Imagine having your homework queries resolved at the press of a button. Every school students’ ultimate digital fantasy just came true with Scholr, a personalised online education service.
All they need to do is take a snapshot of the Maths or Science problem they’re struggling with, and they’ll be sent step-by-step guidance to solve it within seconds. For some queries that are not solved through the app’s technology, Scholr experts ensure that students receive the appropriate guidance within a short span of time.
The personalised virtual educational assistant provides on-demand learning assistance to school students through its pool of teachers, deep research and innovative tools.
It’s currently being used by 2,000+ students and has received pretty encouraging response in the beta phase itself. Scholr is available on play store and can be downloaded here.
Scholar is part of the AVISHKAR deep tech accelerator programme of IIIT-H Foundation that supports start-ups working on deep learning technologies and machine intelligence, with future expansion plans into. Till date IIITH-Foundation has supported 104 start-ups and made seed investment in 15 start-ups. From being a sector agnostic ICT incubator, the foundation has changed its focus onto start-ups working on deep learning technologies and machine intelligence, and plans on expanding into the AR/VR and gaming domain as well.
Himanshu Nimje and Manil Gupta, creators of Scholr share more details about their app:
How did the idea of this app come about?
During our school days, we found it extremely frustrating to be stuck at a problem and unable to find a solution. For a student, getting help at that very moment is crucial to build a complete understanding of a topic. Thus, Scholr started with an idea of providing relevant instant help to all school students, which enables students to get assistance and solve any challenging problem using a convenient medium of smartphones.
Interestingly, about 87 per cent of primary school children and up to 95 per cent of high school students take private tuitions in metro cities. That’s approximately more than 6 crore school students, which clearly shows there’s a need to address the situation.
But shouldn’t schools and teachers be helping clear students doubts on a subject instead of an app?
Students studying at home wait till the next day or next class to get their doubts clarified either by their school or tuition teacher. Even parents are unable to address this issue, since about 85% of working parents said they found it difficult to pay attention to their children’s academic needs. Scholr precisely addresses this issue – it helps parents and students clarify their doubts instantly rather than waiting till they meet their teacher.
How is Scholr different from other educational apps available in the market?
While most apps provide the same prepared content of videos and questions to all students, Scholr focuses on providing on-demand instant assistance for queries specific to students. Students from Grade 1 – 12, whether from CBSE, ICSE and state boards can receive step-by-step solutions in Maths and Science just by taking a snapshot of their problem.
What was the kind of investments that went into developing the app and how were they funded?
We have used our savings of around Rs. 10 lakhs for the research & product development of the app. Most of the investment has been used to create the proprietary algorithms to provide instant solutions to snapshots of academic questions. Recently, we have received a pre-seed funding of Rs. 10 lakhs from IIIT Hyderabad and 50K ventures, which we are using to acquire initial customers and improve Scholr’s solution accuracy.
Why did you partner with IIIT Hyderabad and how has it helped?
The core technology behind Scholr is based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. As Scholr looks to constantly improve the technology to provide more accurate and relevant guidance to student problems, IIIT Hyderabad’s extensive research in these technologies would enable us to improve our accuracy multifold moving forward. Scholr has already identified the different research topics, being undertaken currently at IIIT Hyderabad, and will be working actively towards using that research in a real business environment.
How exactly those AI technology and machine learning work for this? Can you explain with an example?
As mentioned, the core technology is based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. To provide relevant learning assistance, various algorithms are developed for different purposes. One of those algorithms is mathematical optical character recognition, which has been developed to decipher the maths symbols in a snapshot. Such algorithms help us understand the exact question asked by the student and subsequently allows us to provide relevant learning resources.
Currently how many users do you have and how many queries do you receive on a daily basis?
Scholr app is currently used by more than 3000 students and we haven’t even started publicising the android app. On an average, we are receiving more than 1200 queries per day from students and the number of queries are increasing rapidly on a weekly basis. Moreover, experts at Scholr make sure that assistance is provided within an hour in the case that technology is unable to provide assistance.