In a country as large and diverse as ours, the only way to ensure uniform access to best-in-class education for everyone is by building centralized quality content, storage in the cloud, and delivery through handheld devices that are connected to the internet and have a screen. Thus, online education is not an option, it is the only solution that can ensure equal opportunity and 24/7 unhindered, anywhere, anytime access. “I always looked at education as a single solution to all socio-economic issues around us. Any change for betterment that we seek will be successful and perpetual only if it comes from within a person, as the impact of any external and forced change is bound to be momentary”, opines Achin Bhattacharyya, CEO, and Founder, Notebook.
Started in 2018, Notebook has rapidly emerged as India’s fastest growing after-school learning app. Engaging audio-visual content is used to deliver lessons tailored to the school curriculum. Teachers have access to these videos in the classroom; using the content to introduce topics, build interest, and help students to better visualize concepts. At home, students access the same videos from their connected devices—smartphones, laptops, desktops, and internet-enabled televisions—to revise topics, prepare for examinations and benefit from the freedom that on-demand lessons afford them.
Since its inception, Notebook has catered to over 1.7 million students across India and abroad. Thousands of class-curated videos cover topics from classes I to XII of the CBSE board, alongside vernacular-aided lessons for U.P. Board and W.B. Board. Over 250 professionals, experienced educators, and creative artists work round the clock to ensure the that curricular content is delivered to the students in the most engaging way possible.
The power of digital education must be unleashed and used proactively to ensure that every student gets equal opportunity to utilize their time optimally and embark on a journey of self-learning and empowerment. During the school lockdown enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Notebook has gone above and beyond mere dissemination of educational content to ensure meaningful engagement of teachers and students by giving universal free access, starting a webinar series—Together for Education, and engaging students through their ‘Zero Hour International Inter-School Debate’.
The events have received an enthusiastic response and participation from senior bureaucrats, retired senior officers from the Armed Forces, spiritual leaders, counselors, and personalities from the world of sports and entertainment. With the vision of furthering the cause of holistic development and driving meaningful engagement, Notebook will be hosting various such events in the future as well.
Gaining Recognition at a Large Scale
Receiving a letter of appreciation from the Government of Nepal, Notebook is one of the fastest edtech brands to cross one million users with minimal marketing spends or celebrity endorsement. Chosen as the Best App for Education and Best Website for Education at the ET-Now Global Digital Marketing Conclave, Notebook has helped the Ramakrishna Mission CBSE School, Gwalior, to become India’s first school to go completely digital for the current academic session.
Social media has played a key role in the growth story of Notebook. Right from inception, Achin has believed in meaningful engagement rather than a huge marketing splurge. He always wanted their work to do the talking, while they put their head down and invest in the core intrinsic facets of the brand. Social media has helped Notebook reach out to educators and achievers across the globe, who have been kind enough to come into their bi-weekly webinars as speakers and delegates to encourage the children. He points out, “This focussed approach has indeed given results, as today we have more than 1.7 million active users on our platform, entirely out of the word of mouth publicity by our users. Today there is an entire community on LinkedIn that lauds our effort and follows us without any vested interest”.
Edtech is not new in India. For over a decade, online learning solutions have been offered to students. However, in this decade, more than 98.5% of India’s 280 million students remain to be served. Notebook was born out of this need–gap, where digital enablement of education had to be reimagined. Working with focus groups of students, particularly outside the metropolitan cities, and experienced teachers with a collective experience of over 300 years, Notebook created a pedagogy that is mapped to syllabus, has augmented storytelling methodology, limited video duration, and equal focus across subjects.
An ideal mix of physical schooling and online education is the way forward in the future, this gradual change was anyways happening, the current pandemic has only acted as a catalyst and expedited the process. Looking forward to building an interactive AI-enabled assessment platform that will ensure real-time response and also suggest a customized curated learning path for students, Achin concludes, “We also aspire to work more towards developing engaging best-in-class bilingual content so that we are accessible and useful to those students who lack conventional brick and mortar academic resources to come up in life. We dream of a world with equal educational opportunities for our children”.