StartupBus Africa launches feature phone teaching aid


StartupBus Africa has finished its trip from Harare to Cape Town, and over the course of the 2500km travelled, a new education startup for Africa has emerged:

StartupBus is a simple enough concept: a mobile hackathon aimed at developing technology solutions across a variety of sectors.

The African leg paired 15 African entrepreneurs with 15 global counterparts for the five day road trip. In that time participants are expected to conceptualise, and execute ideas for a startup.

This year designers, developers and the business-savvy alike joined forces to tackle African problems in areas like energy, mobile, education and healthcare. is made up of Christopher Pruijsen — the founder of StartupBus UK and co-founder of StartupBus Africa — along with German designer, Danielle Reid, and Cape Townian developer, Dean Rotherham.

The blurb (from the website) reads as such:

“Engaging young African learners through a simple teacher generated phone-call to reinforce learning outside the classroom.”

So just what is then?

In short it’s a system that allows teachers to pre-record lessons that students can access on their feature phone, furthermore by using a unique SMS code the student can access a quiz on the lesson.

According to ITWeb Africa, once the code is messaged to the SMS service, a free, automated Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) call is triggered from servers to the student.

Pruijsen has stated that will be rolled out in Zimbabwe first, working with the Higher Life Foundation in Zimbabwe to reach schools in rural parts of the country. The pilot stage will kick off in January 2014.

Pruijsen says that the idea behind is not to replace teachers, nor to provide new content to students, but rather to “reinforce learning outside the classroom.” At a minimum it serves as a teaching aid.

Pruijsen adds, “we enable teachers to give, for example, homework assignments in a much easier way.”

The pre-recorded clips will be around ten minutes in length (about five questions), and can take the form of both multiple choice or open-ended questions.

Sterio.Me will reportedly allow teachers to facilitate questions in their local languages, and the platform will be free for all parties.



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