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On inBloom

SETDA profiled the emerging work of inBloom in our May 2013 report, Transforming Data to Information, along with over a dozen other interoperability and data standards efforts related to meeting the information needs of K-12 educators, school leaders and policymakers who – while awash in data – too often still lack the ability to easily transform that data to information to help guide decisions about instruction, school administration, and operations. Broadly speaking, K-12 interoperability initiatives, like inBloom, focus on some combination of ensuring consistent data definitions, enabling the sharing of information across data systems, and facilitating the search and discovery of education resources.

The following statement can be attributed to SETDA executive director Doug Levin on the announcement that inBloom would be winding down:

“The vision of inBloom was to address the emerging needs of students and educators as schools and districts become more reliant on the use of technology to become both more efficient and effective. While perhaps ahead of its time, the inBloom vision — and the tools inBloom built to realize it — remain critically important for the K-12 sector to build upon in the future.

“Consideration of inBloom’s technology forced many education advocates to confront the changes technology is bringing to K-12 education, both the good and the less good, and fighting the nonprofit became symbolic for those not fully comfortable with these changes. Yet, to some large degree, the continuing march to use technology to better meet the needs of all students is as inevitable as it is desirable.

“inBloom drove critical conversations about interoperability and data standards, about student data privacy, about the reliance of the education sector on private companies, and about who should be in the driver’s seat with respect to decision making about the education of students. Indeed, in the end, the winding down of inBloom is as much of a sign of the lack of maturity of technology leadership in the the K-12 sector as it is about anything else. I certainly hope that others will step up to fill the void that inBloom will be leaving in its wake. The problems the nonprofit set out to solve remain; its mission remains unaccomplished; and this will only become more apparent – and painfully so – over time.”

The widespread implementation of new and emerging interoperability initiatives will be instrumental to realizing the full potential of technology in education, and SETDA will continue to raise awareness about the major K-12 data standards and interoperability initiatives underway to address the information gap in education.

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