“I’m a believer of the BYOD approach. I believe that smartphones are about to be game changers in education, not only in developing countries, where it’s often the only Internet access, but also in industrialized countries.” – Jérôme Serre, France

As a passionate entrepreneur with an engineering background, Jérôme Serre believes the world of education technology is rife with opportunity. “Access to educational content is increasingly becoming free and curated by teachers themselves,” says Serre. “That was a trend initiated by Wikipedia, and we don’t see an end to that. The most amazing thing about that is that it is getting the content to the highest levels of quality ever reached, beating what historical publishers have sold for ages at a high price. We at eduPad want to be an enabler of that trend.”

Serre, who co-founded eduPad in 2010, and ExploLab in 2007 with Daniel Jasmin, started his career at L’Oreal and quit in 2000 to launch his first company. He hasn’t stopped since.

According to Serre, eduPad is the leader of mobile educational apps on Windows 8 for elementary and middle school students in the US and France. “Our apps are fun to use and cover Math and Language Arts from Grade 3 to Grade 8 while complying with the US national standards,” says Serre.

I love how eduPad takes full advantage of the Windows 8 touchscreen, easy-to-use interface, and interactivity. You can demo iTooch Math Grade 3, which is ranked #20 in the Education category on the US Windows Store.

Here, Serre shares his perspective on mobility in education, BYOD, and the best advice he’s ever received. Enjoy!

What drew you to the field of education? Why is it important to you?

The amazing opportunity opened by the diffusion of mobile devices and the misunderstanding of the usages of technology by historical schoolbook publishers.

Please describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education.  What has changed as a result of your work?

eduPad was the first publisher to introduce social gaming networks within our educational apps. Teachers and the Ministry of Education were a bit reluctant and worried at first. The adoption was just amazing.

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?

As a tech startup, we use technology in our daily routine: shared documents, instant messaging, blogs, workflows, and web conferencing…

Is there a 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, or creativity and innovation) that you are most passionate about? Why?

Entrepreneurship. It is historically a valued skill in the US, with a culture of settlers and entrepreneurs; it is a skill that needs be valued and developed more through education in Europe.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?

A smartphone: light, mobile, connected, always on, getting cheaper every day… and smarter and smarter every day!

What is your country doing well currently to support education?

Wish I knew… France ranks 24th out of 27.

How must education change in your country to ensure that students are equipped to thrive in the 21st century?

I’m a believer of the BYOD approach. I believe that smartphones are about to be game changers in education, not only in developing countries, where it’s often the only Internet access, but also in industrialized countries.

Enabling people to bring their own device solves a lot of common issues: students become responsible for purchase and maintenance, and believe me, if there’s something they do take care of and keep with them all the time, it’s their smartphone.

Governments can, of course, subsidize these investments, but prices are going down so low, it shouldn’t be a big issue (we’re not talking $500 tablets or computers).


About Jérôme Serre

Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/iTooch

  • Birthplace: Paris, France
  • Current residence: Paris, France
  • Education: Engineer
  • Website I check every day: www.techcrunch.com
  • Person who inspires me most: Elon Musk
  • Favorite childhood memory: Fishing by the river with my grandfather.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): NYC
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Just do it!
  • Your favorite quote or motto: It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. – Seneca
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