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Clever – Taking Education Technology Out of the Dark

Help­ing schools har­ness the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy to help them run more effi­cient­ly has so far proved a dif­fi­cult nut for tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies to crack. Until now.

While busi­ness­es across the Globe latch on to new tech­nol­o­gy, edu­ca­tion has been a lit­tle slow­er to catch on. In a bid to help improve things, new start-up Clever has entered the fray and already has 2,000 schools signed up to its ser­vices. If you’re look­ing for media job, it might just pay to be Clever.

Add to that the fact that the com­pa­ny believes it’s one of the first K‑12 start-ups to be accept­ed onto Y‑Combinator and it seems they may be onto something.

Edu­ca­tion – Slow to Innovate?

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, the prob­lem with the edu­ca­tion mar­ket has been that tech com­pa­nies were unable to access data on stu­dent atten­dance and grades. Because of this they haven’t been able to devel­op tech­nol­o­gy that can assist schools in run­ning their oper­a­tions more effectively.

Impor­tant data that’s been stored away in Stu­dent Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems (SIS) has been seri­ous­ly off lim­its, and as a result, inno­va­tion and advance­ment has suf­fered. This has caused some seri­ous prob­lems for schools as the rest of the World embraces 21st Cen­tu­ry tech­nol­o­gy and races ahead.

Why is Clever Different?

Many start-ups have attempt­ed to tap into the edu­ca­tion sec­tor and failed, but where Clever is dif­fer­ent is that it has devised a way to work with schools to help them access tru­ly use­ful solutions.

Rather than devel­op tech­nol­o­gy they hope will work with­in exist­ing sys­tems, Clever have got the schools on board, it’s got devel­op­er buy-in and by intro­duc­ing the two it’s hop­ing sweet music will be made.

“Mov­ing and man­ag­ing data is one of the biggest things hold­ing edu­ca­tion back today,” said Clever co-founder Tyler Bos­me­ny. The company’s trac­tion, he said, shows how bad­ly devel­op­ers and edu­ca­tors need tools that inte­grate and nor­mal­ize stu­dent data.”

Any­one look­ing for a job in the media indus­tries would be wise to watch what hap­pens with Clever as it seems to be  a com­pa­ny that’s going places.

Mon­e­tiz­ing the Clever Offer

Some of the schools cur­rent­ly work­ing with Clever include big char­ter net­work schools includ­ing KIPP, Aspire and Green Dot, although it says around 50% of its schools are based in tra­di­tion­al dis­tricts. It charges 30 soft­ware com­pa­nies, such as Sokikom, Mas­tery Con­nect and Ten­Marks for access to its API so that the soft­ware com­pa­nies can process edu­ca­tion­al data and in turn charge the school dis­tricts for their services.

Accord­ing to Bos­me­ny, the num­ber one gripe with devel­op­ers is the cost asso­ci­at­ed with mov­ing data, and it’s the biggest com­plaint from teach­ers about pre­vi­ous prod­ucts. When soft­ware goes out of date rapid­ly, teach­ers get cranky, but with Clever the prod­ucts are auto­mat­i­cal­ly updat­ed, mean­ing that work­ing with out-of-date prod­ucts is no longer an issue. And what’s more, devel­op­ers get clean data from the school.

Clever claim the ben­e­fits of their ser­vice are two-fold. They say they can shrink sup­port costs by 50%, and they can get prod­ucts into schools and installed in min­utes. What’s not to love?

“We real­ly want to show that edu­ca­tion can be a valu­able busi­ness if you approach it the right way,” said Bos­me­ny. “We hope we can take away the bar­ri­er and prove that edu­ca­tion is a real mar­ket and there’s a lot of room for inno­va­tion in this space.”

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