School districts retain control and authority over all the information in their systems, and InBloom is confident that its technology meets core regulatory requirements. For an application to have access to a school district's data, that district has to whitelist that application, and only users authorized by the district can use the application. OAuth2 is implemented to ensure secure logins, and users have access to data based on their rights as defined by the owner of the data, which is typically the district.
Thus, companies large and small, nonprofit and for-profit, and even individual developers can write software using the information that school districts store in the InBloom Data Store. These applications can then be used (sold to) the school districts that have adopted the Data Store.
In addition, InBloom provides numerous open source examples of applications using the InBloom Data Store, so the development community can take advantage of that existing software as kickoff points for their endeavours. And the InBloom Data Store itself is scheduled to be open-sourced later this year.
A second critical component is the Learning Registry Index. The LRI is the learning tools side, designed to store metadata about learning resources such as videos and online tutorials. It contains the Common Core Standards (CCSS), and once released LRI will let organizations create and share their own standards. It will also have tools to tie learning resources to the standards. Combined with the InBloom Data Store, the LRI provides an opportunity for programmers to develop applications that choose the appropriate learning tool for a particular educational objective based on a student's academic history and past experience with other learning tools.
How you can get involved
InBloom has been working with selected pilot districts in New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, North Carolina, and Illinois, providing tools to transfer/replicate existing data into the InBloom Data Store. The company is seeking participation from additional districts struggling to find data-driven tools.
InBloom provides a lot of materials for developers. You can create a sandbox account for free and begin writing your own applications to run against the InBloom Data Store and/or the upcoming InBloom LRI. There is extensive documentation on the InBloom Data Store, including a comprehensive data model. InBloom has been offering free codeathons as well, which provide a great opportunity to work with both developers and educators and to design and build applications that use the InBloom Data Store.
Individualized learning on the scale portrayed in "Ender's Game" may be more sci-fi than near-term reality, but I believe InBloom's is the first critical step to building personalized learning systems.
This article, "Improving K-12 education with shared data and open APIs ," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest developments in application development and read more of Andrew Oliver's Strategic Developer blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.