Devineni, edPal team addressing virtual learning challenges


Lilly Gorman

Coppell High School senior Anish Devineni and the rest of the team created the edPal program, a resource for virtual students. After a hectic year, this resource will help students navigate through these difficulties by making learning more motivating, accessible and centralized.

Drishti Gupta, Staff Writer

The loud noise of the computer fan, the overwhelming number of tabs on the screen and the vigorous clicking across several platforms and tabs is the experience many Coppell ISD students have to grapple with as virtual learning becomes more and more prevalent. 

Since schools closed in March, students have spent more time navigating through the world of virtual learning. With virtual learning, however, come several challenges including lack of motivation, decentralization of schoolwork across multiple platforms and unproductivity. To address these problems, a team of six members across the world constructed a program known as edPal

The edPal program is a centralized, all-in-one encompassing learning platform which integrates features from other learning management systems including Schoology, Blackboard, Google Classroom and Canvas. 

The edPal team first met at the GATSVI venture challenge, in which they developed the idea to pitch it to investors. 

“We all thought of problems that we were currently facing, and all of us were going through this new experience of e-learning,” said Coppell High School senior Anish Devineni, edPal Chief Technical Officer (CTO. “We developed our pitch and eventually we got to pitch it to investors through the program. Through that challenge, we won third place and received about $3,100.”

As the team continues to develop its prototype, which it hopes to launch for feedback by mid-December, it is incorporating several features, such as an e-binder and a timeboxing function to help edPal serve as an effective productivity tool. 

The e-binder is the main feature the team is working on which allows students to organize their work based on due dates, relevance and their own personal preferences. 

“It looks like a binder, but virtual,” Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology senior in Alexandria, Va. and edPal CEO Adit Pareek said. “You can click on tabs and go into subtabs. We’ve seen that, visually, if it looks like a binder, it gets you into that school-mindset. Also, if we can have an online binder, it reduces the need to buy those big, heavy three inch binders.”

In addition to eBinder, the team is incorporating an interactive, entertaining aspect in the program to allow students to get help from other students in the United States. For example, edPal hopes to create a competition-like game feature in their product to see who can rack up the most points.  

“We plan to add gamified features to improve people’s motivation, sort of like a Reddit-type forum where you can communicate with other students across the country,” Devineni said. “We want to do this in a gamified way so it’s incentivized for students to use the product and organize their daily tasks.”

Currently, edPal integrates the application programming interface (APIs) of other learning management platforms and combines them.  However, in the future, the team hopes to become their own learning platform rather than borrowing from other softwares. They also have future aspirations for what they want their edPal program to become. 

“Once some of our early users move onto college, we want to adapt [the program] to the college environment,” Pareek said. “Some of the other features that might be important to some people would be the ability to archive classes and to search courses and classes.” 

Beyond the college audience, the edPal team is also interested in professional offices adopting the program.

“Eventually, once we capture the student market, we’d also be interested in moving into the professional workspace,” Devineni said. 

Although the team primarily works by themselves, they receive advice from other mentors, including parents. Specifically, IT specialist and Anish’s father Srinivas Devineni has provided advice to encourage and shape edPal’s development. 

“One of the things I was telling [Anish] is that whenever you create software products, you can start off very easily with the concept [but] as you progress, either you lose interest, don’t have enough backing or it fades away slowly,” Mr. Devineni said.  “So, being persistent and consistent and believing in your idea and the product is very important.”

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