There is no question about the importance of mobile. That said, there is a question about mobile within an education setting. For the great majority of schools and school districts, it is just not feasible to commission a mobile app. However, we just came across a company that dramatically reduces costs, and makes is possible for even the most cash-strapped schools to build their own apps. Crescerance does this in a couple of different ways. We had a chance to ask the team a few questions about their offerings:
What is Crescerance?
Crescerance is the education world’s window to the mobile world and offers 2 product lines:
1) MAD-learn is a program that brings Mobile Application Development into the classroom for students to learn programming at a very young age. MAD-learn is a rich, end-to-end program for teaching cross platform mobile application development. The program includes:
• An Online Graphical Mobile App Development Platform
• Live Educator Support
• A Full Programming Curriculum
2) Crescerance Communications Solution enables schools/districts/educational institutions to create/manage their own branded mobile ecosystem (native iOS, Android, Windows mobile and tablet apps) for communication, engagement and interactivity with their community (parents, students, staff, alumni, donors) under the umbrella of their “own” apps on the App Stores.
Who is Crescerance for? Teachers, administrators, students?
• For the Communications Solution:
o Communications Directors and Marketing departments at schools
o Parents, Staff, Students, Alumni and Prospective parents as end users of the apps.
• For MAD-learn:
o Students Grade 3 and up (to learn MAD and build MAD-scout apps)
o Teachers (to build MAD-teacher apps) and become catalysts of knowledge
o Heads of Curriculum and Technology Integration Specialists as decision makers
What makes Crescerance different than what is currently available?
– A centralized platform that provides a template-based WYSIWYG interface to create and “remotely manage” native mobile apps.
– Provides a low floor (the interface and UX is so simple that even a 3rd grader can create an app in a day) and a high ceiling (the app could have features like connecting to an external database to pull in data into all apps)
– While there are other “app dev platforms”, ours is the only one that creates truly native apps across iPhone, iPad, Windows8 and Android phone/tablet.
– Allows addition of new hardware easily (Google Glass, for ex).
– Other app dev platforms are focused on industry: ours is uniquely education focused, allowing the implementation of the “Constructionist Theory” of learning: learning and doing side by side.
– Integrates with several 3rd party tools used in schools making the School’s Mobile App Suite a central hub.
– Growing into an app-plugin based marketplace: students can create plugins for apps used by other students in their apps.
Why did you get involved in the Ed-Tech space?
I will respond to this question on behalf of our two founders:
• Alefiya Bhatia has an education and psychology undergrad and an education masters: she has worked in the education space all her life and is passionate about the impact that she can help make by working with schools on a “larger” scale (in the classroom and beyond) on the lives of students. She is particularly excited about the changing landscape of how students “assimilate” knowledge with the advent of technology and wants to be at the fore-front of this change and enable it through the appropriate focus on mobile technology at schools and school districts.
• Namit Bhatia has a business-technology background. Highly entrepreneurial in nature, and having been involved with the launch of multiple startups, he is passionate about bringing the ideas of technology entrepreneurship to young students. He is particularly excited about enabling kids to learn how to program and design products, and then to take those ideas and think about them from a “business” perspective.
• Together, Alefiya and Namit are excited about combining their skillsets and passion for education and technology to empower students and schools with the power of being able to create mobile technology to meet their needs.
Tell us about your team and their backgrounds
• Alefiya Bhatia, CEO and Founder: edupreneur or an “eternal educator” turn into entrepreneur.
• Namit Bhatia, Chairman and head of Strategy: proverbial entrepreneur and business strategist.
• Mike Carroll, Chief Technology Strategist: former CTO at a Yahoo! Company, architected web and mobile products yielding multiple 100’s of million $$ per year.
• Bruce Hird, Gregg Stone, Kris Milburn, Solution Advisors: current and former educators (teacher, and principal/head of school in public and private schools)
• Jamie Coones, Channel Manager, managing and supporting Crescereance re-sellers, former reseller
• Ashish Srivastava, Head of Technology: architect, developer, team manager managing product delivery
• Rashi Sood, Head of Customer Success, enabling our customers to succeed with our products.
• Several others on the technology side of our business…
What is the next step? What do your current goals look like?
– Org Goals:
o We have a full team on the “product” and “technology” side; it is now our goal to grow our Sales and Marketing Teams several-fold.
o Have already successfully proliferated the solution into several top independent schools in the country, and several small to mid-sized districts in the form of MAD-Camps and as part of the core curriculum
o Next step is to enable larger districts with 10’s of 1000’s of students (> 25,000 students) to bring MAD-learn in a bigger way into and as part of their core curriculum.
o Launch a differentiated curriculum across all age groups.
– Mobile Communications Solution:
o We are already into larger districts with this solution and we have recently launched new functionality to enable districts to have a strong, data-driven decision and communication strategy in inclement weather situations; our goal next is to connect with and enable several 100 mid to large size districts with our solution suite and give them the same communication power that our current customers have.
Where can people find out more
Some MAD-Learn Resources
1. The link to our MAD-Learn website – http://mad-learn.com/
2. An introductory video to MAD-Learn — https://www.youtube.com/watch?
3. Story from ISTE 2014 – http://linkis.com/www.
4. Student app with (now) 70k downloads – http://www.floridatoday.com/
5. eschoolnews piece on student app creation – http://www.eschoolnews.com/
6. Some videos that may be of interest – youtube.com/ripplesofgrowth
7. On your iPhone or Android phone – please search “Crescerance” and download Rainbow Loom, French Teacher, or Recommended for Readers to see a few MAD-scout created apps
8. Gallery of App Ideas – see this link for some student inspiration – https://www.dropbox.com/s/
9. A blog about MAD-Learn — http://crescerance.com/blog/
10. A Webinar hosted by a couple of our customers talking about the pedagogical relevance of MAD-Learn –https://www.youtube.com/
11. Interview about Coding and Mobile Technology – http://www.iamdrwill.com/2014/