Who are you?
Emma Rogers, CEO of Little Bridge.
What do you do?
Little Bridge is an on-line learning platform where children from all over the world can meet and chat to each other and, at the same time, learn English. We are used mainly by schools but also increasingly by individual families. Our platform is mainly used in countries where English is not the first language, but where people are motivated to learn. We have also attracted interest from English-speaking countries such as the United States and Australia, from where children sign up mainly to chat and make friends with others from around the world.
Little Bridge was in cohort 3 of the EDUCATE programme and was one of the first recipients of an Evidence-Applied ‘EdWard’ in 2018.
What educational challenge are you trying to address?
There are really three challenges. Firstly, we wanted to make the learning of English more purposeful, because there remains strong evidence that children can learn a language for many years yet not achieve any proficiency. We want children to feel it is useful beyond their teachers and parents telling them. Secondly, we wanted to build a social media community for children that was safe. Social media is here to stay, but young people need to understand how to use it. And finally, we wanted to develop high quality EdTech that was accessible and affordable to everyone.
What impact did the EDUCATE programme have on your product and company?
When we began developing Little Bridge, we were aware of the connection between learning, social media, and accessibility and affordability aspects of the product. We thought, for example, that the social aspect of Little Bridge would have a positive impact on children’s learning outcomes. EDUCATE gave us a framework to validate those hunches and to set up the right processes to develop new features based on solid research. We now feel clearer about what we are trying to do and how to evaluate learning. Getting inducted into the principles of research meant we got a good grounding and helped us to develop product on evidence of efficacy. On the business side, it helped us to develop our USP and company and product identity.
What advice would you give to prospective EDUCATE participants?
Based on our experience, I would encourage participants to engage properly. Make time in your head and in your diary to go to all the sessions. If you have to prepare a presentation, make sure you do it. Have a commitment to the process by inputting as well as taking away from it. That is the whole point of being involved in an EdTech community.