In the past decade schools have moved from one computer room, to ‘smart boards’ in every classroom and the standard issue of an iPad to every pupil – but what does the future of technology hold for education?

Apps have sprung up for education purposes left, right and centre. For pupils these days, revision no longer means copying out facts onto paper; it means flashcards made on an iPad with the ability to test yourself against others, or an app that teaches you French grammar.

So what about for the schools themselves? One entreprenueur has noticed a gap in the market when it comes to technology in education; a product that speeds up and organises paperwork, leaving more free time for teachers to actually teach.

Joe Ryan is founder of Earwig Academic Timelines, a software business that brings school technology into the 21st century, enabling teachers to create vivid, image-based timelines showing the progress of each pupil and allowing parents to track the progress of their children. Earwig is currently crowdfunding on Crowdcube, with a target of £152,000 in return for 8% equity.

Essentially, the company has developed an app and software package which allows teachers to capture and tag images, documents and video, so that they are automatically available as a dynamic timeline that shows the progress being made by each pupil. This cuts the time spent recording teaching evidence by 50%. As well as this, photos put onto a child’s stream will be available to be bought by the parents, generating an income – on top of fee for the service – of between £5 and £20 per pupil.

Schools are under constant pressure from Ofsted to provide documentary evidence of the progress of each child in every area of learning and at every level from Nursery to A Levels. According to Ryan, a product was needed to organise this process:

“We’ve found that the arrival of technology, particularly smartphones and tablets in schools means that teachers increasingly use photos, document scans and video to record everything from test scores to field trips. However, they currently have no convenient way to organise or present these. Printing images and making notes can take up huge amounts of expensive teacher time which would be better spent preparing and teaching. This provides the opportunity.”

There is, as far as the founders are aware, no competition for this product. Developed by an ex-teacher, who understood the problems teachers face and Ryan, who is software sales specialist, the perfect team was created; raising £285,000 from founders, friends and private investors. In what will be there second crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube, the additional £152,000 will be needed to fill out the Earwig product suite, build the marketing and sales momentum and speed up the rollout to those 46,000 schools and other educational institutions which make up the UK education landscape.

For more information on this opportunity, visit

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