14th November, 2016

How can Technology Improve Learning?

By Giorgio C

At Tutora, we passionately believe that technology can lead to great advances in the quality of education provision. We spoke to Atif Mahmood, Founder of Lumici Slate, who gave us his take on how schools can improve learning by harnessing new technologies.

Morning Atif, great to speak to you today. Firstly, can you tell us a little about Lumici Slate, the project you're working on currently?

Lumici Slate is an online educational platform that enables teachers to collaboratively plan lessons online with other teachers, saving teachers up to 20 hours a week on planning. My aim was simple to increase student engagement and to save teachers hours off planning and preparation. The reason why schools are using Lumici Slate; we make it easy for teachers to create interactive and engaging lessons with learning goals attached. They can be easily shared amongst teachers in your school and edited to fit each class. With its simple and instinctive interface no training is needed and teachers can build their lesson libraries straight away. Students can take control of their learning with teachers helping to structure their learning environment. Analytics allow teachers to see the progress each student is making.

With its simple and instinctive interface no training is needed and teachers can build their lesson libraries straight away. Students can take control of their learning with teachers helping to structure their learning environment. Analytics allow teachers to see the progress each student is making.

Where did the idea come from? I take it that you were a teacher yourself?

As a former teacher and head of department, I know workload and planning in particular is a huge issue and I want to help reduce workload. The resources market places, VLE's and Learning Platforms have just not worked and many schools and colleges are looking for a much simpler solution. The more teacher and head teachers I spoke to the more positive feedback I got about Lumici Slate and its value proposition.

We saw you pitch at the recent Northern Stars event, where the audience voted for you guys as their favourite company. Why do you think people seem to take to the product?

People can relate to a teacher either through a sibling, partner, parent or as a school governor. Teacher's are one of the most valuable assets we have in this country and we should understand they spend many hours extra ontop of their normal working hours to provide the best educational experience for our children. My daughter is 4 and started school very recently and I hope one day she will use Lumici Slate in her school. Aesthetically Lumici Slate looks and feels extraordinary, we have spent a lot of time and effort on the user experience and user interface design.

So, is this where you see education moving to... a more technology enhanced era?

Absolutely, the right technology that can become a cornerstone of any classroom instead of a barrier. Traditionally VLE's and Learning Platforms are expensive, only a small percentage of teachers are technical enough to use it and a huge barrier to adoption is the amount of training required. More teachers like your self and me understand the pain points of teachers, parents and students and we are starting to see web and mobile applications that are starting to have a real impact in and out the classroom. Schools and colleges are adopting and using tablet devices and Lumici Slate along with other apps provide an affective workflow solution.

Following on from that, I suppose the next question is... do you think that children will continue to learn in classrooms in the future or are we moving away form that, more traditional, approach?

Teachers will always be part of any educational system in any part of the world, I have no doubt. Children will still attend school but will have better technology to assist both teachers and students. Take for example ALT school in the USA, teachers are still part of the ecosystem, the only difference is technology is a core part of the way teachers teach and students learn, that interaction between a teacher and student is so important.

Are there any other companies out there (apart from us!) who you feel are pushing the envelope in how they're using tech?

I really like SAM labs, I think they are innovative and their products to help younger children learn programming are awesome.

Finally, do you have any words of advice for other teachers or educators who are contemplating starting their own EdTech company?

Think long term and not short term. Be prepared to nurture your customers and go the extra mile to get them onboard your journey. Sometimes you will wake up in the morning and feel you can't see the progress but you have put so much effort in, it's ok to feel like that, don't give up and keep at it. Make sure you understand the value proposition and clearly convey that to your customers.

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