Technology is continuously evolving and improving. Unfortunately, between the frequent changes in technology and budgets, schools are often behind. One place this is apparent in schools is with interoperability. Schools are still using multiple platforms and various software programs separately, which means more time is spent recording data across these various tools than necessary in today’s world.
What is Interoperability?
Interoperability is defined as “the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.” In other words, various software programs and systems can communicate with one another. We use data interoperability every day without even realizing it. For example, when we use Google for driving locations or mobile apps to make purchases. These different programs are speaking to one another. Unfortunately, many schools are not quite there yet. As the Educause Review explains, “Data about a student’s background, their benchmark test results, or their school schedule sometimes remain fragmented across different systems.”
Why Interoperability Matters in the Classroom?
The importance of interoperability is so important in the K-12 market that it is supported by the US Department of Education. According to their Digital Systems Interoperability goals, “The benefits of interoperability are tremendous. It can permit schools and teachers to better exchange data with each other about students who move from one place to another. It can also allow educators to move past traditional paper-based textbook adoption models where every child must study and work from the same book to purchasing content that is more specifically appropriate to each learner. Interoperability can also allow researchers to have access to more data and to integrate that data to analyze the education system in ways not currently possible, while still preserving strict privacy standards to protect students and others from inappropriate or unlawful access to their data.”
What EdTech Companies Need to Consider
Therefore, it is imperative that the K-12 Edtech market takes note. As the demand for digital interoperability grows and the need for additional district interoperability grows, schools will be looking for software programs that can meet these needs. Where interoperability is becoming a priority in a school, it is now growing to include the district as well. This is because as children move from one grade to the next and one school to the next, educators should be able to have data stored and shared securely rather than having to re-enter it year after year. The goal should be to design products that have a lasting impact and will grow with the students.
If a software program becomes tiresome and complicated, it will not meet the needs of teachers, parents, or students. Instead, software must easily and seamlessly communicate between platforms.