Digital footprint and reputation are part of digital citizenship which is agreed by educational leaders to be a continuous thing happening in schools involving various community members including students, teachers, leaders, parents.
To know more how edtech startups are solving this critical issue, we reached out to Ms. Anuja Lath who is the Founder and CEO at OnPowerWeb. Check out how she is contributing to the community with her efforts.
What would be an elevator pitch for OnPowerWeb?
OnPowerWeb empowers students to digitally document their achievements and milestones to build and sustain a positive digital footprint through a personal portfolio website.
What is the core value proposition? What problem are you solving and for whom?
The core value proposition is to create a level playing field for students who want to create a positive digital online presence. OnPowerWeb is enabling a positive perception of an individual/student, and countering the irrelevant/sometimes negative footprint generated by social media presence alone.
OnPowerWeb solves the problem that “The student has nothing online to show for all his achievements and milestones through his school years”.
The problem is being solved for the student, who is constantly generating casual content on the Internet via social media activity, but does not have a serious portfolio to showcase for himself.
Why should schools teach about digital portfolio and reputation?
Schools should not just tell students what not to do online, but also how to positively channelize their digital energy. It is an educator’s responsibility to not just shape students’ physical & academic personality but to also help shape their digital one. There is a huge difference today between a student’s flesh and blood personality and his digital personality, and the gap is widening as we speak. In my view it is the educator’s responsibility also to help shape their students online presence and educate them about the negatives and positives of online activity, as well as how to counter a negative footprint.
What is the stage of the product? Where do you see your company in 12 or 18 months from now?
OnPowerWeb is at a very user friendly stage currently; over the last 12 months the product features have been enhanced hugely, and it has turned into a very powerful application for students. Over the next 12-18 months, we see the application implemented across at least a dozen schools globally, with over 2000 students using it actively. We see our team size grow by 15 to 20 percent.
What is the biggest need for your startup?
Market access is desirable at this point, since we have witnessed that the application is received very well when presented face to face. The challenge is to be able to setup the presentation with schools that have the readiness level to adopt this technology. Market Access, channels and publicity are all current needs, but we also see these opening up steadily for us.
What are your views about the growth of Education Technology industry in India?
It seems to be growing at a pace faster that it can be consumed. Also, there is a divide between comprehension levels of innovators and consumers of technology, wherein the educational institution may adopt the technology for whatever reason, but may not put it to use in the spirit that it was conceived to be used, thereby projecting growth, but not always achieving it.
Tell us about your team, who do you have supporting you? How did this start?
Our parent company, RedAlkemi was incorporated in 1996, so we’ve been in the IT business for over 20 years. OnPowerWeb is a product developed and supported by our long standing team and has been self-financed so far. The product was conceived and developed on the premise that there is a growing need for structured student online activity through portfolio websites and this was created as a product for this niche student market.
What/Who motivates you? Any thought leader or companies with innovation which you follow for success? Whether in the EdTech space or in general?
Motivation comes from a variety of channels and people, so it’s tough to put a finger on a specific entity. I am personally very inspired by Jason Fried, who is the founder of 37 Signals and wrote a lot of sense in his book called Rework. I have worked along those lines over the span of my 30 year career and am very pleased to find an industry leader whose writings reinforce my own thoughts and work methodology.
Who would you call your competitors? And how are you different?
I am not sure if we can call Wordpress, Wix or Weebly type of platforms our competitors, since what OnPowerWeb does is strictly structured to a student’s needs. Our main differentiator is that we provide all students a level playing field to express themselves; using OnPowerWeb they will all have the same power and tools, however their differentiator will be in the quality of content that they create for themselves. OnPowerWeb has modules created specifically for students to be able to effectively document their school activities, projects, sports, debates, events, awards etc. and serves as a fantastic chronology of their achievements and milestones.
What are the biggest challenges of your edtech startup?
The biggest challenge is getting educators to realize the need for personal portfolio sites for their students. They are concerned that this is in the public domain, not realising that their students social media pages are public too, and OnPowerWeb is there to tip the balance positively if need be, and the need is definitely there.
Another challenge is to have educators realize that it is their responsibility as well to help shape their students digital presence. They can’t avoid the subject simply by disallowing access to Internet in schools hours, and not be concerned with their students online activity post school hours.
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