Mar 18, 2015

Open Sourcing our Policies

Student Data privacy and security are our foremost responsibilities here at Clever. We invest heavily to ensure that we are improving privacy for schools, students, and teachers, and we make sure that everyone at Clever is constantly working towards this goal. About five months ago, we were made aware of aspects of our privacy policy that did not clearly and explicitly match our intentions. Our policy included a standard legal clause that allowed for changes to the policy without notification or consent from our schools. We didn’t intend to leave schools exposed in this way, but we knew that a…

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Sep 29, 2014

Clever and “Shellshock”

Clever’s Response to the “Shellshock” Security Issue Recently, a critical security issue was discovered and disclosed to the larger community. This issue, nicknamed Shellshock, could have allowed an attacker to take control of certain systems using specially crafted HTTP requests. The vulnerability came from a flaw in Bash, a tool used by the majority of Internet web servers, including some of Clever’s machines. Even though we had no reason to believe that any of our services were directly vulnerable, we immediately took action on Wednesday, September 24th to completely secure all of our systems. Our developers worked around the clock…

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Jul 23, 2014

Updates to the Developer Experience

Clever aims to deliver an amazing developer experience for our partners building off the Clever API. In the last few months we have rolled out our single sign-on solution, Instant Login; we have also focused on making it an incredibly simple experience for developers. There are few recent or upcoming changes that we want to share: Simpler developer environment We set up our developers with two applications: a development app and a production app. Previously, each of those apps had two sets of credentials. While this system was flexible, it was unnecessarily complex and confusing. Now, each application has a…

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May 14, 2014

Forget Passwords: Introducing Instant Login

In a previous blog post, we explored the pain of passwords in the classroom (just imagine getting a room full of second graders logged in to a website). Teachers lose countless hours to login problems, with 25% of online learning time lost. Today we’re excited to share a new solution to the password problem: Instant Login. How it works Instant Login offers students and teachers one-click access to learning software. They no longer need to keep track of multiple passwords. Students and teachers first sign into Clever using their existing school credentials. From Clever, they can click into any of…

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May 7, 2014

The Serverless School

Three years ago, I sat in a cramped data closet, sweating profusely and cursing at my servers. The combination of a heat wave and a power outage had turned one of my server closets into a sauna, frying the server hard drives inside. As the machines began restoring from backups and my teachers scrambled to remove technology from their lesson plans, I began to dream of a serverless school. In the past three years, the serverless school has gone from a dream to a reality. When I talk to tech directors opening up new schools this year, few even consider…

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May 1, 2014

Losing Class Time to Logins

The problem How many times do you reset a password each week? Anyone reading this post knows what a hassle it is to manage passwords for dozens of accounts. Teachers and students share the same pain, with dire consequences. If you’ve been a teacher, you know what it’s like to have those three students with their hands in the air, unable to log in, just as you’re finally ready to get kids started on the computers. A recent survey by MDR found that 25% of digital learning time is wasted on setup, troubleshooting, and logging in. One teacher writes, “Every…

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Apr 29, 2014

Three Questions for Tech Directors

Just a few years ago, I was a tech director trying to define my role and approach to education technology. Now, I get to work with and learn from incredible tech directors every day. The more I learn, the more I realize how often I focused on the wrong things as a tech director. Here are the questions I wish I had been focusing on. How do “IT” and “EdTech” work together in your district? “I just found out about some new application yesterday and they’re telling me it needs to be ready for students by the end of the…

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Apr 21, 2014

So you’re building an EdTech app? (An intro to data privacy)

Schools, districts, and EdTech vendors are faced with a challenge: providing personalized learning software while protecting student privacy.  With rapid changes in technology, EdTech vendors and school officials must spend time understanding the relevant laws and adopting best practices for handling student data. If we, the creators of educational software, build products that don’t respect student data privacy, we will lose the opportunity to build products for students.  In this post, we’ll take a look at data privacy from the perspective of an EdTech software vendor who is focused on the US K-12 market. Regulatory background Two federal acts define…

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Mar 20, 2014

Enhanced security with token-based authentication

From day one, Clever has been built to be the most simple and most secure data integration solution for schools.  To improve on that promise, we are changing the way our partner applications authenticate with the Clever API. EdTech applications currently access Clever’s API using an API key specific to the application.  While this single-key approach is an industry standard, we realized we can improve on it. Going forward, apps will access the API using a token that is specific to the app and to the district.   Each token provides access only to the data that an individual district has…

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Jan 14, 2014

GetClever.com is moving to Clever.com!

I’m writing to share an exciting update: Clever is getting a new address! This Thursday, Clever’s website will move from GETclever.com to Clever.com. It just rolls off the tongue so much better, don’t you think? The best part: This change will happen automatically – there is nothing you need to do. Our engineering team has done an incredible job preparing for this change, by making sure that existing bookmarks, SFTP transfers, and API queries will still work. And, starting Thursday morning, you can save yourself some typing by visiting Clever.com instead of GetClever.com. If you notice any issues during this…

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