When the San Jose Unified School District rolled out its new web-based student information system earlier this year, students immediately noticed some shortcomings.
For one, they no longer could view their current grades for all their classes at one glance. Checking on several classes required several clicks—which for a 16-year-old is, like, so much work.
Instead of settling, Daniel Brooks, then a senior at Pioneer High School, came up with a Silicon Valley-style fix: He developed an iPhone app.
Then he got Apple’s approval to hawk it on the App Store, handed out hundreds of fliers, and now has 2,300 users who downloaded it across the country.
“It ended up on every iPhone and iPad and portable device that any student and teacher had on campus,” said Scott Peterson, a Pioneer High English teacher who doubles as the campus tech support.
In the months since, Daniel has experienced the highs and lows familiar to many software developers who have created wildly popular apps—although he’s getting them a little earlier in his career than most.
Daniel’s app is so successful that users want more; in particular, his teachers started pushing him to develop a version for them. But he’s received less enthusiasm from the company whose technology he improved: software developer Infinite Campus, which developed the web-based student information system accessible by teachers, parents, and students.