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Edtech disruption a lesson in upskilling

sandhya@khaleejtimes.com Filed on March 11, 2020

Teacherly's platform enables teachers to assign lessons to students for independent learning, allowing students and teachers to grow in their respective journeys.

Atif Mahmood, Founder and CEO, Teacherly. Supplied photo

Teacherly is an online platform that is dedicated to teachers and provides them with an opportunity to work collaboratively.

The outbreak of coronavirus has not only disrupted the education sector, making children learn online, but has also compelled teachers to upskill as most of the workload has moved online. While this may seem to be a blessing to the teaching fraternity it will also now allow teachers to deploy much of their time wisely.

Online teaching platform Teacherly, which has a presence in Europe and the Middle East, is busy dealing with queries from schools to tackle the situation. Founder and CEO Atif Mahmood said: "Amidst the current precautionary circumstances occurring in the UAE and across the globe as a result of coronavirus, it is important for not only students, but also teachers to continuously grow and learn."

Teacherly is an online platform that is dedicated to teachers and provides them with an opportunity to work collaboratively, fostering a community of peer-to-peer coaching. "Our platform caters to new and upcoming needs of distance learning for schools and educators," he added.

The platform enables teachers to assign lessons to students for independent learning, allowing students and teachers to grow in their respective journeys.

The startup - based in the UK with offices in Finland - partnered with Taaleem to ease teacher workload through digital lesson planning. Teacherly secured $1.5 million seed funding from Shorooq Partners to continue its expansion plans in the Mena region and is planning to raise $10 million in a Series A round in 2020. The startup supports over 80 schools across Europe and the Middle East, around 6,000 teachers and 20,000 students.

Teacherly partnered with Global Village VC from the US as part of the round who will help them gain a foothold into the US market, and make introductions to potential investors for Series A where the startup aims to raise $10 million by end of 2020.

"Although edtech - educational technology - is seeing rising adoption around the globe, a large majority of the solutions in this space focus on the in-class or online experience between students and teachers. There has been little innovation for optimising the 'behind-the-scenes' preparation done for hours and hours by our amazing teachers before they even enter the classroom," he added.

"By offering a platform for seamless digital collaboration between teachers, Teacherly tackles this unique, underserved pain point that few businesses have identified, let alone solved effectively. The engagement levels speak for themselves: On average, teachers spend more time on Teacherly than an average individual does on Facebook and Whatsapp combined," said Himag Vaidya, an investment professional at Shorooq Partners.

Teacherly provides several features to enhance and personalise your lesson. One of the unique features includes embedding voice notes and video messages into your lessons. This is useful for teachers who would like to further explain concepts, tasks, ideas or simply maintain a face-to-face connection with students.

Tools to help with assessment
Another key feature hosted on the platform is the ability to embed quizzes within a lesson, this will provide teachers with the opportunity to engage with students knowledge development and understanding from a distance.

Capability of sharing lessons
Through Teacherly, you can not only share your lessons with your team, but also collaborate with your team members by working in real time, across distance on lessons.
"Other ways we are ensuring teaching and learning is not affected across all subjects and year groups is by bringing science experiments and lab work to life, this has become easier today than it would have been a few years ago. Integrating with smart science, bringing virtual science labs for the classroom, integrating with PE Geek for PE lessons and these are just two examples. Encouraging explorative learning, independent learning and developing skills that compliment subjects like PE, Art, Drama, Science where there is kinaesthetic learning, learning by doing," added Mahmood.

And what role will Teacherly play in this transition phase of sector moving completely online? "We understand the urgent need to create lessons and have them ready for students beforehand, our platform was created with the intention of helping teachers across the globe to reduce time and stress for teachers based on lesson planning. By accessing our pre-created templates, teachers will be able to create lessons in a much more efficient manner, with all the resources and tools already embedded into the platform," said Mahmood.

Main subjects literacy, numeracy at primary are the most important to cover and at secondary the core subjects that students are learning will be covered, especially students who are in their last year of studies and getting close to exams in the summer will need to cover all of their subjects. Different schools will do this differently but most schools will try and stick to the normal school timetable, so the students feel it is a school day and bring the feeling of normality and support to the students.

If schools have done their preparation in advance on the platform then the students will go away with extended learning projects that cover the normal school daily hours and cover not just the subject content but also the skills that are just as important to keep developing.

Future school
Regardless of this exceptional situation we find ourselves in, if you look at the current education landscape there are a plethora of different educational models being adopted and blended learning has been around for years, almost a decade. If you think about urbanisation and 70 per cent of the population will be urbanised by 2040, children will most likely in the future not be in one physical building and space learning, teachers won't be teaching in this way either.
"So at Teacherly we have always been at the forefront of enabling flexible teaching, it's not a case of us benefiting but allowing the teaching community to benefit from our focus on them. The only way to embrace this change is to value our teachers, ensuring they also get the training and time to develop their confidence and skills to deliver remote lessons or face-to-face learning but not from schools but co working spaces for example," Mahmood said.- sandhya@khaleejtimes.com


Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.

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