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Gojimo disrupts learning by mobile

Command-and-control approaches to learning just don’t cut it with millennials, who are independently minded and prefer to learn through mobile, says George Burgess, founder and CEO of Gojimo. That’s why his fast-rising London edtech business has launched its Gojimo Tutor app, offering one-to-one smartphone teaching support.

GeorgeBurgess350Mention smartphones in the classroom and most teachers will roll their eyes at the distraction caused by games and apps, or describe the long and futile war against messaging while teaching.

But some are waking up to the potential for mobile to be a positive force in education, inside and outside the classroom. At Gojimo we are committed to exploring the use of technology to improve the education experience, on the students’ terms. Millennials spend up to 85% of their time on mobile devices, so trying a command-and-control approach to learning via traditional channels is not an option and will only breed resentment.

As with all disruptive technology, edtech makes some people nervous. Just as the thought of entrusting your bank details to a website once seemed crazy, so using a smartphone to replace books and notepads in education and revision didn’t make sense to some.

But, for young people growing up digitally native, working on a device that offers the most tailored experience and through the medium they are more comfortable with is the only sensible option.

We launched Gojimo Tutor in response to feedback from our users that they wanted a more interactive learning experience, and that they wanted to learn on their own terms.

Education is discursive and every student learns differently, so Gojimo Tutor gives students one-to-one support from teachers and subject specialists to talk through any concepts or problems that they struggle with.

Ofcom research shows that 94% of school students use instant messaging as a primary form of communication, so this is how we offer tutoring. Millennials are more independently minded than previous generations, so we offer extended support hours, allowing students to choose their own revision timetable.

We even offer image sharing to support students tackling graphs or images, or to help those who learn best visually.

This is only the beginning. Just as the world of work has moved out of the cubicle, education is moving out of the classroom. Future teachers will place more of an emphasis on inspiring their students to learn rather than instructing them, and mobile technology will allow classes to take place remotely in areas that are geographically remote or poorly served by infrastructure.

Just as technology will allow increased access to education, it will also improve the quality of the education that students receive as well as the use of resources available. Artificial intelligence will soon supplement teaching through the use of chatbots and big data.

As we gather data we will begin to see which areas of the syllabus create bottlenecks for students. In the short term, AI will help with syllabus design, and as more data becomes available and the quality of algorithms improves we will start to determine the best way of teaching these concepts, adapted for different learning styles and cultures.

Greater use of artificial intelligence will also allow us to automate some of the simpler functions of teaching, freeing up the teachers’ time to concentrate on areas that require more empathy or a broader consideration for a child’s learning difficulties or family background.

Bots and smart algorithms can identify where a term or explanation is causing difficulty and draw on data analytics to present it differently, while teachers can concentrate on the human side of learning and deal with the minutiae of education.

Gojimo_iphone300One trend that is consistent is the importance of choice. Millennials prize individuality, and a one-size-fits all approach to education is redundant in the modern world. Technology can support learning choice by suggesting subjects and teaching styles that best suit each individual.

This can also help to keep those with learning disabilities in the education system for longer, and ultimately to enter the workforce. The United Nations estimates that 80% of those with autism do not work, so bringing even a fraction of this group through the education system and into the working world would have a dramatic effect on the global economy as well as the self-worth of millions of individuals.

We want to cater to the demands of students today and, through data-driven analysis, to pre-empt the behaviour of students tomorrow.

Technology is not a panacea, and you cannot simply put a tablet in a child’s hands and expect them to handle the rest. Teachers will always play a crucial role, but the use of technology can streamline their work and help them to apply their skills more effectively. At Gojimo, we’re excited to be part of one of the most important revolutions in education since the invention of the printing press.