Achieving technology interoperability should be an overarching goal for every educational institution. Unfortunately, this is often ignored. So what is technology interoperability and why it is essential?
Technology interoperability refers to systems and software applications being able to communicate with each other seamlessly. In other words, interoperable systems exchange information in real-time. This becomes increasingly important as more and more institutions move towards a digital-first approach. Edtech tools that are not interoperable will create silos of information, making it difficult to track the progress of students or analyze data.
Here’s a scenario to explain it better: Let’s say a student is looking for a new college to pursue higher studies. Now, imagine that your college’s website has a chatbot and an online form that helps students with their queries. The student then receives an email with all the details regarding the program & application process. The next day, the student also receives a phone call from an admission officer confirming their interest in applying to this college.
This is just one example of how technology interoperability can benefit students and educational institutions alike. Instantly exchanging data in real-time makes it easier for educational institutions to communicate with their stakeholders. This also streamlines workflows across teams and departments which saves time and improves efficiency.
Now, let’s look at 5 important steps through which we can achieve tech interoperability.
1. Ditch the silos to promote technology interoperability.
This is probably the most critical step. One of the biggest roadblocks to tech interoperability is siloed data and technology systems. This means that different departments within your institution maintain their own systems & software applications, which are often disconnected from each other.
The first step towards achieving tech interoperability is to break down these silos and bring all your stakeholders into one unified platform. This may not be as easy as it sounds, as there could be some resistance from different departments who are used to managing their own data systems & processes.
Your teachers and students are on different learning platforms, databases, and tools that don’t talk to each other. One of the biggest reasons for this is the lack of communication between various departments – IT, HR, Finance, and others – creating a lack of interoperability among systems. The key is to change your mindset from an organizational silo to an integrated system that can work with another unit in your organization.
2. Start by laying the groundwork.
Once you have a common objective in mind — which is to get rid of the silos, it’s time to start building the roadmap toward interoperability: where are you going? What does success look like? Why does interoperability matter? How will it impact your educational institution? Are there people who might be affected by this process who need to be brought into the fold before you begin? These are important questions you should ask yourself before finding interoperability solutions. You should also do in-depth research on the best solutions that are available and the affordability.
Moreover, you should also make sure every department has a representative on board who can help bring their expertise together as part of this process (for example; teaching staff from different departments). This way everyone gets a chance to understand how their roles fit into the new experience being created for all stakeholders involved.
(Recommended Listen: Tune in to the podcast featuring an interview with Classe365’s CEO Nandan Keerthi and get to know more about edtech and its future prospects.)
3. Look for opportunities for your students to share the data & use their learning records throughout their academic careers.
Students show up with different skill sets at each stage of learning (elementary, middle school, or high school) or higher education institutions they attend, which means they need individualized support based on what they already know or don’t know.
A clear understanding of where students come from in terms of skills and knowledge is critical in providing them relevant educational experiences going forward across all levels of education – K12 and higher education alike — so that they have access to personalized learning experiences along with seamless access across multiple schools during their academic careers. Sharing data about student progress allows for more accurate student assessments as well as better-informed decisions about their education.
(Did you know? Classe365’s LMS module has activity-tracking feature through which students, teachers, and administrators would be able to track every part of their academic journey.)
4. Incorporate product/tech literacy among all your stakeholders as part of a collaborative process.
Educational institutions consist of a variety of stakeholders – students, parents, teachers, and management staff. As you start integrating technology into your institution’s ecosystem, it is important to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to understanding technology and its applications.
One way to do this is by providing regular training sessions and workshops where you can explain the rationale behind incorporating different technologies into the system and their benefits. This will help users understand how their job responsibilities may or may not change because of the introduction of new tech tools and build an appreciation for them. This will also help them make the most out of these tools and help optimize their performance as well as that of your educational institution using a particular tool.
5. Digital transformation and technology interoperability can only be effective when the entire learner journey of students is covered.
Edtech for student management evolves from being efficient to empowering when it is implemented across the learner journey ( the time of inquiry up until the student becomes an alumnus). Most institutions purchase edtech tools that are standalone, siloed, and do not cover the entire journey. In order to make tech interoperability feasible, you move away from this approach.
There are two reasons for this. The first reason is, if you purchase different solutions for different stages of the learner journey, then you pave way for too many silos. Achieving tech interoperability becomes very tricky. The second reason is that siloed solutions become costly over a period of time.
On the other hand, if you use a platform like Classe365, which provides a unified solution covering the entire learner journey, you can achieve technology interoperability effectively.