Social media company Brainly has announced that it will now be focusing on its mobile apps for homework help, and will be overhauling them for increased usability. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices, and syncs with the desktop website, allowing for an easier user experience.
Th learning-based social media network for middle and high school students has over 40 million users, and its app has more than 4 million downloads to date. Brainly takes a "crowdsourcing" approach to learning, and covers all of the common subject areas, like math, English, history, geography, health, science, and business. It has been active for more than five years and now operates in over 35 countries and is available in 12 languages.
Brainly's CEO Michal Borkowski says:
With more than 40 million visitors to Brainly each month, one thing we know for sure is that every student has a subject they excel at. Connecting students together to help each other solve problems is the foundation of our company. The social learning connections made through Brainly move learning to a no-judgment environment, and now with our mobile app, students can take advantage of the site anywhere, anytime.
Answering other students' questions earn users points, which they then spend asking their own homework help questions that have them stuck, which they copy exactly from their homework. More than 8,000 questions get asked and answered each hour, making it an active and engaged community that may offer a more prompt and accurate answer than similar sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers. It can also give teachers insight into what gives students trouble in their subjects and how difficult topics can be more effectively taught.
According to Brainly's homepage, 600 volunteer teachers, students, and experts serve as moderators to make sure questions and answers are accurate and meet a quality standard. Together, they verify over 35,000 answers a day.
Steve O'Hear of Tech Crunch quotes Borkowski, who says that the service combines technology and learning in a way that allows students to act on their own initiative.
We have an awesome opportunity because we capture kids' attention at the optimum moment when they want to learn. Students come to Brainly when they both want and need to learn. We call this the "stuck" moment, and we see huge power in it.
In October 2014, Brainly raised $9 million in funding from investors, according to Kurt Wagner of ReCode. The Polish company plans to expand its presence in America (which began with opening a New York City office in 2014), to offer a premium membership, and to partner with schools. Borkowski said of this opportunity:
Every student in the world eventually becomes stuck on a homework problem, causing frustration and loss of confidence. Our vision is to help students become unstuck by turning homework into an opportunity to inspire learning and collaboration. With this funding, we will be able to accelerate this vision by bringing new expertise to our team, reinventing the next generation of our product, and expanding Brainly to new geographies.
Borkowski attended SXSWedu in Austin, Texas, and made a related announcement on the Instant Global Reach and Global Scale in Education panel.