New Innovator: Darya Yegorina
New app creates a fun way for children to learn geometry
Darya Yegorina is the brains behind a new app that aims to get young kids interested in the potentially dry subject of geometry. What’s different about her approach is that the app uses the highly-visual impact of augmented reality to bring geometry to life and get kids familiar and comfortable with shapes.
The app is a new departure for Yegorina’s company, Dublin-based CleverBooks, which she set up in 2015 with German-based co-founder Inna Armstrong. CleverBooks produces personalised books for children designed to help them learn life skills and develop their imaginations.
Yegorina is originally from the Ukraine, and has a masters degree in linguistics and language teaching. The app, which has been developed in Russia, has been created in conjunction with input from teachers and educational psychologists to make it suitable for all children regardless of their learning proficiency.
“The app uses 3D models with augmented reality for the main geometric shapes, and children can interact directly with the shapes to improve their spatial visualisation,” Yegorina says.
“With the app they can see geometric 2D and 3D shapes from all angles, and watch as shapes unfold from 3D to 2D. They can also check out the main properties of 3D shapes, develop their spatial imagination by observing 3D and flat models, and learn and understand fractions.”
The app can be used on both Apple and Android devices and is available now. An accompanying 100-page workbook will be launched in September, with a game that helps children connect shapes to the real world to follow.
The app is aimed at primary school children, and can be used in the classroom or at home by individual students. Yegorina says that in addition to learning about geometry, the app introduces children to new technology and helps with cognitive development and critical thinking.
The Geometry App is part educational resource and part social enterprise as it is free to use. We see the app as facilitating equality in education for kids around the world,” Yegorina says.
“Augmented reality is providing a new method of innovative and immersive learning that will greatly benefit children with learning difficulties and will also have a positive effect on less academically successful students.
“At CleverBooks we have created a new way of studying existing subjects by combining truly innovative augmented reality technology with traditional techniques and publishing aids. This creative combination helps to engage children with different learning abilities.”
The app has been developed over the last six months at a cost of around €10,000. The company, which employs five people, will make its money through sales of the workbook and game.
“I’m a big fan of bootstrapping and the venture has been self-financing,” says Yegorina, whose company was one of the 15 enterprises to make it into the final phase of the Virgin Voom accelerator in 2016.
The company will officially launch its product at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. At the moment the company is targeting teachers and parents of children aged 7-11 years old, but it has plans to expand into the secondary school sector.
Yegorina comes from a sales and project management background and also has previous startup experience. She loves a challenge, and likes to have a number of projects on the go at once. Apart from CleverBooks she works full-time with Rational Interaction, which is a contractor to Microsoft, and is also a co-founder of Start-Up Booster which aims to marry startups with investors.
“You don’t have to be hands on with everything when you have capable people working with you,” she says.
“We have a number of competitors in the AR app segment. However, the product set we offer is unique due to our multi-facetted approach which combines the app and a knowledge test with a workbook and a game.”