We are right in the middle of our very first Technical Congress and it’s awesome.

What started out as a small, low-key meeting turned into a collaboration and community super session.

Some of our Ed-Fi licensees approached the team after last year’s Summit asking for a time when we could dive even deeper into the details of the Ed-Fi Data Standard and various tools. We thought, “Hey no problem, we can host 20 or so folks to discuss technology improvements. Easy!” 

Well, like all things Ed-Fi, the Technical Congress has exceeded our wildest expectations. We are hosting more than 70 participants this week in Austin, and we’ve been jumping into some pretty meaty topics.

Yesterday we started with our version of “Roses & Thorns,” a round robin where community members stated both a positive and a challenge they were facing with their Ed-Fi implementations. We then tackled changes to the underlying Ed-Fi Unifying Data Model in a hands-on session intended to root out design flaws. We also discussed the ODS and API 3.0 changes, Temporal ODS, Dashboards and Scale.

The fun continues today as we launch a new initiative – Community365. This is our effort to put our user community at the center of everything we do, every day. It means that we are investing in our community. We are creating open and transparent channels to communicate early and often, and we are making it easy for you to contribute. 

Here’s what’s new:

  1. C365.edfi.org – A new site with quick links to more than 10 different resources to facilitate collaboration within the Ed-Fi Community.
  2. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) – The 2017 TAG has been formed under a renewed and more transparent charter.
  3. Slack Team – Ed-Fi now has its own Slack Team so everyone can join the conversation.
  4. Code of Conduct – The guiding principles for seamless integration into our community.
  5. MappingEDU Extensions Report – Even more community collaboration at your fingertips.

The Technical Congress was the natural place to launch this effort but it’s not just a singular moment in time. We will continue to invest and add tools to Community365 throughout the year.

In addition, yesterday, I was thrilled to hear that more of you want to be ambassadors for Ed-Fi. Well, you asked and we listened. Here are simple things you can do today to be an ambassador:

  • Join the Slack Team that I mentioned above;
  • If you haven’t been receiving our biweekly e-newsletter, please sign up today via this page;
  • And, and more importantly, forward the Community365 site to a friend or colleague that needs to hear about Ed Fi.

As we begin another day at the Technical Congress, I want to leave you all with just a few final thoughts.  

Keep plugging away.

Keep submitting to the exchange and to the issue tracker.

Keep giving us feedback.

We are moving this mission along one improvement at a time and it’s going to take many small, meaningful actions to create the huge sea change we are all after. But I’m confident we are on our way. I want to encourage all of you to keep at it, and we’ll do the same.

We are committed to investing in and improving the Data Standard and the Technology Suite because we know it’s the right thing to do.

And we are committed to investing in our community.

We’re here for the long-haul and we hope you’ll be with us every step of the way.

– Troy