How can districts get the ball rolling on ed tech interoperability?
- Jill Hobson, the K-12 institutional program manager for IMS Global Learning Consortium, writes for eSchool News that adopting interoperability standards like those produced by her nonprofit can ease the integration of new tech resources and platforms while saving teachers time spent on administrative tasks.
- Interoperability means that platforms like a student information system, learning management system and publisher resources are all capable of connecting, removing the need for, say, manual data entry from one platform to another.
- Hobson recommends that districts develop road maps with processes and plans for implementing a plug-and-play digital ecosystem, commit to purchasing products certified to facilitate that goal, build bridges of communication between IT and curriculum and instructional leaders, and consider joining a community like IMS for additional support.
The need for interoperability between ed tech tools has become a larger part of the conversation in the past year as educators and administrators realize it's a necessity to get the full benefits of all of the platforms and resources they're using. Benefits like giving teachers additional time to focus on 1:1 instructional opportunities with students, for example, are lost when they're still spending that time manually inputting data from one system to another to fully analyze it.
At this year's SXSWedu conference in Austin, Mike Baur, program manager for data-driven education at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, brought together three educators and administrators to discuss the need for more data interoperability. Among their takeaways: Districts must break down silos between IT management and other departments, giving more consideration to whether solutions work together while applying more pressure on these issues in vendor conversations. In addition, demand from the field for vendors to make products that meet certain standards and work well with other platforms already in place is key to facilitating the broader change needed.
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