There is a wealth of educational software out there, and every possible app store is filled to the brim with great classroom tools. With content that streamlines classroom management, supports learning objectives, and reinforces teaching methods, it’s a great time to be both a public educator and a student… if you can find the content, that is.
One of the many stumbling blocks to putting great tools into the hands of teachers and learners is discoverability. It’s hard to find great apps, and most are spread by word of mouth from one teacher to another; greater discovery is possible at teacher workshops and educational conferences, but it still takes letting teachers know about them before they can be implemented in the classroom.
Once a teacher stumbles across a fantastic tool, though, the real trouble begins: school system approval. Rightly so, schools are charged with protecting students online, but also with protecting their data. That means that getting approval to sign up all of your students with a new platform can be a painfully slow process, and can mean laborious effort by the system’s technology department. It’s not just a simple matter of inputting a first name and an email address when you’re talking about minors using state and federally funded technology.
One new service is streamlining that process, and even better, it’s free for schools to use. Clever, based in San Francisco, acts as a conduit between the school and the app platform, sharing only the information that the app needs for functionality and eliminating the need for a lone tech employee of the school system to manually input and approve each student’s account.
One of the current debates raging in the personal data and privacy sectors is the slack mishandling of student personal data, and Clever could potentially erase that threat. Schools only share with Clever what they want “out there,” and Clever shares it in the right format with each and every approved app. That means the school can simply post a complete hyperlinked list of apps on its website and all of the students’ pertinent information is already available to the app. At the same time, a teacher could potentially submit an app to her school system with a request to send it through Clever; the app developer would then agree to sign up with Clever and foot the nominal cost in exchange for having an entire grade level utilize their app–and a teacher telling all of her colleagues about this great new software. This can easily cut down on the user error that has resulted in the inadvertent data breaches and compromising of student identities online.