Wednesdays with Wasay – Learning Standards, Technology, and Interoperability – Part 1

Today we are going to talk about learning standards, and their ultimate relation to interoperability standards. In the past decade, we are observing that the educational and learning world is evolving in a fashion similar to the auto industry. It won’t be long in today’s world where we will drive next to a car with an “empty” driver’s seat, as automation engineering advances.

The educational landscape shares some of these similarities. In the past, we thought of education as a classroom full of students and a teacher teaching and explaining concepts on a chalkboard. The growth measures as far as the students and parents were concerned, were often just letter grades, or a percentage. We assumed that if we got all A’s, or 100s on assignments we were on or exceeding the target.

Learning Standards and concepts were (and are often still) static documents maintained by the state that guide teachers in instructional strategy. However, as the digitization and standardization of these standards is achieved, instructional materials, questions and tests can be directly aligned and provide meaningful results, beyond a simple grade letter or test score. It’s not necessarily that this is a new concept, but technology has made it more efficient to curate content and gather data in these areas.  Learning standard performance data is a critical tool in tailoring classroom instruction to meet the individual needs of students.

Prior to the last two decades, if you were interested in the gas mileage you achieve in your vehicle, you would need to manually refer to your trip odometer and calculate miles per gallon. You would then need to research averages for your vehicle to determine if you were achieving expected results. These days, this information is readily available without requiring any effort or user input. It’s not that gas mileage is a new concept, or a new statistic, but since it no longer takes a manual effort to determine, it is available to a wider audience, and easier to understand.

Where the continued EdTech evolution is heading, companies now have access to new technologies and devices to ultimately extend this standards-based data to a much wider audience including students and their parents. Technology now presents this data on-demand, to students and parents, providing actionable insight into their growth or needed areas of improvement that doesn’t require waiting until the next quiz or benchmark.

In summary, taking the manual effort out of collecting and displaying information leaves more time for teaching, direct interaction, and collaboration in the classroom. This in turn, makes the day-to-day tasks of educators, students and parents much more efficient …. Or does it?

Tomorrow we’ll continue this discussion and dig into how standards-aligned technology, software and tools contribute to a “well-stocked backpack” of learning resources. We’ll also talk about how interoperability standards can help lighten a 30-pound backpack of disjointed systems, software and devices and instead form an efficient, interoperable multi-tool.

Muhammad Wasay
CEO, SchoolSpire, Inc.