The Importance of Interoperability in the Digital Classroom
As a Product Manager at Learning.com, it’s important that I stay connected with teachers, principals, district administrators and even students to learn what it really means to integrate technology in the classroom. In today’s new digital classroom, teachers have many roles, including the role of technical support – managing student logins and navigating through a large set of online resources and tools that may not work well together.
I’ve seen firsthand how frustrating the lack of interoperability between online resources is for teachers.
So, what exactly is interoperability?
Let’s take a short quiz, what do you think best describes interoperability?
- Interoperability is single sign on
- Interoperability is a 61-point word in Words with Friends
- Interoperability is the ability for systems to communicate, exchange data and use information that has been exchanged
If you picked #3, nice work, keep reading. If you picked 1 or 2, don’t worry…you should keep reading, too. Interoperability is the ability for systems to work well together and play nice!
Why is this so critical for teacher, principals, administrators and students?
- Training teachers and students on multiple tools is time consuming and difficult
- Managing multiple logins can be a huge headache
- It takes too much time to manually transfer grades from one system to another
- Classroom time should not be spent navigating to a variety of different resources
- It’s nearly impossible for schools and organizations to get all the quality tools they need from a single vendor, and a vendor that has a one-size fits all solution will not meet each district’s unique needs and goals
A Requirement for Technology Use
As schools and districts implement technology and digital content in the classroom, teachers and students are asked to use multiple logins and learn a variety of systems for teaching and learning. Schools and districts have decided this is not an acceptable solution and the ability to integrate multiple tools from different vendors is becoming essential.
Benjamin Herold wrote in his article, “Momentum Grows for Digital-Content ‘Interoperability’ Standards”: a handful of big school systems, including the 215,000-student Houston Independent School District, are either requiring or strongly suggesting that their vendors meet their requirements for packaging digital content so that teachers and students could access small chunks of content from multiple sources with a single login and password, without ever leaving a single online platform.
I’m really excited to say that Learning.com’s digital literacy content, by leveraging industry standards, is interoperable with many of the most widely used learning platforms. All our content is usable through Learning Management Systems such as Canvas, Schoology, itslearning, D2L and others. Regardless of the platform, the learning experience and features available are the same, including sending grades to the learning system’s gradebook. Our content is available from the most common devices and browsers without requiring special plug-ins to run. And, access and use of content is trackable and traceable regardless of where it’s launched.
Interoperability allows districts to operate much more efficiently. When systems can communicate, and share information, it takes many steps out of the process of managing, assigning and grading course content, which in turn frees up time for teachers to focus on teaching, and students to focus on learning.