PraxiLabs is an award-winning Egyptian tech business founded in 2016 by Khadija Elbedweihy, a fulfilment of a childhood dream as she has always been interested in technology particularly how it can be harnessed to promote education. Miss Elbedweihy has always been street ahead of her peers during her school days; at one point she became top of her class four years in a row. She then enrolled for a bachelor’s degree from the faculty of computers and information from the University of Cairo to expand her knowledge more on the ICTs.
The youngest academic
After the University of Cairo, she proceeded to study at the University of Sheffield where she graduated with a PhD in human-computer interaction and user experience. At the completion of her degree she took up a job as a lecturer becoming the youngest in the history of her faculty. PraxiLabs provides equal opportunity for students who pursue STEM education. This is achieved through 3D interactive virtual simulations of science labs that are accessible, usable and affordable for educational institutions and students alike. In addition, Elbedweihy says, PraxiLabs provides an immersive virtual laboratory experience and also enhances students’ grasp of content. It affords students an opportunity to learn at their own pace.
Significance of laboratories
Elbedweihy says PraxiLabs, which currently employs 30 people, was inspired by her academic family environment where she developed passion for computers and how they interface with humans. She says during her studies at Sheffield she realised the significance of laboratories and how experiments help to reinforce students’ understanding of certain key concepts. In addition, learners also get constant stimulation, motivation and engagement.
After some research, Elbedweihy noticed there were serious challenges experienced by both educational institutions and students when they rely on traditional laboratories. Some of these include safety hazards, high costs, ethical problems and limited access resulting in lack of interest and motivation from students. Although it was clearly a worrying challenge it also presented a gap that Elbedweihy felt needed to be exploited. As someone who is keen about STEM, she felt this would make a positive impact on education and also help create better opportunities and promote STEM education.
Elbedweihy says what makes PraxiLabs stands out from its competitors is the fact that it provides high levels of real time interactivity and resemblance similar to the real laboratories as well as adding multi-language support (Arabic in addition to English). Affordability is another key factor that works in their favour, for instance PraxiLabs is almost 20-30% cheaper than the top competitors.
Elbedweihy is full of praises for her four member team comprising: Essam ElSaadi as chief operating officer; Safiya Elbedweihy who is the chief security officer, Alaa Elbedweihy, the chief marketing officer and Alden Zecha, director of the board. She says she believes her team has the ability to get PraxiLabs to be the top platform for virtual STEM education.
Elbedwighy has also founded Skolera (https://skolera.com/), a similar project which is basically a user-oriented unified learning platform focusing on Education 4.0 pillars. It also aims to provide the best user experience for all stakeholders. As for her future plans Elbedweihy says she wants to make PraxilLabs the hub for virtual STEM education not only in Africa but around the world.