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Towards a Better Place

I recently spoke with an administrator at a large urban school district and he expressed his frustration with the sheer number of education vendors he is charged with managing. He has no idea which teachers are using which technologies and what’s working. Similarly, the infographic below depicts the numerous technology applications a K–12 teacher might be tapping into throughout his/her day.

No doubt, most schools are in an awkward stage of technology integration with multiple, disparate tools that don’t talk to each other. While the explosion of apps, content, and tools is a real boon for our educators and students, the lack of integration and coherence is making life difficult for those managing the relationships and trying to make budgetary decisions around which tools are most beneficial.

But we’re encouraged by the ecosystem that is taking shape with some companies emerging as platforms and others plugging-in to reach educators and students as quickly and easily as possible. While still early, a real organization is underway and platforms like MasteryConnect, Junyo, Edmodo, Engrade and Education Elements are integrating with dozens of content, apps, and tool providers. We’re finally moving to a better place — away from the walled garden of curated, publisher content to an open architecture allowing the best content from any source to be discovered and used.

One Response to “Towards a Better Place”

  1. Mary Miller says:

    I am encouraged by the number of platforms listed in your article. As a practitioner who has been charged with bringing data sources together in a technically adequate and meaningful way for teachers, I have done a lot of cutting and pasting.

    I have approached (or am hoping to approach) technology in education from the other direction. I have developed a system that gradually changes the way that schools (i.e. the adults associated with them) respond to student achievement. All student achievement not just underachievement. The use of assessments in a prescribed hierarchy is part of the system. Because there are standardized components, the system can be replicated. It is a blueprint of sorts.

    Since my innovation is the system and changing adult behaviors, I currently work with the data management systems that are available or introduce inexpensive ways to acquire a needed data source. It is very time and labor intensive. However, I have a vision of a data management system that interfaces with the procedures and protocols of my system. A data management system that is designed to complement the goal setting, decision making and collaboration routines of a school district.