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Smart Kidz Club: An educational library of "just-right" digital reading and learning content

About Smart Kidz Club

Smart Kidz Club offers exclusive educational content in a carefully curated digital library to provide children with access to narrated, illustrated ebooks, flash cards, play activities, quizzes and other materials. The company leverages EdTech research to guide its practices and maximize the impact of its content on young learners.

Industries: Education
Location: United States

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Smart Kidz Club uses Google Cloud and Firebase to rapidly create and deploy exclusive learning content apps while maintaining low subscription costs.

Google Cloud results

  • Supports rapid content creation and curation through agile IT infrastructure
  • Enables global reach of tailored learning apps for specific ages and types of learners
  • Maintains low total cost of IT ownership through serverless app development and management
  • Extends reach of company to almost all countries worldwide

Enables 2-day app creation and deployment cycles

Increased access to digital devices and services has presented parents and educators with endless opportunities to improve literacy and overall learning. At the same time, teachers and parents want to ensure children approach digital learning in the safest and most productive ways possible.

Smart Kidz Club is an EdTech company not only focused on improving literacy, but also strengthening students’ love of reading and learning through interactive and science-based reading tools. Smart Kidz Club creates its own exclusive knowledge-based content relevant to a variety of young readers, and delivers it digitally through human narrated illustrated books. Younger readers can also use a read-along feature that highlights words as they are being read.

"We develop our own content with authors and illustrators to reflect the perspectives of children worldwide with a mission of inspiring kids to read and learn," says Surinder Sharma, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Smart Kidz Club. "We work hard to give as many kids easy access to engaging educational content as possible through several easy-to-use apps."

Rather than focusing on compiling the biggest content library, Smart Kidz Club focuses on high-quality curated learning materials. Given its focus, the organization needed a way to scale up its content library while keeping overall costs low to ensure access to affordable apps for more parents worldwide. Smart Kidz Club found the IT platform it needed to enable its vision by standardizing on Google Cloud.

"We have had tremendous success with Firebase, including in the early days when it took us just two months to create an entirely new technology foundation for our apps and bring it to market."

Harjeet Singh, Technology Consultant for Digital Transformation, Smart Kidz Club

Offering affordable, targeted apps to different learners

Smart Kidz Club bases its approach to content creation and delivery on research into both the ways that children between one and eleven years old learn, and the kind of educational technology that works best.

"A group of researchers found 80,000 apps labeled as educational on various app stores, and then used a system to evaluate just how educational each was," says Surinder. "A lot of what we do is based on the findings of that study, along with other research that shows static images with narration tend to be the most effective method of digital reading when compared with overly animated learning content."

Smart Kidz Clubs works with authors and illustrators to develop its learning content, and uses a gamified point system to motivate children to read and interact with materials. To help ensure students are not overwhelmed by too many options, it creates smaller apps that target specific subjects, age groups, and other subsets of users, which also helps to keep down subscription costs.

With demand for the company’s services growing, Smart Kidz Club previously struggled to scale up its apps and content with its legacy cloud provider. As a result, the company started looking into better options to speed app development and delivery. After their research, the team found that Firebase offered the ideal environment based on their needs

"Making our app offline-capable was critical to our success. Firebase made this possible."

Surinder Sharma, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Smart Kidz Club

Powering educational apps with the Firebase toolset

"We wanted to be really agile and fast and stay focused on creating rich content and strong user experiences. We didn’t want to have to deal with a lot of IT maintenance," says Harjeet Singh, Technology Consultant for Digital Transformation at Smart Kidz Club. "We’ve had tremendous success with Firebase, including in the early days when it took us just two months to create an entirely new technology foundation for our apps and bring it to market."

Smart Kidz Club designed its technology stack using Firebase and other Google Cloud solutions like Cloud Functions to power its premium app and fuel new app creation. This allowed the company to create apps for specific countries when working with government education agencies, in collaboration with nonprofits, as well as apps for use in specific grade levels—all of this while keeping subscription costs low.

Smart Kidz Club uses the entire Firebase platform for its app development, deployment, and monitoring. Cloud Firestore and Realtime Database help the company develop serverless apps and allow it to make its premium app available offline to increase security and reduce data usage costs for users.

"Making our app offline-capable was critical to our success. Firebase made this possible," says Surinder. "Parents can set up their kids with the app without WiFi and know their kids will not wander unsupervised to other sites. At the same time, parents in underserved communities do not have to worry about exorbitant data charges from using the app."

Smart Kidz Club also uses Firebase Crashlytics to monitor application performance, and native tools like Remote Config and Cloud Messaging to power its leader boards and other gamification elements in real-time. The company uses several techniques to make its thousands of resources easily portable from app to app, while Firebase keeps all of its apps stable across iOS and Android mobile devices.

In addition, Smart Kidz Club is migrating its email systems away from a third-party service to a new platform that will write and deliver HTML designed email. The platform is being developed using Cloud Functions and Firebase. These emails further drive engagement and parental monitoring capabilities such as content usage that illustrates their child’s progress.

The new progress reports will be produced automatically by reading data from Firebase Realtime Database and inserting contextualized, user-specific information into a templated email.

"We are going to be saving a tremendous amount of money by using Firebase and Cloud Functions for our user emails," says Harjeet. "Compared to our legacy email service, we will also be able to further scale up our user base without incurring a lot of extra costs."

"We are just getting started with our Google EdTech partnership. With the power of Firebase and collaboration with Google EdTech, we can achieve some truly great things for young children around the world."

Surinder Sharma, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Smart Kidz Club

Expanding access to digital learning with more apps

Smart Kidz Club is working to scale its direct-to-consumer apps in addition to a classroom app that can be used by teachers. The company is also continuing to add content to its content library. It currently has thousands of resources for learners between the ages of one and eleven, and has seen 500,000 downloads of its app so far, with 400,000 in 2021 alone.

"We are committed to listening to our users and understanding what they want," says Surinder. "For example, we are currently studying how our apps can benefit kids with autism and how we can either modify the apps or create new ones to better serve children with autism. Targeting apps for specific segments of learners has been a big marker of success for us, such as through our work with ASL content."

Looking forward, Smart Kidz Club intends to strengthen its partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies focused on education, and Google for Education to further broaden the reach of its apps and help more learners by keeping costs low.

"We are just getting started with our Google EdTech partnership. EdTech and mobile technology are undoubtedly the future of education and can be impactful by way of its reach, accessibility, collaborative potential, and power to engage learners and empower teachers and parents. With the power of Firebase and collaboration with Google EdTech, we can achieve some truly great things for children around the world," says Surinder.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Smart Kidz Club

Smart Kidz Club offers exclusive educational content in a carefully curated digital library to provide children with access to narrated, illustrated ebooks, flash cards, play activities, quizzes and other materials. The company leverages EdTech research to guide its practices and maximize the impact of its content on young learners.

Industries: Education
Location: United States