Steven Krum is the vice-president of business development at Learnosity, which develops technology to power assessment within teaching and learning companies around the globe. He believes that technological advances are the key to enriching this industry and many others, and that children should be given the chance to develop these skills in order to be equipped for the future.
We talked to Steven to talk about his role at Learnosity, as well as his thoughts on how technology could shape the future.
Tell us about your journey to Learnosity?
I’ve been working at Learnosity for 15 or 16 months now. Since I joined, we have grown from 35 to 75 employees. We are an international company, our headquarters are in Dublin and we also have offices in New York, L.A, and Sydney. I’m 1 of 4 employees that were born and raised in America, the rest of the company has international roots - I think we have over 20 different nationalities.
Before that, I was at Blackboard for 10 years. I had a lot of different roles and it was great.
Blackboard was an exciting place to be. In my time there, we grew from 450 to 4500 employees and after a while I missed the feeling of the smaller company. That’s when Learnosity came into the story.
How was the transition to Learnosity?
It was a nice change! The technology was really awesome. The fact that we were doing new and innovative things was attractive to me. It is a small yet very driven company making a big impact in the education sector. Plus their growing mentality is really great; it’s about problem-solving and improvisation, which helps to keep motivation and the general morale up.
Tell us more about the work you do with Learnosity.
Learnosity is 110% focused on assessment - the authoring, the delivery and the analytics. We realize assessment has to be dynamic and interactive and cannot be flat. We also know that delivering assessment at scale is really challenging. At Learnosity, we want to solve these problems and propel the entire ed-tech space forward. We’re doing this by empowering any company to add great assessment capabilities to their solution. Our offering is pretty unique in the edtech space as it’s specifically designed to be part of a bigger learning product. Leveraging Learnosity alleviates many of the difficult challenges that come with assessment and this frees up our clients to focus on the core differentiators of their product offering while simultaneously reducing development costs and increasing speed to market.
The value of what we do is high: we’ve done 90 million assessments in a single month! We work with clients from K12 through corporate. As technology changes dramatically, our clients needs change and we must quickly adapt to address those needs. Our speed of innovation is pretty amazing.
We can make Learnosity whatever our customer wants it to be - think of us as a set of building blocks which can be put together in any number of ways. We want teachers to know when kids are, and often more importantly, aren’t on track, and we want our technology to alert them of this. That’s the type of thing we can do thanks to technology.
Why is it important for kids to learn code and other digital skills?
Something I heard at a conference I attended recently is that kids who are currently enrolled in kindergarten to grade 5 will, when they grow up, have jobs that don’t exist today. Personally, I don’t know how to code. I grew up with a Nokia phone, not a smartphone! It’s astonishing the number of mobile phone application developers roles that exist now which didn’t exist even 10 years ago. This speaks to that point about jobs not existing yet. We’re living it.
What’s different now is that kids really seem to appreciate the aesthetics of technology. They pay close attention to the user interface and user experience. Their demands from technology and the actual technology they interact with will continue to shift, hence why it is important to stay ahead of the curve and up-to-date on the latest and greatest technologies.
Can you tell us a bit more about this? Why is it important for entrepreneurs and startups?
Hatch and Learnosity exist to move towards a common goal: to advance technology and opportunities in the education space. We are skilled at different aspects of the same goal. Similarly, for a developer to code every part of the process, they require different skillsets and points of view. This is why we need kids to learn about coding.
Steve Jobs really made a difference in redefining user experience, and in doing this demonstrated how important the interface can be. This is where the mentality is heading, and programs that are teaching kids to code are the underlying foundations we need to create new opportunities. It’s very exciting to think about what we can create in the future.
What is the parent’s role in supporting kids who want to learn to code?
If I were to do it again, I would hope that I would have the drive to learn how to do computer programming. It’s a highly advantageous skill to have. It’s definitely something I’d like to give to my kids, but their interest has to be there.
The end game is to give young people all that they need to succeed and help solve more problems! A lot of parents might say that they might not really know what their kids are doing online, but they know it’s important. The more restrictions you put on young people about technology, the less they will learn about ethical and appropriate use.
You can only control kids when they are in front of you, and even then, they are still going to be who they are. It’s essential, as a parent, to give them the moderation, education and parenting so that they can make good decisions!
This was a great conversation and we’re so glad to have had the chance to share these thoughts! Thanks, Steven, for taking the time to answer our questions.
Hatch offers more than just teaching code. At Hatch, your children will see a new world opened to them, and learn about different opportunities for their future. Learn more about camps, weekly classes and after-school programs. Sign-up today!