Those of us working at the Ed-Fi Alliance spend considerable time in the field listening. Our goal is to continue to push forward in our understanding of the problems that educators and education organizations have accessing, unifying and using their data.
We also track how Ed-Fi technology is being used and improved. It’s been amazing to me that – in less than two years – users have already contributed back more than 61 improvements and enhancements to be shared with other users. This vibrant cycle of improvement means that the newest users benefit from the progress current users are making.
In addition to the implementation progress, the growing momentum behind adoption of Ed-Fi technology is equally amazing. Five states helped us launch the original Ed-Fi effort. Today, 19 states – encompassing more than 7,000 districts, 20M students and 1.3M teachers – are on the path to fully realizing the benefits of this open technology. And more than 70 vendor-users have recognized the advantages and are tailoring their products and services to ensure technical compatibility.
Why are stakeholders embracing Ed-Fi technology? Here’s what we’ve heard:
- School and classroom educators want the ability to put information technology to work in a way that gives fingertip access to insight that helps them target lesson plans, improve interventions, offer the right supports for their students and inform and equip parents as partners in the learning process.
- State and district leaders (supported by their IT departments and vendors) need to unlock the potential of data hidden in source systems that were never designed to share data—and do it in an era of ever-shrinking budgets and ever-increasing demands for information.
- Vendors are looking to provide better support for schools while also finding cost-effective ways to enter new markets, shorten innovation and product development cycles and trim operational and deployment costs associated with serving ed organizations in 50 disparate states. (This comment varies based on whether a vendor primarily provides products or integration services, of course, but the cost-saving theme is consistent.)
Ed-Fi technology is designed to address those needs. The dashboard starter kit gives educators and parents a first-class, easy to use view to student and classroom strengths and needs. The data standard and development tools – which enhance secure education data management systems – cost-effectively provide end-users with a way to unify data and produce insight and information, rather than a sea of numbers. All of this happens within the district’s or state’s own environment so that management and control over student information is retained.
The growing Ed-Fi Alliance community is finding ways to build further value into the technology and build the education sector’s capability to use data effectively and responsibly. Want to join us? It’s free and there really is something in it for you.
*What’s in it for me?