Instructure Calls for Collaboration in Education With New SIF Integration for Canvas LMS
SALT LAKE CITY, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Instructure made an appeal for greater collaboration among education technology vendors with its announcement today of a new service that simplifies the integration of its Canvas learning management system with K-12 student databases. Built on the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), an industry initiative that promotes data compatibility across a variety of applications and products, Instructure's free, open-source service will streamline grading, evaluations and other functions that rely on student information systems (SIS).
Beyond the utility it provides school districts across the country, the release also signals a clarion call for greater openness and compatibility in an edtech industry that is becoming increasingly fragmented.
"Technology providers that choose to adopt open, modern standards enable innovation and information sharing across industries," said Jared Stein, vice president of research and education at Instructure. "Education should be no different, and we've already seen higher education benefit from Canvas' support of open standards and interoperability. Our new LMS-SIS integration services are built on open standards to reduce the technical challenges for K-12 school districts so they can spend more time and energy on the learning experience rather than getting systems to talk to each other."
One of the greatest technological challenges facing school districts is fragmentation of tools and services. With a variety of services relying on SIS for student data — from learning management to transit to cafeteria systems — interoperability is paramount, not only within each school but across districts and state departments, as well.
SIF integrations like Instructure's provide increased compatibility, but full integration can only be achieved with the cooperation of SIS providers, many of which have intentionally kept their technology closed. Products like Pearson's PowerSchool and Infinite Campus provide limited options to push and pull data with other products, often at a great cost to other vendors — and, ultimately, the schools they serve. On the other side of the spectrum, JMC and Aspire are working to provide robust, complete and time-saving integration across a broad range of services.
For its LMS-SIS solution, Instructure adopted the SIF open-source standard that has been championed by Bill Gates and Microsoft as a digital nervous system for schools. Many states require all solutions to be built on this standard, which essentially enables the Canvas LMS and SIS applications to talk to one another. Instructure will host the SIF standard for all its customers, which will allow them to access and use the standard for free. These integrations will depend in part on SIS providers opening up their data, which will dictate whether data can, for instance, be pushed and pulled in both directions. As more providers embrace SIF compliance, more education platforms will provide deeper, simpler integration for schools.
As of today's launch, Instructure is already working with several customers that will be piloting the new SIS-LMS service. Districts such as Clark County (Nev.), MSD Lawrence (Ind.), Shawnee Heights (Kan.), Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District (Iowa) and Dalton (Ga.) are looking to Instructure to streamline the technological processes that often stand in the way of learning.
Instructure is a SaaS company that empowers lifetime teaching and learning in academic and occupational settings through the Canvas learning management system. As an extension to the open, native cloud Canvas platform, Instructure also offers Canvas Network, where teachers, learners and institutions worldwide can connect and chart their own course for personal growth, professional development and academic inquiry. To keep learning, visit www.instructure.com.
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