The adoption of digital products is increasing in primary schools. However, hardly any digital learning materials are focussed on pupil engagement. “Most digital learning materials are based on the principle of a teacher guiding a classroom of pupils through the compulsory curriculum”, says Serge Bueters, CEO of Squla, an out-of-school online learning platform.
“Children are curious by nature and by offering an engaging product, they will enjoy learning. We make a product that is engaging as well as instructive, by combining curriculum-based materials with gamification techniques and an attractive user experience design.”
For the Entertainment & Media Outlook for the Netherlands 2018-2022 Serge Bueters discusses the ins and outs of Squla’s digital platform, as well as the internal and external factors affecting Squla’s business. In 2009, the year Squla was founded, primary schools hardly made use of available technology. Laptops were widely used in Dutch households but not yet in Dutch schools. Because of this, educational publishers had little incentive to invest in the development of digital content. Squla identified and acted upon this market opportunity and has built a successful and growing online learning platform.
Today, more than 130,000 Dutch children practice with Squla content at home and more than 605,000 children play and learn with Squla at school, either individually or on a classroom digiboard. The learning platform facilitates children’s educational development through quizzes, games and videos that cover the whole school curriculum and more. Squla is available via desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone, and is updated on a daily basis.
“About four to five years ago, we saw a change towards digitisation in schools setting in”, says Bueters. “Device penetration in schools was on the rise and schoolchildren started to bring their own tablets and smartphones to school. Although there is room for improvement with regard to hardware and connectivity, partly caused by lack of funding, most teachers approach digitalization in their classroom in a constructive way. Today, unlike primary schools in most European countries, the vast majority of Dutch primary schools are online. Adoption of digital products by teachers has started to increase, supported by the widespread adoption of digital blackboards.”
“In the Netherlands, less than a handful of publishers operate in the market of educational publishing materials. To enter this market you need to build a strong salesforce and you will have to enter a very long sales cycle to be able to sell your products to schools. However, the pull for the adoption of digital educational tools came more from parents than from teachers and schools. This is why our initial business model focuses on a direct link with parents by offering a subscription model, which provides access to the supplemental learning platform for one or more children.”
“Digital solutions should always be faster and easier than the traditional way of working with pen and paper, otherwise the adoption of a product will be low. Squla does not just innovate for the sake of innovating, the children and teachers need to benefit from the company’s solutions. Access should also be fast and easy. Think of a class full of children who have to log into the same system to get started. Children can easily access Squla and find their way intuitively through its content.”
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