It’s all about the students. The new software that schools bring on every day, the streams of data they make available to teachers, every technical innovation the education sector introduces or aspires to; it’s all about helping students get the best education possible.

But with so much data from so many different sources, schools can use a little help tying it all together and seeing the student at the center of it all. Every school’s specific technical makeup and challenges are unique, but this broader challenge of integration is common to many of them.

By pooling their knowledge and achieving one small victory at a time, the educators and ed-tech professionals making up the Ed-Fi Community are solving that challenge. And the community’s latest thinking and solutions are captured in the Ed-Fi Implementation Suite 2.0.

The Implementation Suite has two main components: an Operational Data Store (ODS), which is a centralized data hub that districts steward themselves; and its accompanying API, which creates easy inroads for ed-tech vendors to integrate their products, whether they’re SIS, instructional, curriculum or operational solutions.

The Ed-Fi ODS and API are available together as part of one free license. And districts and states that license with Ed-Fi enjoy three main benefits:

  • Connecting thousands of data elements – The ODS can be a school’s single source of real-time data, powering all its applications and making it easy to support a variety of teaching and learning models.
  • Maintaining local control – Ed-Fi technology doesn’t collect or store student data. With the Ed-Fi ODS, districts determine the most secure environment to implement the technical components, keeping data storage and management in the hands of appropriate local officials.
  • Supporting educators’ choice – Educators want to be free to use the tools and applications that best serve the individual needs of their students. The Ed-Fi API gives it to them, by creating easy pathways for vendor products to sync with the products already in use by the school.

What does this add up to, in more practical terms? There’s nearly no limit. Don Dailey of the TRIG Data Integration Project sees Ed-Fi technology as a way to enjoy the benefits of a statewide SIS without actually having to implement one. Josh Klein, CIO of Portland Public Schools, says he turned to Ed-Fi technology because his principals and teachers “are increasingly looking for real-time data, in one central location, to inform instructional decisions.” And Mobashir Mohammed, the CEO of Working Education, sees community knowledge-sharing and working with standardized data as keys to personalized learning.

Again, it’s all about the students. Integrating all of a school’s different tools and systems is the only way to deliver what their promised results in the classroom. Says Troy Wheeler, president of the Ed-Fi Alliance, “Contributions big and small all add up to play an important role in improving how education data is securely accessed and appropriately used to improve student achievement and teacher satisfaction.”

With Ed-Fi, it all adds up.

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