What would you say if I told you we can now teach, using a platform of Virtual Classrooms to add a new dimension and meaning to multi-sensory learning?

For many years we’ve promoted multi-sensory learning in the field of Dyslexia. We’ve also talked about anxiety related to learning, for individuals of all ages. The team at Einstein Studios have now launched a new virtual classroom learning experience, for learners of all ages.  It allows tutors to bring a new dimension to learning, by creating avatars in a virtual world, with access to an interactive whiteboard, learning tools to post learning all around the 3D world and direct access to websites, to enable tutors to demonstrate learning on the web or simply connect to your favourite learning platform, for me this is Bitpaper.  As if that isn’t enough, you can also use the webcam and mic facility to communicate with your student.


This virtual world of learning will be called Koala. Learn more about Koala here.

As a child of the 1970s, I have never really played computer games other than once or twice trying Pacman. I’ve certainly never tried Minecraft!  I know the team at Einstein studios were keen to make the tools easy to use for the, ‘not so tech savvy’ and younger students, as well as the millennium kids who seem to have been able to operate a tablet since they were toddlers! I have to say, it is pretty intuitive and I’m sure the younger students will have no problem using it. In fact, I dare say they’ll find new things and show the teacher a few tricks and hacks!

After the initial download, I was able to pretty quickly work out how to use the tools, without any support from a teenager. I’m quite proud of my achievements considering I have never tried anything more that Pacman or Atari Space Invaders in the early 80s!!!

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to speak with one of the developers, Xavier Lesage from Einstein Studios and he kindly chatted to me about the launch of what’s now been called ‘Koala’.  As a result, I became one of the beta testers for the virtual learning platform ‘Koala’. I had a chance to feedback to the developers regarding how students are taught, what aspects/tools I would like to see and what features could help learning too.  I understand this is just the beginning of a very exciting development and over time, will evolve further, as teachers give the developers more feedback on the tools they’d like to see.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, I know I was lucky enough to be able to respond and move my tutoring online, quickly, as I had already started to explore working with students across the UK and internationally.  Once the realisation came that we would not be able to teach face to face, there was a huge surge in the need for online tuition. Families quickly adapted to working online and the younger students found they had developed some excellent IT skills. I feel this pandemic has seen a huge shift towards accepting online working and learning as a new norm.  I consider Koala will only add to the benefits of online tuition, making learning more appealing and engaging to students of all ages.

I’m so excited to be one of the world’s first beta testers of ‘koala’.  I’ve chatted to some of my students, both children and adults, about the fantastic opportunity to test ‘koala’. Their response has been ‘Cool’ and ‘Amazing!” and from an educator’s perspective, I can see just how amazing this will be. It’ll be a great new learning support platform for those who are not comfortable with 1:1 teaching or perhaps have anxiety related to learning.  Koala will be a virtual classroom learning platform and as a tutor, I’ll be able to individualise the learning experience for my students with Dyslexia, or any other learning difference, which is fantastic.

I chatted to Xavier about Koala…

Can you tell me more about what Koala is?
Koala is a virtual classroom for teachers and students to connect remotely. It’s halfway between Minecraft and Zoom.
It allows a teacher and either individual or several students to do almost everything they could do in a real classroom but from home, on their computer or tablet.


Will the images be classroom based or different settings?

We’ve been working hard with our team of talented 3D artists to make a classroom that feels homey, comfortable and that does not feel like a classroom. 
Our aim here is to avoid causing anxiety to the students. Anxiety is the enemy of learning. On the other hand when students have fun learning, they’re unstoppable.

What will the avatar characters look like and will they appeal to adult learners?

There’s 1.5 billion kids who can’t go to school right now because of the pandemic. We are focusing on them initially with cartoonish avatars that we designed to match their taste. But I’m sure the adult learners won’t mind riding on a flying carpet, will they?

Will the tool bars and operation system be simple for younger students and those with not too much experience?

I surely hope so and you’re right on point, ease of use will be our #1 challenge with Koala. We must build a product which appeals to younger generations, while still being accessible to some of the teachers who may be less tech-savvy.
And the best way to know if a new product is easy to use is to put it in the hands of users and watch them so, that’s what we’ve been doing over the summer.

What other key feature will ‘Koala’ have that will be great for teachers like myself, delivering online tuition?

You’ll be able to customize your classroom, decorate it to your taste, save the state of the class, share documents, annotate them and have an interactive whiteboard.
Personally, I really like the the sticky notes that can be popped anywhere on the virtual 3D classroom and moved with just a click of a button You can easily add text and colour to them. It’s a great way to make a really easy word sorting game, with the same pattern for example.

You’ve told me a little about yourself and I know you worked for Apple.  Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your passion for creating this learning platform?

I grew up in Paris, France. I was extremely lucky to have access to a quality education. I then moved to California in 2011 and still live here today.  Indeed, I met my co-founder Ben at Apple. He and I are strong believers that education is 100x more effective when it’s COLLABORATIVE, INTERACTIVE AND FUN. And that’s how Koala was born.

How long has ‘koala’ taken to develop?

20 months. And we’re only getting started. Once you put a product in the hands of your users they will tell us how to make it better and it will take several years to build the perfect product.

When will ‘Koala’ be available to the public?

We’re aiming for a public launch on September 1st 2020.

Who will be able to buy it?

Everyone who’s tired of doing classes on video conferences: Teachers, Students, Tutors, Schools…The best news…it’s FREE to use.
If you’re a tutor who works with a group of students, you can also add up to 4 people in the classroom at once.
Koala also has an easy guide of how to use the virtual classroom platform and you can find it HERE.
As a tutor, I really like Koala, I also like the fact Einstein Studios are just at the start of their journey and very much proactive and responsive to their audience of teachers and students, listening to their ideas, to enable them to take Koala to new dimensions of learning. Go and give it a try!