February 5, 2013  

inBloom Inc. Launches to Enable Personalized Learning Through Easier Access to Information and Technology

New nonprofit organization is working with nine states representing more than 11 million students, with support from a wide range of education technology companies.

Today the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) announced the launch of inBloom Inc., a nonprofit provider of technology services aimed at connecting data, applications and people that work together to create better opportunities for students and educators.inBloom logo

Currently, school districts are racing to adapt materials and assessments for the Common Core State Standards, and publishers are working to keep up with new academic requirements. At the same time, educators are being inundated with an escalating amount of data and technology in multiple formats, creating a disjointed system that makes it extremely hard for teachers to tailor instruction, curriculum and learning approaches to meet the needs and aspirations of individual learners.

“Education technology and data need to work better together to fulfill their potential for students and teachers,” said Iwan Streichenberger, CEO of inBloom Inc. “Until now, tackling this problem has often been too expensive for states and districts, but inBloom is easing that burden and ushering in a new era of personalized learning.”

The inBloom™ data integration and content search services enrich learning applications by connecting them to systems and information that currently live in a variety of different places and formats while helping to reduce costs for states and districts. This comprehensive view into each student’s history can help those involved in education — from teachers to administrators to parents — see students’ progress, gain insights into how they might do better and act quickly to help each student succeed. It also helps educators locate standards-aligned instructional resources from multiple providers and match them with their students’ needs.

“inBloom lets us compile and access assessment data from more than a dozen different systems,” said Tom Stella, assistant superintendent of schools, Everett, Mass. “This information, paired with relevant content that maps to a student’s individual needs, helps maximize a teacher's time and a student's learning potential by letting them focus on in-class teaching and learning.”

In addition, the inBloom framework enables technology providers to develop and deploy products without having to build custom connections to each state and district data source. This means more developers will have the opportunity to create new and powerful applications to benefit students, with lower implementation costs and faster time-to-market.

Twenty-one education technology companies have already announced plans to develop applications that will work with inBloom through the service’s open application programming interface (API). Many of these applications will be demonstrated at SXSWedu in Austin, Texas, March 4–7.

Nine states, representing more than 11 million students, are participating in the development and pilot testing of the inBloom technology services to ensure they meet the needs of states, districts, teachers and students. They include Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. Five states have already selected districts to be part of the pilot testing: Jefferson County Public Schools, Colorado; McLean County Unit District No. 5 (Normal) and Bloomington Public Schools District 87 (Bloomington), Illinois; Everett Public Schools, Massachusetts; New York City Department of Education, New York; and Guilford County Schools, North Carolina.

Student data privacy is a top priority for inBloom, and protections for student privacy, including compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), have been addressed throughout the design and ongoing operations of the services. InBloom worked with its pilot states and districts and a panel of student privacy and security experts to create the policy that governs its handling of sensitive data.

About the Shared Learning Collaborative
The Shared Learning Collaborative is an alliance of states, districts, educators, foundations and content and tool providers passionate about using technology to improve education. The SLC developed all the inBloom software components and has worked with education technology companies and developers to encourage the development of inBloom-compatible applications.

About inBloom Inc.
inBloom Inc. is a nonprofit organization established to carry forward the mission of the Shared Learning Collaborative, which is to work to make personalized learning a reality for every U.S. student. inBloom provides technology services that allow states and public school districts to better integrate student data and learning applications to support sustainable, cost-effective personalized learning. inBloom is funded with initial philanthropic support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York. For more information about inBloom, visit www.inBloom.org.