Which science field has the most promising future?

Computer science
Nanotechnology
Biotechnology
Aerospace engineering
Ecology, resource saving
Cleantech
Other

What is the mankind's most dangerous invention?

Atomic bomb
Drugs
Automobile
Money
Television
Fast food
Internet

New app to make kids love math

The mobile app “Uchilka”—an affectionate Russian colloquial term for a female schoolteacher — has been voted the Chain Reaction competition’s best educational startup project of 2013, for its role in helping children learn the multiplication table.

The project has no peers in Russia or abroad. Its developers, project manager Vladislav Gusev and NextStep Entertainment’s CEO Alexander Leonov, took a creative approach to the project.

The app offers 10 lessons taught by a virtual teacher named Agnessa Ivanovna. She is an embodiment of the stereotypical Russian schoolteacher: A stern yet kind, bespectacled woman over 45, with a tall hairdo. She is capable of all manner of threats that she never really intends to carry out.

“We had the idea after attending Digital October’s Startup Weekend. We reviewed 125 projects over a single day, acting as experts. After the Startup Weekend was over, I was perplexed and slightly shocked, because I hadn’t seen anything of interest to me — just clones of Western and existing Russian services,” Gusev told RBTH.

Third-grade students at a Moscow school were asked to decide what the teacher would look like. They had to choose between a space alien, a robot, an owl and other extraordinary characters, but most kids voted for a regular teacher they know and love.

Agnessa Ivanovna was voiced over by Irina Grishina — an actress every Russian knows as the voice behind Electronic, a kid robot from a famous, Soviet sci-fi movie.

How to create your own personal database, learn languages with detailed dictionaries, and not forget about the one you love in the middle of all this studying.

The app works as a dialog — a function made possible by an improved voice-recognition system. The e-teacher is thus capable of not only calling her students by name, but also of keeping up a meaningful conversation.

Completing one lesson takes approximately an hour and a half, and, after the course is finished, the student’s parents will receive a diploma and a congratulatory video by email. All parents have to do is test the result.

“We have implemented several innovations. It’s an animated app where the kid interacts with a cartoon character without feeling self-conscious. Children tend to feel psychological discomfort in class, whereas, here, they can try their answers more than once — up to three times,” Leonov said.

NextStep Entertainment was founded in 2011. Development of Uchilka took a year and a half (with no outside investors), and the project was launched in late March of 2013. The app is now available for smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android; it can be downloaded from AppStore or Google Play. Agnessa Ivanovna charges $3 for her entire course of study.

“We are more than happy with Agnessa Ivanovna’s performance. We knew there wouldn’t be a quick payoff. There will be money eventually, but it will take time,” the app’s developers said.

The Uchilka project will be expanding to incorporate new teachers and more subjects, including history, physics, geography, reading and foreign languages. In addition, lessons will be translated into other languages.

“After that, we’ll implement augmented reality — something that’s talked about a lot, but few people know what it actually is,” Leonov said. “For instance, if ‘2+2’is written on the blackboard, you can see a solution to this problem via your smartphone. Or, suppose you have approached a building and don’t know where to go from there. It would be enough to have some kind of mark on that building to be able to check your smartphone and get all the information.”

During its two years in business, NextStep Entertainment has launched another successful project — the LastPost “end of the world” app for Apple devices. The company’s plans include a global service for pet owners, a healthcare service, and an entertainment project whose details are kept tightly under wraps but is scheduled to hit the market one month from now. 

2013-09-09, Russia Beyond The Headlines, Maria Salhani.


Keywords: mobile, startups, education, apps

09.09.2013
1776 Announces Inaugural Members of Global Startup Federation
09.09.2013
New app to make kids love math
09.09.2013
Stanford University Is Going To Invest In Student Startups Like A VC Firm
09.09.2013
Russia’s Mail.ru Group makes gambling available for the whole world
09.09.2013
Russian universities seek closer ties with global academia
09.09.2013
Last-Minute Booking App HotelTonight Raises $45M With An Eye On Continued Global Expansion
06.09.2013
Why PaaS isn’t just for startups
04.09.2013
Three myths about Russia’s startup market
04.09.2013
Russia’s Life.SREDA invests in US startup to build “world’s first cardless bank”
04.09.2013
Altair Capital invested in the project of mobile commerce Goodwin
03.09.2013
Russia’s Zuckerberg launches new instant messaging service Telegram
03.09.2013
Skoltech Launches Classes in Russia
03.09.2013
Yandex can support three Startups-finalists of the Tolstoy Summer Camp
30.08.2013
Private Capital angels launch mobile customer loyalty management tool
30.08.2013
The Fund AVentures Capital invested $400K in the Ukrainian Startup Coppertino

Leave your comment
Sign up
Enter verification codeEnter verification code

Second Moscow International Foreign Investment Forum
Most popular news
Annual Investment Meeting 2013

Welcome to Investment. Innovation. Business Web Portal – a community-driven platform for all the participants of the investment process both in Russia and abroad!

We work to provide online information exchange between Russian and global investors and innovators, business owners and developers.