Startup Clever Tackles the Data Entry Monster

Does anyone actually like data entry? It is possible, though not very likely, that there are some people out there who derive a special thrill from populating spreadsheets, but chances are education software developers are not among them. They’re computer geeks, they want things to work for them, not against them!

Schools gather veritable mountains of data on students, all of which are the bread and butter of educational software and app developers. There are class lists, rosters, attendance sheets, assignment grades, class grades, and even finer data points about particular students such as allergies, medications or other special needs. Developers need to know their audiences, and the data is the way to that information.

The problem is that there are far too many different Student Information Systems, or software developed to manage all the data. There is no single SIS in place that would serve the data-gathering process from American schools.

So, hot new startups will come along boasting  innovative ways of managing data, but are often unable to market their product to multiple customers because they’re not able to interact with all of the Student Information Systems that exist.

Here is where Clever, a San Francisco-based startup wants to make a difference. Yesterday the company launched an infrastructure using API, or application programming interface, that aims to bring all the various Student Information Systems under control to significantly lessen the data-entry time for education software developers.

Clever’s website boasts a mission statement: “We believe that data should empower learning, not hold it back. With unique experiences in education and technology, the Clever team understands the data challenges that schools and developers face. Our mission is to make powerful educational software easy to build and easy to deploy.”

Clever’s team observes that there are over 100 different Student Information Systems in the US, and they want to get that under control. Their long-term goal is to cover them all. They are developing a single application programming interface so that once schools give them the green light, software developers can quickly mine the data for their apps and products.

TechCrunch reported that the team is making great progress. At the beginning of this month, Clever had integrated with four different Student Information Systems, and now they’ve got 70 under their belt.

This all comes down to promoting easier access to the hard data that schools across the country gather on their students. Of course, Clever will need to make a profit in the process, so they’ll be charging developers to use their API. But what’s easier? Paying a bill or wasting time that would otherwise be spent developing excellent educational apps on tedious data entry? Clever takes on the hard work so that software developers and ultimately educators don’t have to. With the myriad of Student Information Systems hindering all kinds of progress in the educational technology field, Clever aims to bring order to the chaos.