When schools across the country closed due to COVID, educators and administrations made a monumental and surprisingly quick pivot to online learning. We should actually take a moment to reflect on what an amazing accomplishment this was. While some online learning tools were already in place, and over all the industry had been creeping slowly toward a more flexible model, there was a ton of work that school districts had to do to set-up learning in a completely different environment. While it hasn’t been without a few hiccups, the move was impressive and should be commended.
While this monumental shift was going on we purposefully decided to lay-low, halt communication, remove distractions, and cancel our in-person Technical Congress to allow the technology leaders that we serve to focus all their energy on the task at hand; whether that was distributing laptops to students or handing out lunches in the high school parking lot. And even while we were giving this space, we were thinking through what WE could do to lift a burden or make life easier for students, educators and administrators during the shift to online learning.
What unique talents, resources, technology, and knowledge are at the disposal of the Ed-Fi Alliance and how could we mobilize quickly to create something of value for our Community and the broader education sector?
First, we know we have exceptional technology tools and the technical expertise within our staff and Community to put those tools to use. We also have spent years building relationships with leaders in education technology both on the vendor side and the agency side. And, we know how to listen, convene, and create. We pulled all of these resources together under the banner of our newly official Open Source Community to create a forum for rapid iteration and creation called—FIX-IT-FRIDAYS.
The concept of FIX-IT-FRIDAYS (actually borrowed from here) is that on each Friday a number of Ed-Fi Community members would participate in a meeting to:
- Identify big gaps and problems that educators were experiencing due to the move to online learning.
- Utilize design thinking principles to apply Ed-Fi technologies and expertise to solving the identified problem.
- Create a tool or application that could be easily deployed by educators and administrators to solve the problem and support them now and as they plan for returning to a hybrid school approach in the Fall.
The FIX-IT-FRIDAY group has now been meeting consistently for more than seven weeks. We enlisted leaders from across the Ed-Fi Community (see participating orgs below) to help us identify a major pain point for educators within the new context of remote learning and we asked for help in creating a tool to solve it.
What we have created as a Community is pretty remarkable and it will be ready to use starting Friday, July 10. The tool helps deliver consolidated student information and disruption-related data into an educator’s hand. Plus, it is completely free and open for anyone to use.
We can’t wait to share all the details with you and to share this new tool with the education community. Join us for a live demo of the tool and instructions on how to start using it on Friday, July 10 at 10am CT.
Have you identified a remote-learning pain point or COVID-related problem that needs to be solved? Join our FIX-IT-FRIDAYS group! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you plugged in.
We also want to extend a huge thank you to the following organizations that have given their time, talent and resources to this special project:
Boston Public Schools
Aspire Public Schools
Long Beach USD
Killingly Public Schools
Rio Rancho Public Schools
Bloomfield Public Schools
Deming Public Schools