Mobile application for self-learning
EdPlus is one of Onix’ many experiences in educational technology (EdTech) software development.
Modern electronic devices, software, and media play an increasingly important role in the communication of knowledge and learning. Educational technology (ed tech or EdTech) encompasses several domains, including online learning, mobile learning (m-learning), and other forms of distance education, as well as the development of relevant hardware, software, and applications.
M-learning is especially convenient and cost-effective because it replaces books, notes, and PCs with lightweight devices and is accessible from virtually anywhere. The use of ed tech apps also has a positive effect on learning for all age groups. Even kindergarten kids that use iPads show higher rates of literacy than non-users. In schooling, the benefits include the following:
Students can access readily available learning experiences and personalized educational content even at home and if needed, spend more time on specific aspects of what they are learning.
Mobile apps can deliver multimedia content, as well as offer content creation opportunities.
M-learning can combine decision making in complex learning scenarios with formative scoring and computer-aided assessment.
It brings new technology into the classroom and diversifies the learning activities for students.
Fresh EdTech ideas can entice and re-engage disaffected students.
The use of mobile educational apps reduces the achievement gap between struggling and average students.
Although some benefits of a classroom setting are missed, EdTech tools used elsewhere still support the educational system. The parents, students, and teachers’ regard for mobile technology as a learning tool is growing. In the light of the global quarantine measures and other challenges that the modern world may present, distance learning app development is more relevant than ever before.
This innovation in education technology is rapidly developing in higher learning too. For example, in the education of healthcare professionals, M-learning can be improving their knowledge and skills as effectively as traditional learning. Mobile-assisted long distance learning makes full-degree programs more accessible and facilitates the integration of non-full-time students, particularly in continuing education.
Finally, EdTech tools that focus on the mobility of the learner are becoming integral to informal learning. For example, mobile apps like Duolingo assist in language learning, helping people acquire and develop language skills at their convenient time, often in fun gamified ways. Effective mobile technology combines adaptive content, frequent testing, and immediate feedback, as if with real teachers. The apps promote individualized education and allow students to work for mastery at their own pace.
EdPlus is an Oxford University spinout company founded in 2018. Toby Staveley, an entrepreneur interested in social problems, and Professor Francis Brown, a world-renowned mathematician and Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, are the co-founders.
As fathers to young children, the co-founders wished to help school-aged kids with learning outside of school. Initially, the application was designed for children aged 3 to 12 years and included parental control. However, the creators soon realized that many of children’s learning issues apply to learners of all ages. The app’s target audience was expanded, and now EdPlus can serve virtually everyone.
The application’s motto is ‘Study smarter. Not harder.’ Small and frequent sessions are the best way to learn. EdPlus strives to make learning a habit by attaching what users need to learn to what they want to do.
EdPlus offers 150+ topics to learn, 5,000+ videos to watch, and new content is being added daily. For example:
Expansive English instructional topic will help children aged 9+ build a rich English vocabulary that bolsters the ability to grasp ideas and think more logically, boosts the power of persuasion, and makes a good impression on others.
Foreign Language topics currently help users learn French, Spanish, Italian, and German. The topics for children harness their natural potential to learn new words. Each topic offers 1,000 words and phrases and testing in both foreign to English and English to foreign. Once this considerable vocabulary has been secured in the learner’s mind, they will be able to better focus on grammar, for example, at school.
K12 Math topics cover angles, measurements, averages, BIDMAS, factors, prime numbers, and decimals.
The natural world topics cover African animals, European birds, Endangered species, Dinosaurs, and Space.
Verbal reasoning, which is not taught as a subject in school, is key to understanding other knowledge-based subjects and a prerequisite for passing SATs, selective school entrance exams, intelligence tests, and aptitude tests from the age of 7 through to adulthood. With over 250 questions, this topic challenges the child and develops their critical thinking, conceptual understanding, and problem-solving with words and language.
K12 early Math topics hone the kids’ essential skills of addition, subtraction, times tables, multiplication, division, doubling and halving, square roots, comparisons, counting, number bonds, odds and evens, and telling the time. EdPlus’ unique algorithm helps to master multiplication particularly quickly and efficiently.
Science curriculum-linked topic explores 250+ fascinating facts about the universe, builds the knowledge of basic physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and zoology, and tests their understanding. This topic will not only help schoolchildren to pass their science assessments, but also develop their understanding of scientific methods and processes, teach them to think scientifically, and inspire them to explore the world.
Geography topics will broaden the user’s knowledge of capital cities and the Earth’s features at different scales and help kids pass their school geography assessments. EdPlus will teach them to think abstractly about the spatial arrangement of the Earth, explain the processes which shape our ever-changing world, and develop contextual knowledge of globally significant places. Exciting facts about different countries and wonders of the world will inspire them to travel and explore other cultures.
There are topics educating users on Christianity or Hinduism, familiarizing them with US Presidents, or preparing users to the UK driving theory test or the citizenship exam, as well as fun materials and tests on the knowledge of Marvel Heroes, Harry Potter, or Oxford University.
Video questions that were recorded by personalities ranging from Olympic Gold winner Rebecca Adlington to Tik Toker Tyler Brash make learning even more exciting.
The algorithms of EdPlus build on the strengths of each learner. Artificial Intelligence creates a learning path for each learner. The concept of the topology of knowledge enables the app to choose questions in a way most relevant to each learner, based on what that they already know. The questions automatically adapt to be at an appropriate level of difficulty. EdPlus records how each user has answered every previous question and uses this data to optimize its teaching strategy. The app also uses the science of memory retention to help the learner memorize answers and attain mastery as efficiently as possible. New concepts are introduced once mastery is achieved. The system accumulates data on each learner mastering topics and creates 3D learning maps showing each learner’s progress.
The ‘Connect’ feature makes learning a habit by attaching education to the user’s existing digital habits. Since users can monitor what they have learned and earn badges, the learning process becomes a fun game.
The application promotes the users’ self-development in three ways:
The ability to lock third-party applications is the killer feature of EdPlus. In the application settings, users can select from the list the applications they want to block: YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. Every time they try to open one of these, EdPlus will display educational content instead.
EdPlus approached Onix with two applications that they wanted to merge. The first, their own educational application, was written in React Native. The second, an app locker, was acquired from a third party. The idea was to merge the two applications so that the resulting product can support the Android platform (written in Java) but still leverage the React Native application using bridges.
A module was realized as a bridge between two programming languages to enable interaction between the React Native and Java components. Then, the project was expanded to native development. The application for Android was written in Kotlin using Android SDK, Android Architecture Components, and third-party libraries.
The application’s ability to block third-party applications was developed by obtaining Android system services that allow accessing statistics on all started processes. That enabled our service, by deducting statistics, to determine which process is running, as well as its classification in the Android environment: service, foreground or background application, and so on. Based on this info, the application can detect the current state of the system and react by displaying itself instead of another application.
Unfortunately, Apple’s policy prohibits such technical solutions on iOS applications. The third-party apps locker is not available on the application that was developed for Apple’s App Store. It was written in Swift. The developers were using Alamofire, Firebase, Fabric, and Crashlytics.
Both applications are available on the app stores and enjoy great reviews. EdPlus Kids was even featured in the top-10 best educational apps for children.
EdPlus for Android is compatible with Android versions starting with API level 21 (Lollipop).
EdPlus iOS application is compatible with iOS 12 and later.
Currently, Onix is working on improving the apps and adding new topics content.