As the parent of an inquisitive 5-year-old, I am always on the lookout for the next best thing to keep him engaged. And if that engagement promises to teach him something valuable through creative learning, it’s an added bonus. Nowadays, edtech apps abound for every aspect of education and every kind of content. According to a study conducted in 2019 by global analytics and advice firm Gallup, based on students in the United States, creativity in the classroom enhances student learning by a large degree. As classrooms remain virtual, this creative aspect must also therefore be outsourced to edtech apps. Voxbox, unlike other creative learning apps, distinguishes itself by being a place for children to express themselves. Since expression is the best form of creativity, this new app is a wonderful way to encourage our children to build their self-confidence and enhance their creative abilities.
I recently spoke to Aditya Jaishankar, Founder of Voxbox, about his new platform and how it promises to shake things up in the edtech sphere. Excerpts from the interview:
Noor (NAC): Hi Aditya! Congratulations on the launch of your brand new app – Voxbox! Please tell us about the journey so far and how you came up with the idea for this app.
Aditya Jaishankar (AJ): Hi Noor, thank you. It’s been a very interesting journey so far. I was pursuing an MBA and was all set to enter the FMCG sector as a marketing professional on the client-side. However, fate had something else planned entirely. Somehow, I started enjoying listening to big ideas from the advertising industry, and this led me to stray into the advertising field instead.
After working in advertising for over 19 years, I met my business partner, Sunder Raman. He had already set up a user-generated content platform called MAAD (Make Awesome ads). While working on this together, we realised that kids often expressed themselves beautifully and that led us to create a storytelling app called MaPa.
This app encouraged kids to record stories in their voices and share them privately with anyone anywhere in the world, but we felt that we were not tapping into their amazing range of creativity. We wanted to create a platform where children felt comfortable expressing themselves fully, which is also a form of creative learning. Our conversations with kids also revealed that they were keen on a platform where they could interact with other kids, and express their thoughts and ideas to other kids.
That led to the creation of India’s first social community for kids below the age of 13, where kids could share their ideas, experiences, thoughts and stories with one another – Voxbox.
We launched a few weeks ago and many kids across the country are already sharing their thoughts and experiences with other kids on the Voxbox community.
NAC: What according to you is the main issue that Voxbox is addressing for children?
AJ: I feel that unlike teens and adults who have different avenues including various social media platforms to share their thoughts and experiences, kids below the age of 13 do not have a platform where they can express themselves freely. The safety and security of kids is one of the key reasons why such a product has not been created, but our platform does it in a safe manner. We are a secure social community for children below 13, where they can interact with other kids and freely express their thoughts, ideas, experiences and stories. Voxbox is an audio-visual platform where kids do not need to reveal their name, age or other personal details. We are also COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998) and GDPR (EU’s General Data Protection Regulation) regulated.
These measures ensure that our app is super safe and will be appreciated by both parents and kids. Further, no child can upload any post without parental consent. This ensures that no post can be harmful or prejudiced in any manner.
NAC: What is the story of the name? Who came up with it?
AJ: Voxbox is derived from Vox in French which means voice. On our app, every child’s voice matters and they are able to express themselves on a multitude of topics. A fun box where imagination has no limits, and creative learning is of utmost importance. That’s how the name Voxbox came into being.
NAC: How does one access your app?
AJ: One can access the app on google play store. Just search for Voxbox on the Play store and what will appear will be Voxbox – Kids share ideas, experiences and stories. (Download link below).
NAC: What sets you apart from your competitors?
AJ: I’d like to reiterate that we are the only social community for kids below 13 in India.
We do not have any direct competitors, as social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram do not have specific products for children below the age of 13.
YouTube for kids allows children to express themselves but does not foster the community connection that we have. Also, we stimulate every child’s imagination by focussing on creative learning through several prompts that act as thought stimulators which is not the case with YouTube kids.
Right from Sparking an idea, to Reliving an experience, to Exploring a city, we have diverse categories where children can express themselves in a language of their choice.
NAC: Do you cater specifically to an Indian audience or also to people from abroad?
AJ: Right now we only cater to kids within India, but hope to go global soon. In a matter of just four weeks, we have had over 800 downloads. This has come without any paid advertising as purely organic growth due to word of mouth.
NAC: What are the creative learning skills that Voxbox is instilling in young people?
AJ: These are the creative learning skills that our platform instils:
- We nurture the natural creativity of children and spark their imagination
- Enable them to become more expressive
- Break barriers and bond with children across different cultures
NAC: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in setting up Voxbox so far? How have you overcome them?
AJ: There have been multiple challenges, as is always the case when you are trying to set up something new.
Since this is a unique product we did not have a frame of reference for evaluation. We had to dive deep into the consumer’s psyche across the country to check if this product would be acceptable to parents. We had to keep rigorously testing to ensure that the experience was absolutely smooth – a small example would be ensuring that each community post would be uploaded instantaneously without any time lag.
NAC: What are you working on next?
AJ: There are multiple categories within our app. So we keep creating newer and fresher topics to pique the imagination of the child and enhance creative learning through our app. An example of this is when we organised a fun creative session with an industry expert so kids could create their own superheroes, and it was a big hit!
NAC: How did you select the programs offered on the app? Since it’s impossible to include all aspects of creativity, do you plan to include more in the future?
AJ: We have a content team that looks at various topics that will enable kids to expand their imagination and express themselves. It is creative learning at its best, and through the use of an app! Since we are a parent-led team we are always ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding what kids find entertaining and fascinating.
LINK TO DOWNLOAD THE APP:
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