MyAgenda: Naimish Gohil

As education technologists gathered in London for the Edtech UK global summit, one of London’s brightest edtech startups, mobile teaching aid Show My Homework continues to grow on the back of its promise to give time back. Ex-teacher founder Naimish Gohil takes our weekly 10-question test.

naimishgohilsmhwWhat’s top of your agenda for change?

“Teachers are overworked and drop-out rates high due to stress, workload and pay. It may seem that this is out of our control but there are things we can do to help educators. By streamlining processes, we can give them back time, which directly impacts their workload and wellbeing. ‘Giving time back’ is top of our agenda – teaching is a vocation so admin and sleepless nights shouldn’t stand in the way of teaching.”

What are you doing about it?

“We’re continually innovating our software so it offers the highest possible benefits to our users – if a new development doesn’t save time or add significant value, we won’t add it. We do this by listening to customer feedback – they know what features will add the greatest value. By removing the peripheral tasks around homework – management, marking, tracking, excuses – it provides teachers with the opportunity to do what they do best – teach.”

How did you find yourself doing what you do now?

“I was working as an assistant headteacher when I saw the opportunity to streamline the homework process. School-wide systems were introduced without training and lacked intuition, and homework was overlooked despite its proven links to higher attainment. It was my own frustration at this revelation that led me to creating a software that would position homework as a top priority whilst simplifying the process so everyone could reap the benefits it offers.”

How can technology help secure the change you want?

“Technology is the future and the now – we need to embrace this in our practices to see the greatest impact. Through tech, we can propel teaching standards forward at a greater pace, whilst making homework more efficient in its creation, automated reporting, and speed of access to student performance data. As tech is ubiquitous for learners, putting homework online engages with them on their level and through a medium they engage with.”

How are you using digital to deliver change through your own work?

“We’ve heavily invested in our software which has gone through thousands of iterations and adopted cutting edge technologies such as Ember to ensure we can provide the fastest and most robust service for our users. We also make sure we’re at the forefront with the technologies we’re working with and are able to be an exciting tech startup in our own right.”

What’s the project you’ve worked on that has made the most difference to date?

“The introduction of our three new apps – Praise, Seating and Content (which we’ve partnered with Collins to produce) – have made the biggest impact. We developed these based on customer feedback so our schools could create a truly holistic learning experience. Being able to manage all these aspects of teaching from one system helps them to save time switching between software and makes tracking student progress even easier.”

What’s the biggest challenge for those wanting to make a difference through technology?

“Edtech is a saturated market and in order to stand out in this industry companies need to be offering a product that is not only different and unique but that’s solving a real issue that educators are facing – this isn’t a market where luxury products are welcomed. Edtech isn’t fully understood outside of the industry so it’s important you know the market well and how the system works.”

What technologies are most exciting you in the space right now?

“Within tech, going mobile first excites me – catering for the ever growing usage of mobile over desktop means you’re able to reach an even wider market. We also have access to the most incredible technology in AI, yet this is a completely untapped market for education – just imagine the possibilities!”

What would you have done differently in your work looking back?

“The beauty of mistakes is that you learn from them, there are of course things I would have done differently had I known the impact it would have at the time, but I don’t think it would have made us as thankful or as passionate about what we have achieved today. We’re doing better than anyone expected and that’s because we have the best team of people – that’s thanks to our successes and downfalls.”

What’s your piece of advice to people looking to do good through digital?

“Whatever your industry, always support your customers. Be empathetic, live a day in their shoes, know their struggles and frustrations are and you’ll be able to adapt and improve your product for them specifically. Also, operate with honesty and integrity at all times – celebrate your successes and admit your mistakes, after all, we’re all human.”