Q&A with Eric Simons, founder & CEO of Claco
Claco is a free lesson planning, building, and storing site built with a special emphasis on collaboration that aims to save teachers tons of time and headaches. Launched just this past Wednesday, Claco is the brainchild of a few friends who dropped out of college to build it.
Claco founder and CEO Eric Simons recently took the time to lend us his insights on the ed-tech industry. You might remember Eric as the uber dedicated ed-trepreneur who, upon the end of his time in the inaugural class of Silicon Valley education incubator Imagine K-12, started living out of AOL’s headquarters and stayed there for several months while working on his original startup ClassConnect until he was finally busted by a security guard.
Eric told us what ed-tech product he thinks all students should have (the answer might surprise you), his big three companies to watch, and where he feels the education technology industry is going. Check out our Q&A below.
If you could provide students nationwide with one education technology product, what would it be?
A laptop. There’s a lot of exciting things happening with tablets/smartphones right now, but the possibilities of the laptop far surpass what tablets can do (for now at least). A few good examples are content creation, coding, etc.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles in adopting technology in the education space?
I think the biggest obstacle is time. Teachers just don’t have the time to invest in new products. The exception is if a product is saving them a considerable amount of time, but most tools only provide a marginal time save & value add.
Name three companies to watch in the next 12 months.
Other than Claco (of course :), there are a few guys I really like. Educreations is great – Chris and Wade are building an awesome product that has huge potential. Another is TeachBoost – they’re seeing great traction and their product is way better than anything else out there. Finally, Desmos – I think displacing hardware graphing calculators with web based software is a fantastic idea.
What is the biggest trend in education technology that we should be watching?
The shift from physical static resources to relevant/engaging digital resources. This really is a huge deal. Any company that doesn’t jump in now is going to regret it 5 – 10 years from now.
Where do you see education technology going in the next 5 years?
I think that there are going to be a few key breakout companies that completely change the game, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.