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'Senior-preneur' (age 65) develops online learning platform 'Dragonista' – helping students access education remotely

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‘Senior-preneur’ (age 65) develops online learning platform ‘Dragonista’ - helping students access education remotely 1

Dragonista's live online lessons go global

South Woodham Ferrers, Essex 24th November, 2020.  Age 65, Essex's Alan Jones took the first step in the journey that has resulted in the launch of a new educational tool.  Alan engaged with a web and application developer, based in Pakistan, and catalysed the 10-month journey of digital product development, which has resulted in the global learning platform named 'Dragonista.'

Dragonista is a single integrated web platform that allows members to securely access 'live' lessons/lectures, with up to 1000 students, simultaneously from any country.  Students all have the opportunity to interact with the teacher or lecturer and pre-recorded lessons can be viewed 24 hours a day.

Alan has an interesting back story.  As a student he struggled with learning but nonetheless achieved a successful career in international banking, having supplemented his own education with private lessons and courses.

His eldest son (now age 28) found school very difficult and as a teenager was diagnosed with ADHD.  Unfortunately, the secondary school system wasn't sympathetic to his condition and Alan decided to take matters into his own hands and manage his son's education.  He took a course on life coaching children and adults with High Level Autism spectrum, which includes ADHD/Aspergers.  While his son completed school, Alan's career relocated the family to the Middle East (in an international banking role) where they stayed for a number of years.  During this time, Alan noticed the distinct shortage of quality schools experienced by Ex-Pats.  This meant that Ex-Pat children were being sent back to the UK for their education.  Alan decided to figure out a way of using technology to provide access to education and thus to keep families together.

The Dragonista concept has been a number of years in the making and, now that the children are self-sufficient, Alan has had time to complete his research.  He commenced with friends designing the platform and last year he began researching IT consultants in order to appoint a team of developers who could implement his vision.  In need of seed funding, he discovered a work colleague was interested in the project and together they shared the cost of building the prototype. With UK developers quoting GBP40,000 for prototype development, Alan turned to Pakistan where the cost was equivalent to GBP12,000.  Alan has continued to self-fund.

Language barriers, time differences as well as Alan's high standards meant that the development took 1 year.  Now Dragonista is as good as ready.  Alan explained: "The journey has been really tough.  I tried to get funding from the government and business angels, I even took advice from a professional mentor, but no one was interested.  I just need the backing of a company that can help me bring the product to market."

Covid-19 has presented a huge uptake of virtual and distance learning technology, with built-in security to ensure students and teachers alike are protected.  Parents who found it difficult to home-school their children can access the Dragonista platform for group lessons that follow the national curriculum, as well as, intensive 1:1 tuition on virtually any topic.  Moreover, teachers are able to work from home and earn an extra income to suit their lifestyle, as well as schools being able to use Dragonista for commercial gain.

Going forward, Alan has turned to an Indian development team to support the product's ongoing research and development.  Although the pandemic has prevented him travelling to India, he has regular meetings with the team via conference calls on video; the outcome has been good and the product is ready to launch.  Named Dragonista, after a Welsh colleague who was a "Dragonista Rebel", Dragonista can be seen in action here http://dragonista.uk

Who can use Dragonista?

Alan Jones

Alan Jones

Students come from all walks of life and beyond the classroom, from hospital patients to participants on prison reform programmes.  Teachers and lecturers can create virtual live classes with up to 1000 students or they can record lessons.  By using screen sharing and editing tools, teachers can effectively engage students and make lessons more interesting and fun.  Students can ask questions directly to their teacher by just raising a virtual hand during live lessons.  Dragonista is also a suitable platform for private 1:1 lessons as well as corporate or government training programmes, workshops and conferences.

Because of the live hands-on aspect of the platform, teachers can mitigate bullying amongst students.

Here's the technical bit:

Security: the Dragonista website is secured with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) which is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user's computer and the site. The members' data remains private and inaccessible by third parties.

Webex Integration: Dragonista is integrated with a Webex api that has a high level Webex security listed feature.  Webex offers strong password access by default.

Video conferencing: Cisco WebEx allows high-definition video and audio quality.

The platform: is based on a single integrated platform and a single database. The platform is a 'one-stop' access to numerous applications e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, video conferencing, audio calls, social media as well as Apple equivalents to Microsoft tools.

The grid view: shows a multi-stream of all participants like they are all in the same room.

Cross-Platform, Functional and Geographic Versatility -Cisco Webex can be used on desktops, Android, IOS or Mac devices.

Dragonista also has some pretty cool functions including:

  • Automated notifications and diaries to both tutors and students. Messages will be automatically sent to the student and teacher when a lesson is about to begin. These messages will be linked to diaries and schedules.
  • Students can access other students and teachers globally. One of the main advantages will be that a student can ask a question about a topic and within a short time an answer should be provided from a peer, teacher etc. from another global location.
  • British designed and ownership complying with British educational standards.
  • Exams and tests can be held online, and multiple-choice exams will provide immediate scores. A recording of an exam producing a video, will provide the exam invigilator an additional review of any breaking of exam rules.
  • Video storage – Is included within the cost and is stored up to 5 years while subscribing.
  • Course scoring will be carried out via an algorithm linked to student answers to questions, that will rate and will create a league table of subjects, teachers and educational entity.
  • Optional E-commerce service for fees, subscriptions and rebates to teachers and clients with a dashboard showing income generated.

Some of the many benefits of Dragonista include:

  • Schools and teachers can earn an income based on the number of students per class
  • Education authorities can make savings on buildings
  • Mitigates Carbon footprint
  • Cheaper for students
  • University costs will lower and there will be more income for uni's based on more availability to students globally
  • Teachers have more time to mark books
  • Teachers and students don't stay in cold classrooms
  • Teachers won't be open to abuse and will be happy to stay within the education sector

To arrange interviews with Alan Jones, please contact him directly on +44 (0) 07751 703015

Follow Dragonista on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/Dragonistaltd/

 

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