5 minutes with...Charlie Harrington

Charlie Harrington is the Director of Business Development at Knewton and is responsible for Knewton's international expansion throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He took part in our '5 minutes with' interview below...

What was the last book you read?
‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir. Read it now. Your life may depend on it, if you ever get marooned on another planet.

How did you buy it?

And what did you read it on?
The Tube, my bed, and a flight to Norway. Finished it in three sittings.

What’s next on your reading list?
Current obsession is the Roman Empire. Next up are Robert Graves’s historical fictions ‘I, Claudius’ and ‘Claudius the God’ about the fourth emperor and his very nice, not-at-all-treacherous family. History is tiding me over until the next ‘Game of Thrones’ book.

Tell us what you/your company does in 20 words or fewer?
Education publishers use Knewton’s adaptive learning platform to build digital learning products that continuously adapt to each student’s unique needs.

What do you like about your job?
I work with a bunch of ‘Knerds’ building a technology platform to help improve education around the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to get to work every day.

The single biggest challenge facing the publishing industry right now is…?
It’s expensive and unscalable for an individual publisher to build a digital course or app that can continuously adapt to each student’s needs. At Knewton, we believe that all learning materials will use data to be personalized for each student, so all publishers need a strategy now to create adaptive products - that’s where Knewton comes in. We provide an adaptive learning engine that publishers can integrate into their digital learning products. Our team of data scientists, engineers, and teachers are building the world’s largest and most powerful adaptive learning infrastructure, and we’re here to help publishers deliver products with the greatest potential for improving student learning outcomes.

Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure
I can’t stop listening to Haim’s ‘Days Are Gone’ album. I’m not ashamed - I just feel guilty that I’m ignoring everything else on Spotify.

And your one from the world of fiction?
The ongoing, hilarious, and seriously educational Harry Potter fanfic called ‘Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.’ Check it out at www.hpmor.com! See if you can catch up before Chapter 102 gets released.

The thing I’m most looking forward to about London Book Fair 2014 is…?
At London Book Fair, I plan to catch up with Knewton’s existing publishing partners who already use Knewton’s API to create adaptive learning products. For example, Knewton has already partnered with two UK-based publishers—Cambridge University Press and Macmillan Education. I’m also looking forward to connecting with new faces and meeting more publishers across all grade levels and subject areas. We help publishers deliver differentiated instruction for students from preschool to higher education, adult learning, and corporate training. Knewton personalizes learning for subjects including math, sciences, reading, writing, business, language learning, and more.

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