Skriware is a Polish education startup. It is involved in bringing comprehensive STEAM labs to schools. SkriLab is a proprietary solution that combines 3D printing lab, robotics and programming. Skriware’s goal is not just to sell solutions, but to make sure they are used by teaching staff on a daily basis.
You recently signed your first distribution agreement with a partner from the United States. How did you convince Americans?
Karol Górnowicz: First of all they were convinced by educational materials, which perfectly complement particular elements of our laboratory. Our distributor was familiar with similar solutions in the context of individual educational tools (e.g. 3D printer, educational robots, etc.), but what drew his attention was the fact that we are probably the only company that has collected all the most interesting and useful STEAM solutions and combined them into one coherent whole! Americans trusted our vision and decided to implement our idea overseas.
What other directions of expansion are you taking?
At the moment it is the Middle East and Europe. We are also expanding into secondary education, as our approach is particularly effective in technical and vocational education.
What is SkriLab useful for?
The educational materials included in our Skriware Academy (a platform dedicated to teachers) cover subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, nature, technology, computer science, and early childhood education, but that’s not all. Everything depends on the creativity and willingness of the teachers conducting the lessons. Nothing stands in the way of designing the mansion of Soplica in 3D Playground or creating a model of London with the help of the model database and using it during English lessons.
How do you think an ideal education should look like?
There is no single formula for perfect education, unfortunately. If we were to put it into some framework we would definitely aim at
- developing certain competences necessary for children in the future, as mentioned above,
- familiarizing them with technology from an early age,
- adapting education to individual needs – children learn in different ways, it would be ideal to provide teachers with tools that will help them to approach the needs of each student individually, while allowing them to devote enough time to each,
- Opportunities to experiment and show that there are important lessons to be learned from making mistakes and that school can be great fun,
- developing the methodological competence and digital skills of teachers,
Do you agree that modern children need more and more technological advancements to develop?
Above all, children need interesting and engaging tools that will develop the skills required in today’s world. These are, among others, the ability to think critically and independently, imagination and creativity, teamwork and project work skills, but also knowledge of technologies that are already starting to commonly surround us today. Such competences can be conveyed by an inspired teacher, who is willing to use modern tools. Therefore, in addition to technological advances, we must take care of teachers, hence the idea to build a whole laboratory around a platform dedicated to them.
What else does Skriware plan to do?
We want to introduce modern and effective education in as many schools as possible. Therefore, we are currently working on content that will also support secondary school teachers. In addition to the development on the domestic market we want to reach other countries with our solution. In our area of interest are the above-mentioned United States, Europe and the Middle East, where the interest in EdTech is really huge. We try to continuously invest in product and content development to ultimately create solutions that go beyond the school walls and comprehensively surround students with the fascinating world of science also in their homes.
Do Polish schools need to be persuaded to use modern solutions?
Teachers are distrustful when it comes to new solutions, without proper implementation it is hard to convince them that new technologies can only help them and not hinder their work. However, currently, due to government programs subsidizing schools, the interest in technologies (especially 3D printing) is very high. Our job is to address the lack of confidence and make sure that the equipment provided to schools is readily used. We try to make new technologies inspire educators and encourage them to implement them in their daily work, further triggering student engagement.
How do you assess innovation and development of the Polish EduTech sector? Are we catching up with Western solutions?
Polish EdTech has really strong representatives, from software to content to hardware, we can boast of really effective, innovative solutions. The world knows such platforms as Brainly – the largest learning platform built on peer-to-peer cooperation between students, teachers and parents. Particularly in times of pandemic, the problem of providing effective education in an unusual remote learning environment has highlighted the need to develop this sector. It is estimated that the development of the industry has accelerated by 2-3 years in a few months. This shows how flexible and creative companies can be in discovering and responding to market needs. It is called a new Polish export product and shows a huge potential for development on the international stage. From us as insiders, we can also add that an incredible advantage of Polish EdTech is the mutual willingness of the companies that represent it to cooperate. Thanks to this we are able to complement each other in fulfilling our mission of changing the face of education.