Industry

Polish startup launches cloud-based e-textbook platform

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wpid-thumbnail-7fdd6ca2a59792763575efef8d136b161-500x342In 2012 when Poland launched its “Digital School” initiative, one goal was to make e-textbooks and other educational resources, such as interactive maps, films, and audiobooks, available to teachers and students in K-12 schools on an online platform.

The problem at the time, though, was that publishing houses hadn’t adopted a common e-learning platform or standardized their approach for creating digital educational materials.

Times have changed

Wydawnictwa Cyfrowe LLC., a leading digital services provider based in Gdańsk, Poland, specializes in educational e-textbooks and recently developed an innovative e-textbook platform called podrecznik.edu.pl. The platform, which uses a software as a service (SaaS) model, is hosted on a SoftLayer cloud infrastructure.

Marcin Strzalkowski, co-founder of Wydawnictwa Cyfrowe, describes the e-learning landscape: “Today, social networks and mobile devices pose a great challenge for publishers of traditional textbooks. The next-generation approach provides a learning platform for students and teachers who can work with a variety of educational materials. This requires a secure cloud computing service which we are delivering with IBM.”

In addition to advanced security to help protect the data of K-12 students and teachers, scalability and accessibility were critical cloud criteria for the e-textbookplatform.

“Scalability is extremely important,” says Strzalkowski. “Initially, we’ll serve textbooks to a couple of thousand students but, within the next 18 months, we’ll serve probably tens of thousands of students and maybe even 50,000.”

By deploying the Podrecznik.edu.pl platform on SoftLayer technology, publishers can distribute and sell e-textbooks easily and convert traditional textbooks into digital materials meeting standards set forth by the Polish Ministry of National Education. What’s more, by making lessons plans available on the cloud, teachers and students can access the material from virtually anywhere and on various devices, facilitating learning.

When it was ready to launch the platform, Wydawnictwa Cyfrowe collaborated with IBM to organize a press conference, create a YouTube video, and promote the solution on social media outlets.

Strzalkowski recalls, “We ran some PR activities together which helped us kick off this project—activities that probably no other cloud company could provide. The IBM team here in Poland was extremely, extremely helpful. That was the final decision point for us.”

Read the client story here.

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