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For Educational Technology, Interoperability Must Be the Future

I teach a variety of courses at a high school for overage, under-credited students in New York City. I’ve used online resources to support instruction for years, but I needed a more creative solution for students with real barriers to attendance and at risk of aging out of high school. To more appropriately meet their needs, I designed and piloted a self-paced learning program offering thirteen different courses, all supported by some form of online content.

This cohort of students earned over 100 credits* over the course of the school year, proving the efficacy of my program. As a result, my school decided to allow me to continue experimenting with the program and build it out further. I was excited to continue, but the work was exhausting.

The 21st century educator’s juggle (mandated systems not pictured). Yikes!

My students were exploring content provided by Khan Academy, IXL, Duolingo, Everfi, Empower3000, Quill, A.D.A.M, and more. These providers each have their own database and the student achievement data doesn’t necessarily flow from one to other. So I spent an unsustainable amount of time transferring data from each of these content providers into my gradebook to have one place that could show me a holistic picture of where my students were academically. 21st century learners are used to obtaining feedback in real-time but unfortunately, I could never keep up with their pace and so they often asked, “why haven’t you updated my grade, yet?”

This “interoperability” problem is what inspired me to take on the Curriculum Specialist role at KiddomAs a teacher, I saw first-hand that connecting great content directly to a teacher’s workflow was something they valued. Building and consolidating the “teacher toolbelt” is integral to their mission. I still teach part-time, and while the availability of impactful teaching resources has increased, the problem of juggling data from each resource continues to persist (and irritate).

Working at Kiddom, I realized and was surprised by how difficult it was to connect with education technology companies that want to invest the time to work together and solve interoperability. We want the same thing (to support teachers and learners), so I optimistically believe this is a possibility.

Working together effectively means we’ll all win, especially students.

If you’re a K-12 content provider and you’re reading this, please consider it an open invitation to reach out and connect with me at Kiddom. I’ve probably used your materials and I want to share them with more educators. While sharing your platform directly with teachers might be beneficial, I can’t help but think about how I might be perpetuating the demands on teachers’ time caused by the need to manually transfer data.

Interoperability is my passion. Let’s work together to help teachers use their limited resources in the most efficient way possible to positively impact students.

Looking forward to it,

– Jessica the Kiddom team

*New York high school students are expected to earn 11 credits each year but our group of at-risk students were averaging 4 per year.

Guest Post by:  Jessica H.