Despite a strong uptake in its services, Irish EdTech company EdTech Ventures has made its online resources available to schools for free until the end of 2020.

Junior Cert teachers and students will be able to access digital assessment tools for free until the end of 2020 to support their education.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Irish EdTech company, EdTech Ventures, decided to offer its resources for free as Junior Cert students are somewhat left in the dark about their exams.

Among trends the company has noticed from monitoring usage patterns include that one-third of students seem to be less engaged while others are diligently logging on at 9am every morning and were working through the Easter holidays.

“In tough economic times, it was a difficult business decision to make to give the product to schools for free until the end of the year but we felt it was the right thing to do ”

JCQuest is an online educational product that provides digital assessment for learning and is designed to support the new Junior Cert curriculum in science and French. It covers topics on the curriculum with carefully designed feedback to point students towards the right answers and allows teachers to track student progress with real data.

The programme was first launched on January 15 but as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19, all schools were forced to close on March 12th. Since then, the number of schools using the products have increased by 400 per cent.

The DALDIS project

JCQuest was developed as a result by EdTech Ventures and supported by research carried out by The Learnovate Centre, one of Europe’s leading research centres in learning technologies, based at Trinity College Dublin.

The work done by Learnovate and EdTech Ventures led to the DALDIS project, funded by the European Commission which is being conducted by partners from across five countries. The DALDIS project is trialling digital assessment in JCQuest in schools across Europe.

Those schools who are participating in the DALDIS Erasmus+ project will also have extended free access to JCQuest until June 2021.

“Teachers literally had to leave the classrooms on March 12th with no provision set up to teach remotely”

JCQuest currently has the entire Science curriculum and around half of the French curriculum on its system. The French curriculum was added recently to support schools during the pandemic and more French learning materials will be added over the coming weeks.

“The day after the schools closed down, we saw a flood of people accessing the product and the uptake has been phenomenal, said Peter Hamilton, founder and principal consultant at EdTech Ventures. “In that first week, we had 240 users which was more than we had in the whole month of February. And since the start of May, we have been having thousands of page-impressions every day.

“In tough economic times, it was a difficult business decision to make to give the product to schools for free until the end of the year but we felt it was the right thing to do to help teachers, schools and students who are all struggling and living with uncertainty due to the Covid-19 emergency.

“Teachers literally had to leave the classrooms on March 12th with no provision set up to teach remotely. As we saw the numbers logging onto our site, we knew they were figuring out what to do and we thought we could help them by making a clear offer for everything free until the end of December,” he finished.

Schools that are interested in setting up JCQuest for their classrooms can contact admin@edtech-analytics.com or call + 353 86 829 6471.  

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 13 May, 2020

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