Edtech vendors and products are not in short supply in 2019. But reliable information on their use can be hard to come by. Clever, a San Francisco-based edtech company with numerous products, thinks they struck a solution with Clever Library, an online catalogue containing hundreds of tools, products, and courseware offerings for classroom use. On June 24th, they announced that 250,000 teachers had put it to use since launching one year ago. According to the company, these teachers have created over 9 million student accounts.
Clever Library is organized as follows: the company partners with other edtech developers, who provide access to their product via the online catalogue. Teachers and students can then gain access to these with a single sign on via the Clever portal. The library also contains reviews from other teachers and users, links to write ups from the press, and other information. In turn, administrators can also see which apps are being used.
As 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, Clare Trumble, said in a news release, “I just get so excited browsing on the Clever Library and looking at all the cool things that I can suggest to my students as resources, either to use for current projects or projects down the road.”
Clever Library includes offerings from supplemental courseware in core subject areas to classroom management, IT, intervention, and communication offerings.
Reliable Info on Edtech Products Is in Short Supply
Existing research on K-12 edtech classroom deployment suggests that many teachers see a lot of potential in these products and are generally willing to adopt without vetted information. A working group in 2017 surveyed 515 K-12 stakeholders (teachers, administrators, and tech supervisors) about how they make decisions about technology. It found that roughly 90% of respondents were willing to adopt a new product or service without peer-reviewed research.
The peer reviews included in Clever Library are not peer-reviewed research, but they do provide an extra source of info.
To be fair to edtech vendors, many also report a disconnect between their own capabilities and knowing what teachers need. A 2014 study by Digital Promise found that only 4% of edtech vendors were happy with how the procurement processes at schools go down.
As the report says, “They’re concerned about gaining visibility in a crowded market, limited information on what teachers need and how districts do business, a fragmented procurement policy environment that is different from district to district, and lengthy timelines for purchases, among other things.”
Clever Library May not Be Peer-Reviewed, But It Contains Reviews from Peers
The library itself is currently only open to districts that have partnered with Clever.
“The Library enables us to see what apps teachers are choosing to use in the classroom. It also provides the district a place to add comments or tutorials on how some apps can specifically be used in the classroom to support instruction,” says Diane Mustone Hauser, Senior Program Director of Digital Access for Boston Public Schools, in a statement. “This visibility and control have been a great benefit to us.”
“Teachers signing up using Clever are more engaged with our online assessment tools than those who sign up manually,” said Aditya Agarkar, co-founder of Edulastic, in a statement. “Even more exciting though is the fact that many schools and districts have adopted Edulastic after their teachers first signed up through the Clever Library.”
Certain companies have begun looking beyond developing edtech products themselves to connecting businesses, institutions, and other third parties with the product most suited to them. OpenSesame, for example, announced they had secured a $28 million equity round at the end of May. The Portland-based company serves as an eLearning marketplace, but also helps direct buyers based on their needs.
Featured Image: Randall Bruder, Unsplash.