Educake Science- Small but Mighty
by Bethany Lund-Yates
Charley Darbeyshire, founder of Educake Science, visited Oxford Brookes to describe his experience setting up an online educational platform. Educake is a learning resource focused on secondary science, and is designed to help teachers reduce their workload. It does this by providing thousands of homework and revision questions, which cover multiple curriculums, and are marked by the system itself. Educake also has the benefit of allowing teachers to track their students’ progress, as well as targeting topics that need to be readdressed.
Charley, a regular lecturer at the digital publishing seminars, returns this year on the back of winning a BETT award for best Secondary Digital Content. The BETT awards are designed to encourage and recognise outstanding education sector resources, learning solutions and companies. This is quite an achievement considering that Educake has a total of two full time employees, and was up against major companies such as the BBC and Pearson Education.
It has taken Charley a long time to reach this success. After finishing university with a degree in psychology, he worked at CGP and Hodder Education. It was while working for these companies he realised how outdated textbooks were, in comparison to online resources, so he decided to create his own company to remedy this. He had to rely on borrowing money from friends and family to develop his product. A risky plan considering he had no experience computer programming!
Nevertheless, after five years developing the right product and word of mouth, Educake currently has 120 schools subscribed and around 15,000 students a month answering questions. It has also been found that the more questions students answer, the better their grades, which shows how effective Educake is. However, despite his success Charley continues to adapt Educake in response to the feedback he receives from teachers and students to improve the service.
For the future, Charley wants to experiment with adaptive features, as well as developing a version for other subjects and for international markets.