Q&A with Franklyn Chien, co-founder of LearnSprout

Franklyn Chien, co-founder at LearnSprout, a San Francisco based education technology company that aims to help bring educational institutions up-to-speed with ‘modern’ technology, recently took the time to lend us his insights into the education technology industry.

Mr. Chien discussed the biggest ed-tech trend, greatest obstacle in adopting technology in education, and the future of the industry. Check out the Q&A below.

ET: What is the biggest trend in education technology that we should be watching?

FC: Sorry, I have to go with 3 really interesting trends: data interoperability,  application distribution, and data driven applications.

ET: If you could provide students nationwide with one education technology product, what would it be?

FC: iPad 3 with full connectivity and full administrator rights to install any education application.

ET: What do you think are the biggest obstacles in adopting technology in the education space?

FC: I could go on about this all day.  I think it depends if this is a school or district wide implementation or just a single classroom level.  If it’s a school/district then definitely the long sales cycle (RFP, review, pilot, etc.) and then the huge problem of data integration (which we aim to solve).  Then there’s training and on boarding of the tech to teachers and the classrooms.

ET: Name three companies to watch in 2012.

FC: I’m a little biased here and I want to say us but I’ll go with: Edmodo, SLC (if the gates foundation counts), and Khan Academy.

ET: How do you feel Blackboard’s recent purchases of both Moodlerooms and NetSpot will affect the education industry?

FC: So far I’m neutral. It depends on what Blackboard does with Moodlerooms and NetSpot. If they shut it down and don’t implement it in their own software, then I’ll view it as very negative but if they incorporate a lot of the tech and ideas into Blackboard then it might be actually a good.  Overall, I’ll be neutral until they do something with it.

ET: Where do you see education technology going in the next 5 years?

FC: Personalized, individualized, data driven applications that are aligned to a common core and using data that can be interoperable with any system.

Big thanks to Mr. Chien for his contribution!