A concept which won the £5,000 prize at Facebook’s prestigious ‘increasing the impact of technology in education’ hackathon is being developed at the Innovation Birmingham Campus and undergoing testing with local schools. The founders behind the competitive revision quiz game – called Zammer – are currently in talks with investors to fund further development and an international roll-out.
Zammer is a revision aid that is designed to be played with classmates and friends to leverage social connections and competition, in order to engage learners. It is being developed as cloud-based web application and smartphone app. The content is being created by teachers to be specific to a syllabus, exam or textbook. School platform licenses will allow learners to be grouped, classwork and homework to be set, and progress to be tracked.
Holyhead Business and Enterprise Academy in Handsworth Birmingham, King Edward VI Aston School, Stourport High School and Bewdley Primary School have been selected alongside Lydiate Park Academy in Swindon to be the five schools to participate in the first phase of testing and development, which will enable students and teachers to influence the development of Zammer. Predicted grades will be monitored and track throughout the trial to ascertain effectiveness.
Martin Saunders, CEO of Zammer Ltd said: “We took the concept to Facebook’s hackathon in London earlier this year and the response was so overwhelming, we parked existing projects and set about developing Zammer full time. It’s early days and the first testing phase in schools is just commencing, but we believe we’ve hit on a product that could disrupt the market and take advantage of the explosive growth in mobile ed-tech.
“We have plans to develop Zammer revision modules for pre-school children, through to Key Stage 12 and Further Education courses, but even with the core target market of GCSE students, the potential market is vast. The average secondary school spends £200,000 on curriculum and exams per year. And, of the schools we have spoken to, all pay for around two to three learning-tech products. At the point of public launch next spring we hope to run as a free product for schools, with a minimal cost per Zammer module for individuals. It will be pitched as an affordable revision tool that could make all the difference to student grades.”
GCSE Maths, English and Computer Science are the first subjects that will be tested by the four secondary schools that are partaking in the current trial. In November 2014 – to coincide with the production of the smartphone app – the second test phase will commence, which will extend to 30 schools across the country.
Zammer Ltd is based at Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) business incubation centre. The centre provides bespoke mentoring and business planning to achieve investor readiness, as well as free telephone usage, 2Gbit/s broadband and office space for six months; a package which has a monetary value of £10,000. Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, e4f is unique to Birmingham and is specifically designed to harness and support the city’s burgeoning tech community.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “The team behind Zammer has really done their homework and fully understands the competitive market they are operating in. Securing the commitment of five schools to play an integral part of the product development is an indication of the support and enthusiasm for this highly innovative revision tool.”