flip a classroom, interactivity, neurosciences and learning etc and convert these ideas into a process.

The product helps the teacher to implement these processes. Compass here, shows the right direction for learning and teaching as well," informs Chousalkar.

The chapters in social studies and science textbooks are broken down into individual B5 sized booklets.

Here, the subjects textbook, classwork, homework and additional worksheets are combined into one and given in a booklet format wherein 20 books for one subject in each grade is available in a box.

Depending upon the grade and subject, this box of books is available at a price of Rs 400 to Rs 700.

The cofounder adds, "As our booklets adhere to CBSE and ICSE syllabuses, it has been replaced with the standard textbooks in schools.

This has resulted in reduction of the weight of a bag that children have to carry, and from learning perspective, the student gets to be more focused. For teachers, they are able to implement practices like flip class very seamlessly in the classroom. The lesson plan is given as instructions to be followed by the teacher."

Compass has replaced regular textbooks in 70 schools across India. Over a period of four years, more than 40,000 students and 1,000 teachers are using the product.

The mobile application supports a teacher with additional teaching material. Also, the app contains videos that the teacher could display over a smart board for better understanding.

The app for students is a diagnostic testing app wherein students get to test their preparations for exams by identifying their strength, weaknesses and methods to rectify their weakness in a subject.

RASTA, the second product launched in March 2019 for grade nine and 10, guides in exam preparation. Published, distributed and marketed by publishers Orient Blackswan Pvt Ltd, the product at present is available in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, with plans to reach out to schools across India in 2020.

"Generally, schools complete the syllabus by the month of August or September, post which it is constant practice for a student with multiple worksheets and question papers. This leads to memorising which is very stressful.

We help children complete the syllabus in the same amount of time. Instead of writing down the answers, they can capture the key points in a graphic organiser, which is called as visual notes, present in the form of a book. With this, a child can learn better and revise in a shorter period before exams," says Chousalkar.

23.4 Degrees is currently working on a third product, an online adaptive assessment platform lined up for launch in support of the government's National Education Policy 2019. As mentioned under the draft of the policy, schools will have to opt for online adaptive assessment of periodic tests.

"This personalised test taken before exams gives the student an understanding of their learning about a subject. We plan to roll out a solution which will help the schools implement the government's initiative," the co-founder adds.

The startup will be adding mathematics to its RASTA offering in 2019, and by 2020 the subject will be added to Compass. The platform is guided by four academic reviewers from educational background to provide inputs and validate the product.

Including the three founders, the startup has 14 member-team, consisting of women content developers working from home from various metro cities of India.

23.4 Degrees was initially bootstrapped, later funds were raised from angel investors, however, without disclosing the total amount of investment, Chousalkar says they have tied up with the publisher on revenue sharing basis, to increase further access in the market.

The Startup India-registered startup was one among 13 edtech startups from India selected for an acceleration programme by the US-based venture capital firm Village Capital.

Though the startup has a competitor present in the market with a similar concept, the founders are confident about their exclusive product design and approach.

In the final stage of raising investments for developing the digital platform, the startup looks to further grow on back of the platform which can be deployed for every other exam preparation.

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