Each year Deloitte recognizes the fastest growing companies in the tech ecosystem. This year, we are proud to be recognized as one of the fastest growing (33rd to be precise) tech companies. We’re even more proud to carry the Edtech baton at the event.
Five years of hard grind and persistence from the entire team fueled us to this place. The journey undoubtedly is hard, but as starry eyed entrepreneurs, we look forward to that – We have learnt to cherish the uphill climb. We wouldn’t be here, were it not for the people who believed in our vision and gave their unconditional love and support – The Bees who work very hard at Report Bee every day, our Investors, Partners and most importantly the School leaders and Teachers who use our product every day.
RB team at Deloitte Technology Fast50 event.
These awards are essential milestones in the long entrepreneurial marathon. They give you the much needed energy boost. The last 5 years have brought us to where we are – serving more than 600 schools, a little over half a million children and 10,000 teachers. The possibilities from here are endless…
I end this post, borrowing Robert Frost’s lines, ones that keep floating at Report Bee often,
“ The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. ”
Big Data. Two simple words. When I first heard these words I wondered how much ‘Big’ data can education really have? And as I started working a year ago on Partnerships at Report Bee, I gradually realised that there is vast amount of educational data available for every student. But, was this being put to good use? After all, the data’s worth lies in the interpretation and the subsequent action, isn’t it?
School education, as we know, has evolved dramatically over the years. It is not just academics now. Schools offer many different programs ranging from life skills, leadership, robotics to yoga. So, we have all this rich student data available with us: How do schools essentially make use of this? With Report Bee in schools now, many different beautiful, insightful report cards are made possible at the click of a button!
Low income schools :
What happens with such vast education data in low income schools supported by impact organizations? More often students’ progress in those schools is never tracked since such data sets are unstructured, cluttered and lack insights. It is cumbersome to maintain and over a period of time this can lead to data loss when stored as hard copies or excel sheets.
Let’s consider a student named Priya. During Priya’s school life, she would have a unique data set related to her: general records with academics,daily attendance, health, co scholastic records, standardized test scores and so on . This in turn, becomes a huge data set for many students like Priya under an impact organization.
What if this huge unstructured, but extremely valuable education data is mined? Let’s for a moment, forget the analysis that can happen across the spectrum and focus on the students. We would be able to find simple patterns in student’s learning, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of the individual academic performances and the factors influencing them which would in turn enable us to design more effective intervention programs.
What does Report Bee do?
The Partnerships team decided to actively foray into this new vertical to see how we can do what we do to help the many Impact Organizations in Education to make sense of the huge datasets they have.
So, What does Report Bee do for impact organizations?
Large Unstructured Education Data + Report Bee = Meaningful, Actionable Insights
Yes, we precisely do the above. The data given to Report Bee can be of any format, a text file, a comma separated file, a microsoft access database or any other format. Report Bee’s analytics engine is designed in a way to read these files of different formats and create insightful reports, that is visualized aesthetically for quicker and easy understanding.
Often times, different organizations have very specific objectives and have the need for a unique set of reports. That is when our data team steps in, providing customized visualizations with drilled down information regarding students’performance across subjects and across years. This can help organizations know the impact of their program on the students’ learning.
We know that the Best Decisions are Data Informed Decisions.
This information dissemination has in turn, helped the donors and other stakeholders with efficient capital allocation, eventually improving student learning.
Report Bee is all set to help create an impact in students’ learning by transforming how education data is read, understood, visualised and acted upon.
Big Data. Two small words with a big promise for education.
It was a sunny day and I felt my car’s AC air gushing at my face. It was in no time, the AC beat the heat but it was temporary. The heat came from a phone call then. The person X of Hive Public School at the other end tells me, “Hari all the overall grade calculation for class 6 is wrong”. I wanted to reassure whether she was telling what I heard, so I told, “Could you please repeat it ma’am?”. “Hari all the overall grade calculation for class 6 is wrong. What we have given in the sheet as aggregation what Report Bee has done doesn’t match at all”. I took deep breath which I don’t do often and claimed, “Your’s is a CBSE school right?”, the answer was ‘Yes’. “We do calculation based on the CCE* guidelines”. And the conversation went on till I agreed to change the grades for deviating students. Now, you would have got it, most of the time we end up abiding customer needs.
Usually the assumption for any CBSE school would comply to CCE guidelines. This was an incident on that assumption which proved costly. The next few passages, I will be explaining the math involved in our calculation and why the deviation happened in the first place. So if you are not really a math person and it bores you, feel free to jump to the last paragraph.
Our mode of calculation (CCE prescribed) :
To your left is the grade calculation image. They say grade is calculated based on the marks scaled up/down to 100, basically percentage. Each grade also has a grade point pinned to it as well. Each subject’s grade for a term is calculated by aggregating the marks procured in the numerator, the total in the denominator and multiplying it by 100. That would give the percentage value for it to be displayed as grade in the report card. In this way individual subjects will have marks and the respective grades. To calculate the overall grade, the individual subject’s grade is the percentage expressed out of total marks in term all subjects inclusive. Below is the image explaining our calculation for the specific student Bee.
Hive Public School’s mode of calculation (The heart wrecking phone call) :
There is no legitimate image for this to be referred. The only place where the calculation can be found out is as fields shared by the school. Each subject’s mark is grade with percentage as base. Till this point they resemble our mode of calculation. After this, they do a calculation which you might not see in any CBSE school doing. For the grade procured, the corresponding grade point is referred and this is done for all the subjects. The grade points are summed up and divided by the number of subjects included part of their academics. This gives an average grade point out of 10. The overall grade referred is based on the grade point’s range. Below is the image explaining Hive Public School’s calculation for specific student Bee.
The teachers of the school had gone for a workshop three years back and had brought this take away of overall grade calculation. Had the overall grade calculation methodology been mentioned in the CCE guidelines, this problem wouldn’t have come. So, here we came with a hack. The school identified students with deviating grades and gave it to us. We changed the grades manually through CSS, the tool which is normally used to feast your eyes with vividness. Because of this, there was 956 lines of code at the back end. Also, we ended up editing the grades of 20% of students in a class on an average.
*CCE – Continuous and comprehensive evaluation is a process of assessment, mandated by the Right to Education Act, of India. Student’s marks will be replaced by grades which will be evaluated through a series of curricular and extra-curricular evaluations along with academics. The aim is to decrease the workload on the student by means of continuous evaluation by taking number of small tests throughout the year in place of single test at the end of the academic program. Only Grades are awarded to students based on work experience skills, dexterity, innovation, steadiness, teamwork, public speaking, behavior, etc. to evaluate and present an overall measure of the student’s ability.
It was our first NC meet at the new office. This time, I decided to use less tools as my belief in art has always been on tools like pen, pencil, brush, mouse and marker. As a result, the confidence has always been dependent on the type of tools I get to use. Using only the thumb restricts many forms and I want to know how it works. Thumb art is usually for kids in kindergarten to enhance hand coordination. Here I decided to check the extent of imagination in adults. After 10 minutes of brainstorming where and when we use our thumb, we started the activity. The answers varied from using a smartphone to screen recognition pattern and lot more.
No one had used their thumb to do any art. With the shape of a thumb, the art form flows along with creativity and thinking skills. The possibility of creating anything you can imagine makes it more exciting.
1st NC meet at collaboration room at new office.
What you need :
A sheet of paper
Black marker/ gel pen
Any color paint
Thumbs and fingers
It’s quick. It’s simple. It’s Creative.
Many of them preferred to check online. While few tried replicating, few tried reproducing. And some of them took the influence alone and tried to bring that intensity in their work.
And here is the outcome of Thumb art!
Outcome of Thumb Art!
A man flying with a pool of balloons, two little bees, monkey and butterflies, shiva, a colour palette, a couple of trees, reindeer(s) pulling the sledge, dogs etc.
Unlike adults, kids have an extensive imagination. They don’t mind the risk factor. With adults, the pressure and fear factor pops up in all stages that we don’t enjoy the art or its process. Whereas we compete and submit to the pressure. This I believe can be changed over time.
Suganthi : The activity was new to me and I usually like to learn as much as possible through the NC meets. Everyone felt awesome and had different experience while making an art using their own finger instead of any tool. Though I did a simple bird, It came out really well. Thanks for the interesting activity.
Jack : I’ve heard of thumb art, but this is the first time I got to try it. Wow! What many things can be done with the thumb compared to a brush!!
After giving it a try, now I find the brush a little difficult to use as fingers seem to be more comfortable and give a personal touch to the art Thanks to Jeevan for bringing in the new form! Cheers!
June – The month where we from Report Bee buzz the most! With the fresh start to a new academic year, we have our happiness team welcoming the existing schools back, wishing them all the very best for the year; Creation team introducing new features, enhancing the existing features to make sure our users, the teachers enjoy the product even more! And Growth trying to connect with more number of schools and sell our product. After all, June is the peak time of sales!
As a member of the growth team, I am well aware of the entire process we go through to implement Report Bee. To me, it is the toughest job. Our product speaks for itself, so you might wonder what is there to convince. Let me take you through the entire process.
When a new school even remotely expresses their interest in Report Bee, we grab that opportunity. We call the concerned person at school and try and schedule a demo with the Principal.
A Principal, is the Prime Minister of the school. Starting the day at 8 AM or even earlier at times, they have meetings throughout the day. Principals to me, are super human beings. Try waiting outside their office and in a minute, you will find atleast 5 people who walk in and walk out of their room! So, imagine how difficult it can be for us to just get an appointment to talk about Report Bee.
After all the follow ups, we finally manage to fix an appointment. Even though a time is agreed verbally over phone, it gets postponed, no doubt! Working with over 400 schools we completely understand the life of the principal. I guess that is why we end up having a personal connect with almost every principal we talk to, irrespective of whether Report Bee is implemented or not. By the end of our follow ups, we have our moments together sharing what we eat for lunch!
I could say growth is an energetic team with a never say die attitude, but another reason for all the follow ups we do with every school is the target we aim to achieve by the end of this year. With a humungous pressure on us, every positive moment with a school only gives us hope. So, if you were a principal of a school who has shown interest in Report Bee, you can imagine the follow up phone calls you would get from this team. We use strategies to even call them at specific days and timings. The only thing constant is our smile and the talk we have with the principal.
Finally, after all the follow ups, the principal agrees to give us time for our product demo. The product speaks for itself, so the demos generally end on a high note. The colourful designs, the instant graphical representation, the user friendliness of the software are all the key reasons why a school agrees to implement our product.
But no. The story does not end there. A decision for a school to implement Report Bee not lies only with the principal but at times, also with the higher management. Phew!
After giving a demo, I am generally on a high. But when the principal says that she will get back after consulting with the management – my high drops to low! One drop instantly. Need to wait again.
After countless follow ups again, the school finally sends a confirmation email saying they have agreed to implement Report Bee in their school!
That is the moment we from Growth wait for! All our effort in closing one school to just receiving this email, gives us more energy to march towards our target for this year.
With a huge happy heart, we from Report Bee invite all the new schools to the family. We know your time is precious. Our service will be top notch to ensure your school, a member of our family is always happy and will never have to go through this process of finalizing another product software such as ours!
We belong to an era of data science, cognitive psychology and artistic visualization. At Report Bee, we performed an extensive analysis on single sex schools vis-a-vis co-ed schools and found that in Tamil Nadu, boys are performing better in co-ed schools than boys-only schools.
We took the last 4 years data (2012- 2015), and the findings showed us a trend.
In 2015, among the 6258 schools that appeared for the 12th board exams, the pass percentage of boys only schools is 59.8 whereas the pass percentage of girls only schools is 66.2. But in case of the co-ed schools, the pass percentage of boys and girls increases to 63.6 and 66.8 respectively.
In class 12, we found that boys in Co-ed schools on an average scoring 5.3% more than their counterparts in boys-only schools. Through a detailed analysis on each of the revenue districts, we observed a maximum average difference of 13.5% (~162 marks) in a Perambalur.
KANYAKUMARI, DINDIGUL, OOTY, NAMAKKAL, TRICHY, NAGAPATTINAM seem to have boys in boys-only school performing better than Co-ed schools, reason here is these districts are literacy districts and they perform well in any given condition.
When tested on girls in co-ed school and girls only school, there was an increase of 0.6%.It showed that girls are performing better than boys irrespective of being a single sex school or a Co-ed school.
Similarly In class 10, we found that boys in almost all the revenue districts in Tamil Nadu are performing better in Co-ed schools. Except Virudhunagar, all the other districts show a higher performance in average marks scored by the boys studying in co-ed school.
The performance of the students can vary from various reasons like peer pressure, discipline, employability, infrastructure, adolescence and so on.
Tamilnadu 12th Board – Spatial Analysis
Green colored districts are those in which the boys in Co-ed school have obtained a better average% than the boys-only schools. Red colored are the districts where the boys in boys-only schools have scored a higher average% than the Co-ed schools
I was home trying to decide what to wear for work. It was a special day at Report Bee and I wanted to look my best! By chance, I found a new salwar set to wear and got dressed quickly.
I reached office at 8.30 AM. My colleagues, Jayashree and Siddarth were already in. Siddarth, pacing down the hall was trying to keep his cool. I could say he was nervous! The collaboration room was already filled with chairs. Lavanya, was running around to get snacks and tea ready, keeping the necessary stationery required and ensure everything else was in place!
While Rbians were hustling and bustling to make sure everything was perfect, I found a lady dressed in a beautiful blue and pink saree waiting at our office doorstep. I smiled to myself. Yes! We had our first guest coming in. To be sure, I went upto her and enquired,
Me: Hi Mam, Can I help you?
She: yes. Report Bee, right? I am waiting for my other friend to come.
Me: Oh Sure mam! You may please come and sit inside.
Smiles all over, I got back to my desk waiting for the rest to arrive. One by one they came, got seated and finally we were ready to start!
Siddarth took over the stage and had the entire audience listening to him in rapt attention. That day, I learnt he could actually be loud when he wanted. Halfway through his presentation, slowly a few questions were being raised, discussions starting to take place and we had Ideas popping right up from this astounding audience!
That moment we (and I speak for all RBians present that day) felt WOW! Our small dream was becoming a reality! A dream of having teachers, encouraging discussions among them, giving them a place to speak and share ideas, to make them feel like they were the most important person around!
How did we do this?
Report Bee launched its first teacher workshop for teachers on Data, decisions and beyond. We had 15 teachers from various schools across the city attending the workshop. Through this workshop, teachers learnt the importance of data, how decisions can be made with the help of data and learn the difference between intuition and data driven decision making.
It was important that we, from Report Bee conducted this workshop. When we say ‘we are a data visualization company, we have close to 8000 teachers using our product’, it goes without saying that it is in our hands to ensure that they understand the importance of our product in full and reap it’s benefits!
A small thought became a dream and grew to be a reality. Today, Report Bee can proudly say, we help teachers to discuss, ideate and learn with one another. We are a community. We are a team. Join us. Help us blossom. After all, spring is indeed here!
Finally, the Card flipped to me – Naan Creative Jack!
I am happy to represent the 5th NC meet. Firstly, I’ll give a quick overview of what is Non (Naan) – Creative.
A Bunch of like-minded People at work believed in the creativity hidden in each and every one of us. We thought we should do something to bring it out. So, we started a club in Report Bee for all the ‘Non creative’ bees out here. We usually have assumptions about ‘creative people’ and ‘non-creative people’. We tend to think that ‘creative people’ are a naturally gifted species while non-creative people are not.
To break all the myths and to learn from the common, we kick started with this idea.
The idea was simple. We wanted to search for and bring back the creative child in every one of us whom we had lost somewhere along the way. We wanted to establish a platform to unleash our childhood craziness.
It was planned that we would organize an activity every month for all the interested ‘kids’ in here. Each month a person from the team would organize/co-ordinate the session while the rest of the participants learn from him/her.
This is how Jack turned into a ‘Creative Jack’! Yes. I was the co-ordinator for NC-5.
Usually we let know the participants about the activity beforehand so that they come prepared. But this time I kept it a secret. I did not even give a hint about the activity. All I said was, to keep themselves available on the following Friday ( July 31, 2015).
Our usual meeting place for the activity is a conference room in the Ameex premise. It’s a well structured office space with comfortable chairs and tables. But this time I wanted to go to a different place, wanted my team to explore a new environment. I did not want the same kind of activity. So I took them to a new venue. And we went there carrying nothing with us. Every one of them was eager to know what the activity was.
I took them to the new building of our office. This is where Report Bee was going to move in a few days. The new office was a very old Duplex Villa that needed to be shaped into a working office space. I took the team around the entire half-finished office filled with dust. I let them take a good view of it. Then I divided the participants into 5 different teams and gave them the blue print of the new office space with these as specifications.
I told them to imagine that they were the interior designers for the designated rooms. (Ex: Karan & Jiva for Collaboration Room) I asked each team to think, be creative and visualize the office space and make it employee friendly. I gave them 30 minutes of time to finish this activity.
The only other rule for the activity was that it should be beyond our expectations.
Each and every team came up with their own imagination and concept. By the end of this activity, each team had to explain their visualization to other team members. We were forced to think beyond our limitations. Since none of us are interior designers by profession, everyone had to kindle their creativity and imagination to finish the task.Real user needed design flow out!
Team A: Karan & Jiva | Collaboration Room
Team B: Yesvanth & Suganya | Main Entrance
Team C: Harish & Sathish | Kitchen
Team D: Shanmuga Vel & Hari | Terrace
Team E: Danil & Suganthi | Outdoor Recreation area
Often, the participants are the key takers. But here I’m the real key taker. The ideas shared by the participants helped me in brainstorming with our official interior designers. The plan is partially implemented and we’ve now moved into the new office. I can see happy people at work. I’ve got a new perspective on what people expect their workspaces to be, other than being just an office building.
Thanks for reading my blog. Please feel free to comment and encourage us.
With the resolve that I’m going to be who I am the day went on quite fine and I found my mom preparing dinner. I found myself moved to tears, but not from the emotions, but from the onions my mother was chopping. Me from the past would’ve yelled at my mom for making me teary eyed but the new I didn’t do that. I didn’t speak a word and even went on to help her. Mom was surprised and soon she started opening up about the things happening in the household. She was genuinely happy, and soon I was teary eyed again, but this time from the emotions welled up inside me. During dinner, I appreciated mom for the delicious dishes she had put up. This made her really happy. See what a good word could do to people!
Soon it was TV time and mom took control of the TV to watch her soaps. I asked her, “Doesn’t this seem boring to you? Always family fight, tears. Ma, please change the channel”. My mom looked at me and asked, “All day, you keep doing something with your phone.Do I ask anything?” I remained silent and decided never to interfere again. I kept watching the serial and even started to enjoy it. The next day I decided to break my home routine (Eat, sleep, TV and Repeat). I’m from an agricultural background and have farm lands and I decided to take a lonely walk, bare footed.I considered myself as the Christopher McCandless of “Into the Wild” movie. The movie’s plot is about a guy from a prestigious family who feels that everything was unreal to his heart. He quits everything and sets out on an adventurous trip to Alaska. I took a stick in hand and started to walk and the farms looked so beautiful, filled with peace.I listened to the crows, squirrels, frogs and observed their activities. I was completely lost in it. On that night, I slept in the open terrace watching, counting the stars up in the sky and admiring the beauty of the Moon. I felt my body and mind at peace.
The rest of my holidays were spent like this with my mind longing to discover the adventure and joy in everything. For me adventure is not just in tying a rope to my legs and jumping upside down from a Cliff, but it’s in trying new and different things. Like doing something new in our daily routine, like trying out a new chocolate or taking a new route to the office or buying and experiencing new stuffs. I believe this is the thought that keeps me alive and thrilled. Here’s one of my recent adventures – One Sunday morning, I went out to the beach using public transport. I bought the one-day pass which allows me to travel in any public vehicle all through the day. But I decided to take rest and head home. When I reached my bus stop I realized the pass I had was free for the entire day and anyone can use it (name won’t be written on it). I set a task for myself to find a stranger and give the pass so someone can use it. I got near to people waiting at the stop and thought of asking around if anyone would need the pass but I couldn’t. I was afraid about how they’d react. Even though I never gave the pass to anyone the act was very thrilling.
One of my friends, shared a video.
He also mentioned a fantastic line in that video, “It’s always better to regret something after doing it rather than regretting without doing it, because by doing something, even if you don’t gain anything, you will gain experience”.
Life doesn’t run like a pre-programmed machine. You can’t expect what is next. We all run behind something, whether its money or pride or happiness or pleasure, we all try to preserve it for the future and forget to live in the present moment. In the far distant future, when you turn back and see, you would really see yourself as a race horse trained to run in a pre-determined track. And the scary thing is, you wouldn’t know who you are and what you did for most of your life. You might be a successful person, but you wouldn’t have lived your own life. So stop running behind something, start enjoying and admiring the things around you. Never allow anyone to determine other than you. We all live with some kind of shortcomings; it can be physical or mental. Love to live with it. I learnt this and it taught me how beautiful life is and how gifted we are. Like Stephen Hawking said, ‘Where there is life, there is hope’. With that hope, stay strong and Invincible. And finally, Find your freedom and Live your life.
It had been a long time since I went home. I took four days off from work and reached home. The usual ‘home’ routine followed. Eating, watching TV, sleeping all the time. One morning I woke up at 6am (a very rare occurrence). I was bored and decided to code. I had almost typed sixty lines of the code. My computer was warning low battery. I said to myself, ‘Just few more minutes, I will commit the changes’. (This is how we permanently save the code in the remote server). I was too lazy to plug in the charger. Few seconds later, Blink! Computer shuts down. The four inch smile in my face shortened down to a two inch anger. Hoping that the code was auto saved, I stood up and plugged in the charger. After switching it on, I had to face the fact that all the sixty lines of the code that I wrote was not saved. That was it. I lost my temper. One more minute in front of the computer would make me go crazy, I realized. I slammed my computer to sleep and went up to the terrace. The sun was golden, rising slowly and was taking cover behind the trees. That was a marvellous sight. I went down, grabbed my phone and took a picture of it.
I sat there for a while. For no reason I remembered all the events that happened in my childhood and the silly fights I had with my brother and all the memories were sweet. One of them was at a time when we were at school . We used to do household chores then. I used to command him and he used to follow. I used to scold him, if he hadn’t completed the work. During those times, my brother hated me. The thing is, I face the same situation with my dad. He used to scold me most of the time (even now) for silly things. The worst part is when I ride my bike with him at the pillion. Even now, he would hit me when I don’t drive perfect like a autonomous google car. My brother hated me the same way like which I hated my dad. I was playing dad to my brother. I realised I was the same as my father. I pondered on this for a while. I came down as the sun started to glow furiously and switched on my computer. I knew I wouldn’t be able to write the code since I was preoccupied with so many thoughts. I shut down my computer. I began to think, ‘Am I really a clone of my dad. Does all my actions and behaviour resemble him?’ Finally I found the answer, ‘Yes’. This question lead me to think, ‘Am I living my own life? Or who’s life am I living?’ These kind of thoughts were going around my mind. Few days back, I saw a movie, ‘Amazing Spiderman -2’. There was a speech by Gwen Stacy that I loved.
“We all think we are immortal, we’re supposed to feel that way, What makes life valuable is that it doesn’t last forever, what makes it precious is that it ends. I know that now more than ever. And I say it today of all days to remind us that time is luck. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life, make yours count for something. Fight for what matters to you, no matter what. Because even if you fall short, what better way is there to live?”
I started my computer to see the speech again. This time it looked even fierier and it felt like a battle speech. Then I realised that most of the time we tend to fake our lives, we always tend to act like we are better than what we actually are. We always portray a better version of ourselves, well-educated and well-cultured, hiding our true nature. One reason could be that people are not ready to accept the truth and our original being. That’s it, I’m no more going to be the ‘Fake it’ kind of guy. That moment was changing point of my life. I promised myself. I might be courageous or coward, active or lazy, or whatever it may be, let me be myself. I’m not going to care what people think of me. If you think this is rude, let me put it in another way. People have the right to think about me but I care less about that. I promised myself, ‘People may change, times may get hard, situations can be terrible, things may turn terrible and life may turn really bad. I won’t change. People may love, hate or screw me, I’ll be what I am’.
I started to see life different than before I did and notice every tiny thing around me. I realized how lucky we are. With the parent’s gift, we are living a wonderful life with sophisticated technologies. We are so fortunate that we are not born during World War or Ice Age. Importantly, we are humans, who are the most talented species of the Universe. Let us enjoy our every moment to the fullest. Never hesitate for being yourself. Once this thought added vigour to my fire, I set to experiment real joy, love, adventure and thrill. Every day should be exciting, memorable and enjoyable. Never miss a moment. I’m going to share some of my experiences from the new way of life that I have discovered (rest of the content, continued in part 2).