CoSN today unveiled a refreshed resource to help school system leaders improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their technology practices through interoperability.
The CoSN Interoperability Standards for Education primer explores the importance of interoperability – i.e., where data from one system or software is compatible with another – and shares best practices for districts to maximize educational technology opportunities.
“Digital content and technologies are meeting educational needs in today’s learning environments. However, roadblocks due to interoperable data, software and content prevent districts from harnessing the full benefits of innovative gains,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “We updated this important resource so district leaders can better understand why interoperability matters and see what they can do to put the right measures in place and achieve their goals.”
Sharing real examples of school districts that have successfully implemented standards, the new primer goes in depth into the following nine key areas of interoperability:
  • Digital content, where students and teachers have seamless access to content and software, generally through a student learning platform or a learning management system.
  • Data connectivity, which is the ability to transfer data into and out of databases in an efficient, cost-effective way
  • Data integration, which involves combining data residing in different sources and providing users with a unified view of this information.
  • Authentication, authorization and identity management, where there is a system that identifies a person each time they log on (authentication) and that provides access to the person to track and manage information (authorization). Identity management is the process for authentication and authorization.
  • NEW SECTION – Rostering, which involves using the enrollment of large groups of students into software solutions and creating their IDs and passwords.
  • Portals and portlets, common on school websites, which provide small windows for emails, weather reports, discussion forums, as well as other relevant news and information.
  • File sharing, which allows the transmission of data and information via networks, emails or flash drives.
  • Network infrastructure, which is the foundation for schools to enable access to wired and wireless networks for Voice over IP (VoIP) communications, security cameras, badge readers, tablets and phones.
  • Digital accessibility, which ensures that technology is accessible to all students with diverse abilities.
“Without a common framework within which to discuss interoperability, it is difficult to give districts the information they need to make informed decisions,” Paula Maylahn, CoSN consultant, wrote in a new CoSN blog post. “Districts need a functioning interoperability model that addresses the simplicities, the complexities, and everything in between. We need a framework that will enable effective communication not only amongst ourselves but also with publishers, vendors, administrators, and educators.”
To access the primer, visit here. Learn more about CoSN’s leadership in advancing Network & Systems Design and  here.