Skip to content

Caution: AFT Has Made a Deal with inBloom-like Clever

October 6, 2014

On October 3, 2014, EdWeek reported that Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), has announced AFT’s intention to “partner” with “ed-tech startup” Clever.

I first wrote about Clever in January 2014. Like inBloom, Clever is a “data cloud.” As such, Clever offers an inBloom-like means of accessing and sharing student data.

Uh, oh.

This info comes straight from the Clever Terms of Service:

School authorizes Clever to access student information, and shall facilitate a means for Clever to access the information in its SIS. Clever shall access student information for the purposes of providing software integration, an outsourced institutional function pursuant to FERPA 34 CFR Part 99.31(a)(1). …

School may designate third parties who are authorized to securely access its student information via the Clever Application Programing Interface (the “API”). Clever shall not redisclose student information to third parties unless explicitly authorized by School. School may, at any time, revoke any third party’s access to student information by providing written notice to Clever. …

The Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (“COPPA”) requires that online service providers obtain clear and verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children under 13. School represents and warrants that it has the authority to provide consent on behalf of parents for Clever to collect information from students before allowing children under 13 to access our Service. We recommend that School provides appropriate disclosures to students and parents regarding School’s use of service providers such as Clever and that School provide a copy of our Privacy Policy to parents and guardians. [Emphasis added.]

Bill Fitzgerald of the Funnymonkey blog offers the following insights into the AFT-Clever business deal, including “implications” of Clever’s, AFT’s ShareMyLesson, and the Open Education Resources (OER) “collaboration.”

It is worth reposting here. Please read it carefully, including the “questions about the deal” at the end.

What Problems Get Solved by the AFT, Clever, and ShareMyLesson Collaboration?

On Friday, Benjamin Herold wrote a piece where he outlined the new collaboration between ShareMyLesson and Clever, and how the American Federation of Teachers is backing this collaboration. His piece also stated that connections with Clever could support OER creators. There were a few elements that seemed off in both the deal, and in how it was being described. This piece looks at Clever, ShareMyLesson, and OER, and breaks down some of the implications of the collaboration.

Clever

Clever collects data. Clever specifies ways in which they can share data. Clever can change terms of service at any point, with no notice, meaning that the terms you agree to today might not be the terms you operate under tomorrow. Also, given that the purpose of Clever’s Unified Login is to streamline access to other apps, Clever creates a web of connections between different apps, and it is almost certain that each application has its own privacy policy and terms of service. So, even though Clever’s terms of service and privacy policies are less than ideal, users of Clever will be shuttled between apps with different terms of service. It’s unclear what notice, if any, end users have when they are shifting into activities governed under a different privacy policy. It’s comparable to apps on Facebook, where user data is protected largely at the discretion of the individual app developers.

It’s also worth noting that many aspects of Clever are very similar to inBloom, particularly in streamlining data that is pushed to student information systems. This EdSurge article from August, 2014, closes with the same conclusion:

“On Clever, when you have students working on half a dozen apps on engagement and performance, the teacher has to login to each to see how the students are doing on each individual app,” Krull notes. “At this point, the next step after customizing the platform for teachers and students is, how can the data from each app come back to a reporting panel?”

Bet that’s something we’ll see more clever solutions for soon.

Clever’s marketing department deserves a lot of credit for avoiding the same notice and backlash experienced by inBloom.

ShareMyLesson

The terms of ShareMyLesson have been baffling for a long time. I’ve gone into this in the past, and don’t have much new to add now except to note that the terms haven’t improved at all. It’s also worth highlighting that ShareMyLesson could mitigate many of the more obvious problems just by adding licensing options to the screens where members share resources. But currently, ShareMyLesson collects data on end users, claims control over user content and data, and their terms prohibit even basic reuse of content. There is a direct disconnect between the “pledge” on ShareMyLesson, and their terms.

OER

OER doesn’t need single sign on to succeed. Lack of access to OER isn’t the issue, and OER adoption has been on the rise in recent years for a range of (largely human/organizational, non-technical) reasons. Barriers to OER adoption include widespread use of formats that aren’t open or reusable, and misunderstanding around the rights granted via open licensing. In short, when we work with OER, train people on how to use OER, and build systems that support increased use and creation of OER, the barriers are largely human, and not technical.

If AFT had just partnered with CK12, they could have connected with a pre-existing OER community and organization, with a track record in K12, and a large body of resources that are licensed for reuse and increasingly Common Core aligned. AFT could have avoided the privacy issues of Clever, the privacy and licensing issues of ShareMyLesson, and could have gotten down to the business at hand: supporting their members as they teach.

Conclusions and Next Steps

However, both Clever and ShareMyLesson will get some immediate benefits.

Both Clever and ShareMyLesson will get another 1.6 million users. Note, these aren’t active users, but in VC-funded EdTech land, the size of your member base is an easy metric to show funders your “value.” And, while ShareMyLesson isn’t VC [venture capital] funded (to the best of my knowledge – please correct me if I’m wrong), getting another 1.6 million users provides justification and cover for any expense incurred in developing either the site or its resources. Additionally, the increased userbase and corresponding collection of user data makes ShareMyLesson more attractive to any potential buyers. And yes, according to the SML privacy policy user data gets transferred in a sale.

In addition, the AFT is doing some stellar marketing and outreach for Clever. I hope that Clever is paying the AFT a large sum to compensate AFT for marketing directly to teachers and schools on their behalf.

If I was a member of AFT, I’d have a lot of questions about this deal, but I’d start with these five:

  1. Has any of my personal information been shared with either Clever or ShareMyLesson? If yes, what information has been shared, and why?
    NOTE: I’m assuming that the answer to this question is “no”, but it bears asking.
  2. What are the financial details of this arrangement? Is AFT getting paid by Clever, is Clever getting paid by AFT, and/or is there any outside funding helping to subsidize this work?
  3. What data is collected on me by Clever, and by the different applications that Clever integrates?
  4. How can I review, modify, and delete the data collected on my by the Clever, ShareMyLesson, and other applications integrated via Clever? If there is no way for me to do this, how will AFT leadership guarantee the safety of my personal information, and of my site usage information for all apps accessed through Clever?
  5. Why is AFT leadership pushing and championing use of ShareMyLesson, a site that claims control over my work, and claims that my personal information is a business asset?

The responses to these five questions would shape any follow up. [Emphasis added.]

What is AFT gaining from its partnership with Clever– and what exactly is it selling to Clever in the process?

Time for AFT to clearly publicize the terms of this deal– financial and otherwise.

___________________________________________________________

Schneider is also author of the ed reform whistleblower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education

previti chronicle pic

33 Comments
  1. Puget Sound Parent permalink

    Great post, Mercedes. However, assuming this “Clever” entity gains its desired foothold in our schools and parents like myself have to deal with that horrific reality, what are the Five (or more) Questions we should be asking?

    I’d like to know and spread the word to my fellow PTA board members and other parents. Thanks!

    • As a parent, what questions do you have? I’d love to make sure they’re addressed in our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, or Security page.
      -Dan Carroll
      Co-founder, Clever

      • Question: what makes you think you can have access to my children’s data without my consent? My kids’ school does not act for me in this capacity-no permission from me!

    • concernedparentnj permalink

      What exactly does FERA compliant mean? Absolutely nothing. The school says, this company can access our data, now anyone can use it.

      What Clever is doing is actually much worse than inBloom in terms of data privacy. Schools are turning over all their (your kids) private data to any and all developers for a fee ($$$).

      Zero regulation and hopefully soon parents will stand up to 3rd party companies freely selling our kids data.

      You thought inBloom was bad? Guess what, clever gives your kids data to EVERYONE with a few bucks.

  2. Christine permalink

    Mercedes, wait, what?
    Parents just defeated in bloom and are still working on aspects of student privacy and data. Feeling very small against all the big $$$. The schemes just keep coming while we are busy trying to work and feed our kids and help them survive school.

    • Hi Christine,

      Cofounder of Clever here.

      Our mission is to empower students, teachers & parents when technology is used in the classroom. Right now, an incredible amount of class time is wasted on setting up and remembering usernames and passwords. We let students & teachers use a single account to get into great applications like ShareMyLesson, so they can focus on learning.

      I’d love to talk if you have additional questions about how this works.
      -Dan

      • Dave permalink

        Hi Dan,
        I’m an actual classroom teacher here working in the trenches. Nice to meet you. First, congrats on your business. I’m sure it is going to make you boatloads of money in the years to come, mainly from grants from the Gates Foundation among other. Rupert Murdoch will no doubt want to buy you out at some point, but that could be very profitable for you, too.

        As a practicing teacher, I must say on behalf of those who feel as I do (and we are legion), that we have had quite enough of the promise of tech companies reforming education and making our lives and our teaching easier. You don’t. Mostly, we view you and your dime-a-dozen tech companies as leeches who are just hanging on to suck whatever profit you can out of our already stretched too thin school (and state) budgets. We’d really appreciate it if you put your considerable intellectual talents to better use, say, by joining NASA or helping find a cure for cancer. Honestly, we got this. We are going to teach the heck out of our kids every year, and we don’t need any further technology updates to do it.

        You are right, however, and parents should realize this: an INCREDIBLE amount of precious learning time is flushed down the toilet because of computers, SMART Boards that don’t function correctly, software that freezes and hard drives that lock up, lost or missing passwords–the list goes on and on. Give me a black board, a piece of chalk, books and paper and I’ll turn ANYONE’s kid into a college-bound student. So will three million other educators … as long as you and other techies stay the heck out of our way. See, it’s our administration that’s the problem. They fall for the snake oil that you peddle, and they keep buying more (my district just sunk a 100 grand into a I-Ready, which now has my fifth graders matching letters to letter sounds like four year olds because of the score they got on the diagnostic. Crimony, what a mess! And now my students’ morale is low.

        Just please, Dan, get out of the business and save teachers the headache, and the inevitable battle that we’re going to wage and win against you like we did against inBloom.

      • Dan, your mission is to make boatloads of money. Teachers don’t need you. We’re not impressed.

  3. Not sure if Randi is making deals with the devil or if the devil is making deals with Randi.

    • Hi Christine,

      To me, this partnership is a no brainer! Teachers get easier access to free materials to help make their *incredibly challenging* job easier.

      Can you help me understand your perspective a little more?
      -Dan
      Cofounder, Clever

      • To you, yes, a no-brainer. To teachers an Oh No!

        What you folks don’t get is that schools, classrooms, teachers and kids are not there for you to monetize. For those of us who make teaching our life’s work, a classroom and the relationships among those in it is sacred. Teachers fight tooth and nail every day to keep holy childhood, safe from screens, commercialism and consumeritis. We’re not ceding that to you.

        Have you drunk so much reformer KoolAid that you actually think we’re stupid enough to believe that you want to help us with our *incredibly challenging* jobs?

      • Hi Christine,

        Thanks for your response.

        “Teachers fight tooth and nail every day to keep holy childhood, safe from screens, commercialism and consumeritis.”

        I agree 100% schools should be free from commercialism & consumeritis. I also agree that schools should be incredibly thoughtful about “screen time.” Electronic devices are powerful tools that can help students learn & people connect (just look at what we’re doing right now!) but need to be used with thought and moderation.

        I admire your questioning of the motives & intentions of companies in the education market (I’ve definitely seen some bad actors, myself). But I’d like to ask you to keep an open mind – I know many incredible people & companies throughout the education ecosystem who are also working tirelessly to help kids.

        Are there any companies in education that have earned your trust and respect? How did they do it?
        -Dan

  4. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    This from Politico, today.
    WHAT’S IN A PRIVACY PROMISE? Several big-name ed tech companies aren’t waiting for Congress to update federal privacy law – they’re moving to protect student data on their own by swearing not to sell it or use it to target advertising at students. The companies, including Microsoft, Amplify, Edmodo and more, are signing the Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy today. The pledge was hammered out over several months at the urging of Reps. Jared Polis and Luke Messer, who convened a meeting of technology executives and education officials to kick-start the process. The companies also promise to share information with parents, correct any errors – and extend those protections to all of the data they collect. Privacy advocates aren’t impressed. They say the pledge omits key protections. And the list of 13 signatories is missing some major names: Apple, Google, Khan Academy and Pearson, to name a few. Stephanie Simon reports: http://politi.co/10JCU5x

  5. Everyone has a price, it seems, and the enemy of public education must have found Randi Weingarten’s price, whatever it is—-for her to sell out the very teachers she’s supposed to be representing.

    • Hi Lloyd,

      Randi is working hard to give teachers free & easy access to materials that help them do their job. No money is changing hands (from Clever -> AFT or AFT -> Clever).

      Can you help me understand your objection?

      Thanks,
      Dan
      Cofounder, Clever

      • Dan Carroll:

        Pardon my language, … but it isn’t important if you do or don’t.

        Before I went to college on the GI Bill, and then was a public school teacher for thirty years (1975-2005), I served in the U.S. Marines and fought in Vietnam. Before that, I was born to poverty with parents who both dropped out of high school at the age of 14. My dad actually spent time in jail as a teen for breaking and entering, and my older brother about 15 years in prison for a host of crimes.

        Growing up in poverty and then ending up teaching children who lived in poverty taught me one thing. It isn’t the material that’s going to teach these kids. It’s the teacher, and a well trained teacher can teach without materiel from someone in the private sector offering material that will make that company a profit and/or pay the CEO a hefty annual salary.

        In fact, the worst possible material was always the “crap” that was forced on teachers by administrators who had been convinced by someone working for a corporation that it would make a difference—and none of that junk ever did make a difference. I talk from experience.

        So, cut the crap, Mr. Carroll. You aren’t doing teachers a favor by offering them “what you think” is access to materials that will help them do their job while possibly gathering cradle to grave informatory on children to sell to the highest corporate bidder or making a profit for some hi-tech company that sells tablets or laptops or software.

        Will you deny that you plan to, or have an agenda, or have goals to gather information on children and sell it? If you answer is no, then please put that in writing and sign it with a promise that you will voluntarily go to prison for ten years or longer if you ever break that pledge. In addition, I want to pick the same prisons my brother served in. No white-collar criminal country club.

        A dedicated teacher can teach without material, because they will create their own like I did in my early years in the classroom when there wasn’t enough textbooks to go around, And guess what, with teacher created material, many of the children I worked with soared and continued to do well year after year. And most of the material I used for thirty years was generated by me.In fact, most of the dedicated teachers I know seldom used the “crap” that came from people who thought they knew what teachers needed to do their job.

        Why is it that teacher generated material works best? Easy answer: because the teacher who works with these at-risk kids usually knows what works best for their student population— that is, when the teacher can engage the students that often resist learning what’s taught.

        Of course, I used the stories in the literature textbooks, but most of the support material in those textbooks wasn’t suitable for the students I worked with. To be frank, I didn’t like most of the “crappy” lesson in those textbooks that others felt would help me do a better job as a teacher.

        This is where I want you to really pay attention. This is what teachers NEED most:

        FIRST: A national early childhood education program—-that is part of the public schools and not run by a private sector corporation out to make a profit or pay some CEO a six figure, or higher, annual salary—-that’s available to every family and/or child as early as age 2 and specifically for children who live in poverty.

        There’s a reason why the country needs a non-corporate, quality early childhood education program, and it is the fact that almost 24% of children in America grow up in poverty [more than any developed country]—-for that reason, teachers don’t need some “ignorant fool” [emphasis mine] to offer them material “that will help them do their job,” because material isn’t going to motivate a child who comes from a dysfunctional home or who is hungry or who lives in a community that’s ravaged by drugs and/or street gang violence similar to the schools where I taught for thirty years.

        SECOND: New teachers starting out should be offered the best training possible and that’s a full time, paid, year-long residency with a master teacher in that master teacher’s classroom—this is the program that trained me as a teacher, and it made all the difference—and this program must include at least one full-year of follow up support after those young teachers have a classroom of their own.

      • Hi Todd,

        First, thank you for your service to our country – abroad & in our classrooms. The least I can do is offer my appreciation & an open ear. (And I’d love to get meal in the Bay Area, if you’re interested – dan@clever.com)

        A few quick thoughts I’d love to share:
        *”Will you deny that you plan to, or have an agenda, or have goals to gather information on children and sell it?”*

        Clever does not, can not (under our Terms of Service), and will not gather information on children and sell it. Our mission is to help students learn & teachers teach by giving them easy access to great tools. Teachers & schools select these tools & Clever facilitates use – by letting them use one username/password for every application. We *never* and *will never* support advertising, marketing or any other use of data that doesn’t support student learning.

        *Teacher-created materials vs. district-provided materials*
        When I was teaching middle school science, I took quite a bit of heat for writing my own curriculum vs. using the one I was handed, so I totally understand where you’re coming from (I’m also the son of a lifelong public school teacher who has been honing her curriculum for 30+ years).

        I see great technology as a way to empower teachers and make their lives easier (I’m sure we agree that teachers could use more support). Our partnership with the AFT is a great example of this. The AFT’s site ShareMyLesson (http://www.sharemylesson.com/) lets teachers share and download teacher-created resources. I’d encourage you to consider sharing the resources you created when you were in the classroom, as I’m sure many educators could benefit! Clever’s role here is enabling teachers to log into ShareMyLesson, without having yet another username/password to remember.

        Clever also works with other kinds of apps that districts, schools, or teachers select. While I wouldn’t claim that all of these apps are perfect, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things happen when teachers are given easy access to high quality tools – especially more time for small group instruction and more chances for students to learn at their own pace with their preferred learning style. At Clever, we don’t tell teachers how to use technology – we just make sure that when teachers choose to use apps, it’s safe, secure & easy.

        *Policy thoughts*
        I agree with you *100%* that our country needs to invest more in ECE for low-income students and in rigorous teacher preparation for developing teachers. Those aren’t the issues we focus on at Clever (as we’re not a policy organization), but I personally support them however I can.

        Best,
        Dan

      • (Lloyd – Just realized that I got mixed up and referred to you as Todd. So sorry about that mistake!)

      • Thanks. I figured that out.

        You may actually believe what you say in defending Clever’s business model, but, you may want to read this post about Professor Daniel S. Katz on how to spot a fake grassroots reform group.

        If Clever is taking money from any of the oligarchs, foundations or corporation that are driving fake-education reform, then you are painted guilty by the same brush no matter what you think.

        You may actually, naively think that what you are creating is going to help teachers, but if you are taking money from the devil, the devil always wins, because the devil owns your flesh and soul when you take the devil’s money.

        http://dianeravitch.net/2014/10/08/daniel-s-katz-how-tospot-a-fake-grassroots-reform-group/

      • concernedparentnj permalink

        Hey Dan,

        You state “Clever does not, can not (under our Terms of Service), and will not gather information on children and sell it.”

        I was under the impression your whole model was to gather information on students from a SIS then sell it to 3rd party developers (or give away freely if they are non-profit)?

        I just found this document where it shows the type of data you don’t gather and “sell”.
        http://assets.clever.com/documents/clever-sftp.pdf

        studentids, usernames, passwords, dob, gender, race, IEP status, free and reduced lunch status, parent contact info, email and much more.

        So not only is my students and my data in the cloud but now available to any 3rd party developer and their cloud offerings?

        Great…

      • RE this comment:

        ——————-
        I just found this document where it shows the type of data you don’t gather and “sell”.

        http://assets.clever.com/documents/clever-sftp.pdf
        ——————-

        This is a pretty standard (and actually fairly small subset) of data that is collected in JUST ABOUT EVERY SIS USED ANYWHERE.

        Many of these SIS’s are cloud based – the ones that aren’t cloud based are probably stored in a district-controlled space, and the physical security can range from under the server guy’s desk to an actual server farm (which is really just a cloud computing facility, but owned by a district).

        If you are concerned about the data set, then you should be concerned about EVERY SIS OUT THERE. Period.

        And yes, I know I’m shouting. Sorry. Kind of.

        What should really raise flags is that these legacy SIS’s (and to be clear, the overwhelming majority – 90+ percent of schools use an SIS of some form) are passing data in CSV format. CSV stands for Comma Separated Values, which in turn means that (to speak generally) the data passed is passed in text format, with each value separated by a comma.

        For example, to pass last name, first name, gender in CSV format looks like:

        Fitzgerald, Bill, male

        But yes, all this data is sent VIA TEXT. Clever actually does this better than most by requiring that these files be sent via SFTP (or Secure FTP) so that the data is encrypted in transit. Many companies don’t even do that. But, the thing that should really be raising flags:

        SIS’s currently in use are regularly dumping student data as text files! This is horrible practice. It goes back over a decade. The fact that it continues in 2014 is inexcusable, and any SIS still doing this as a standard means of “data transport” should be mothballed.

        But these are really three separate issues:

        a. Cloud storage of data (which has been the norm for a while);
        b. Poor data handling practice (and this is applicable across cloud storage and local storage); and
        c. Consolidation of data from multiple sources, and who can access this consolidated data.

        These three issues often manifest together, but the more precise we can be about the nature of the problems we want to fix, the more effective we can be at fixing them.

      • concernedparentnj permalink

        @bill Great response but what does that have to do with Clever collecting data on students across the country and reselling access to that data without a parent’s consent?

        Were parents informed that yet another silicon valley startup is now harvesting my kids data to make a buck? Did I give Clever permission to resell my kid’s private data? No.

        Quick research on Clever reveals they are raising money, giving away their solution to schools for “free” but at what cost?

        http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/05/clever-10m-sequoia/

        Bottom line, Clever is not a SIS and they do not have my permission to distribute my kid’s data to the highest bidder.

      • Hello, @concernedparentnj –

        The tl;dr version: I largely agree with you.

        These are two related issues – my point is that there are multiple areas of concern. Clever, the company, reveals numerous other points of concern – and these points should ALL be addressed.

        The entire ecosystem of managing student data is flawed. It’s flawed by bad contracting – at the school, district, regional, and state level. It’s flawed by bad security practice (like dumping data as csv files) at the school, district, regional, and state level. It’s flawed by an incomplete understanding of the relative merits and issues with cloud storage versus local storage.It’s flawed by state and federal laws on privacy that were never adequate to start with, that have only gotten more inadequate over time. It’s flawed by arbitrary determinations at the federal level that muddy the waters about what is an “educational record” and therefore covered by FERPA, and what’s “metadata” and therefore outside FERPA’s purview. It’s flawed by vendors having privacy policies and terms of service that are hostile to end users (often teachers, students, and parents) and EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, TEACHERS, AND PARENTS CHOOSING TO USE THEM ANYWAYS.

        So yes, there are a range of issues, and they go far beyond any single company or organization. From what I have seen, the local school district is probably the most flexible place to apply pressure to get things done right. But I prefer to focus on improving the habits and practices that allow abuses of privacy to flourish. While the legal framework needs to change, if we wait for congress to act (I know – I just used “congress” and “act” together – hilarious) we’ll never get anything done.

        And, with all that said, this discussion of privacy still leaves a key point unexamined: students and parents should have the right to access, comment on, edit, and delete any data collected on them (balanced against the reasonable needs of any accountability reporting/transcripts). We are talking about *student* data, after all. Our current conversations around privacy position students as objects under observation, rather than informed agents with the power to chart a course that makes sense for them.

        The current paradigm of student as observed object is wrong from a privacy place, and it’s wrong from a pedagogical place.

      • concernedparentnj permalink

        @bill I agree with many of the issues you have mentioned. The big issue I have today is the major loopholes in FERPA that allows almost anyone to have access to any students data.

        Then companies like Clever resell the data. This private data is now being passed around to dozens of websites freely with virtually no security.

        If Target, Home Depot, Chase, Apple and other billion dollar organizations can’t keep your data safe, how will tiny ones do so?

        Last thing we need as parents is our kids data out on the web with social security numbers, addresses, genders, phone numbers emails, race, IEP status and much more ready to be used in not so educational ways.

        For every app that Clever has sold your kids data to, thats just another door for hackers to get access to it. Not to mention was this transaction was NOT authorized by me, the parent.

        Where is the registry that allows us to keep our kids data safe from unauthorized distribution? Sign me up.

        Maybe we need an OPT-IN to allow companies to get access to sensitive data.

        Until such time many of the security and policy issues have been addressed, passing around all this data is just asking for trouble, trouble I did not sign up for.

  6. See our press release about privacy pledge here: Parent Coalition for Student Privacy Not Satisfied with Tech Industry “pledge” http://www.studentprivacymatters.org/?p=263

  7. Harlan Underhill permalink

    Like Lloyd I’m interested in the pledge not to sell student data. What is your business model? To make your money off of selling Clever to school districts and off of apps wanting a spot in your interface. I developed all my own materials too, like Lloyd, though for a different population, but at least I always knew what the questions meant and what the answers were. The dream of accountably, reportability, and teachability all in one package sounds great but ultimately comes down to the brains behind the apps you integrate. If teachers become data managers to their students that doesn’t preclude the teacher taking responsibility for student learning nor does it preclude close personal relationships which is the sine qua non of the classroom, but Clever sounds like a way for school board to get away with hiring teachers who are not. So, my question: What is your business model? WHEN and HOW do you make money?

    • Hi Harlan,

      Thanks for asking a great question. Clever’s business model is pretty simple:

      + Schools – don’t pay
      + Organizations making free software for schools (like the AFT/ShareMyLesson) – don’t pay, it’s one small way we give back
      + Organizations making software and selling it to schools – pay Clever, based on the number of schools using their software

      Teachers, principals & district admins are the ones who decide what software they want to use. Clever makes the process of using software easier (i.e. no more usernames/passwords).

      Our job is to help teachers & students use great tools, without wasting class time on frustrations like forgotten passwords. This *helps* build close personal relationships (teachers using great apps spend less time lecturing & more time working 1:1 or in small groups), and *helps* teachers take responsibility for student learning (by giving them more options & support).

      If you find a school board citing Clever as a reason for hiring unqualified teachers, PLEASE let me know. I’ll be the first one in line to criticize them during public comment.

      -Dan

      (Please make sure to check my response to Todd – I addressed the question of his that you referenced)

      • Harlan Underhill permalink

        OK, Dan. I admire the way you are actually answering questions.

  8. Harlan Underhill permalink

    Another question—maybe I missed an earlier response. Has this platform had an field tests?

    • Hi Harlan,

      Clever has extensive testing in the field! We work with schools & applications across the country.
      -Dan

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. AFT making deals with Weingarten’s consent | Dolphin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: