Ed-Tech Profiles – Luke Saunders

This article is the first in a series on some of Ireland’s key players or emerging names in Education Technology, starting with Luke Saunders, co-founder of Studyclix.

In this article, I chat with Luke Saunders, the co-founder of Studyclix, to gain some insight into his own teaching background, discuss the evolution of Studyclix, the motivation behind the recent launch of Studyclix Boost and his views on Leaving Cert reform.

Studyclix has quickly established itself as an essential tool for both teachers and students in Ireland, as they prepare for their Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate exams. Built by teachers for teachers, and their students, Studyclix makes studying and teaching easier by breaking each subject down into bite-size topics. For each topic, past exam questions, marking schemes, video solutions, quizzes and lots of really good resources and tools are provided to enrich the teaching and learning experience. 

Luke began his teaching career in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, as a teacher of Science, Biology, Ag Science, Geography and Maths; The decision to move west was motivated heavily by his interest in surfing. 

“When I began teaching, I could not believe how little the classroom had changed since I had been a student myself. Despite the fact that the internet had changed the way we shopped, the way we book flights, the way we taught and learn had not changed much at all. Within the first month of doing my teaching practice I saw the potential for technology to help many of the pain points both myself as a teacher and my students shared. “

This realisation laid the foundation for Studyclix, a platform designed to simplify studying and teaching. He reflects on those early days:

“In the early days, we didn’t view Studyclix as a for-profit business. We looked at it more as a fun project to see if we could build something that people would actually use. With more than a quarter of a million users, I think we have proved that after all these years!” 

What started as a fun experiment quickly evolved into a platform with over a quarter of a million users, prompting the formation of a dedicated team to support its growth. The Studyclix team is a diverse group, including developers, designers, customer support, and content creators. Studyclix’s reach extends beyond Ireland to Australia and South Africa, highlighting the common challenges faced by students and teachers globally.

“A lot of our latest additions to the site, such as flashcards, have come from suggestions from our own users,” notes Luke, emphasising the collaborative nature of Studyclix’s development.

A recent addition to Studyclix is Studyclix Boost, focuses on providing even more detailed and taregtted resources for Junior Cycle and Leaving Cert Maths, as well as Leaving Cert Biology. It aims to enhance learning by breaking down topics into subtopics and providing interactive notes and short videos created in collaboration with experienced teachers. 

“Studyclix Boost is something I am really proud of. It’s a powerful teaching tool. Boost breaks down each topic into smaller subtopics e.g. The Nitrogen Cycle within Ecology. We have then worked with some of the best teachers out there, as voted by students, to make a series of interactive notes and short 3 minute videos on the sub-topic. Students are increasingly turning to video when they want to understand difficult concepts; the problem with sites like YouTube is that often the videos available are not fully relevant to the Irish syllabus.”

Despite Studyclix currently occupying Luke’s full-time attention, his love for teaching Science keeps him open to the possibility of returning to the classroom. Reflecting on the success of Studyclix, Luke finds satisfaction in meeting users during events and conferences, witnessing their genuine appreciation for the platform’s support during the stressful exam preparation period.

“We have really ambitious plans for Studyclix. There are some amazing new features coming soon that I think teachers are going to love,” Luke shares, giving a glimpse into the platform’s future. A lot of the new features come from suggestions made directly to the Studyclix team.

“One of the advantages of growing the number of teachers and users using Studyclix means that it is very easy for us to survey our users. We regularly ask students and teachers what they think would improve Studyclix.”

Finally, I asked Luke about his view on curriculum reform.

“As a Maths teacher, I saw the introduction of Project Maths first hand. While it was by no means perfect, I feel it was an improvement on the previous syllabus and way of teaching Maths. I certainly welcome Leaving Cert reform; however, I feel the rise of AI means tools like Chat GPT will make giving written assignments very tricky indeed. As an Agricultural Science teacher, students were required to write a written project but then back it up with an oral interview. I think this mode of assessment will have a place in ensuring the authenticity of student work in the age of artificial intelligence.”

There is no doubt that Studyclix has cemented itself as a core element of the Irish education scene, making life easier for students and teachers. It’s wonderful to see its evolving, with elements like Boost sure to expand further, and growth into new countries also. It’s a true Irish education success story and Luke, and his team, are definitely Irish ed-tech heroes! 

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