Blog Post

Gates Foundation-backed InBloom frees up data to personalize k-12 education

In education, there’s no shortage of data that could theoretically help educators tailor learning experiences to each student. But because the data comes from so many different sources and in so many different formats, schools may have trouble putting it to use.

In the past year, startups like Clever and LearnSprout have started to help schools liberate their data, and larger companies have slowly begun to release APIs. But a new nonprofit launching Tuesday will hopefully help move the needle even further when it comes to bringing big data to schools.

Supported with $100 million from the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and others, InBloom is the outgrowth of the Shared Learning Collaborative, an alliance of states, districts, nonprofits and corporations pushing for personalized learning in the classroom.

“There is a consensus that personalized learning is the way to go,” said InBloom CEO Iwan Streichenberger. “The big question is, how to do you make it happen? How do you share data and make it accessible? We’re a catalyst — a connector between data that exists already to make it easier to access.”

InBloom stores the data and provides integration tools and services to allow schools, districts, states and other vendors to aggregate student data from Student Information Systems, testing vendors and other sources. It also helps educators find instructional content aligned with certain standards so they can match it to their students’ needs.

At launch, InBloom is working with nine states. Twenty-two education technology companies, including Clever, LearnSprout, Scholastic, Wireless Generation (s NWS) and Schoology, have announced plans to developed applications that will work with InBloom.

“To personalize learning, the first part is diagnostics – where are [students] on the learning path? – and the second part is, once you know where they are on the learning path, what’s the next step?,” said Streichenberger. InBloom’s services address both needs.

By creating a neutral, nonprofit group to help connect the data, the hope is that schools won’t encounter as much friction when companies and organizations want to access student data for assessment programs or other ed tech tools.

Image by Mopic via Shutterstock.

2 Responses to “Gates Foundation-backed InBloom frees up data to personalize k-12 education”

  1. Daniel

    You make this sounds so positive. Sounds like you are bought and paid for by the marketplace. Parents had not been informed that this had been in the works for quite some time and it is surely an invasion of privacy by corporate world. I believe that the corporations backed by legal and advertising departments place a positive spin on this but
    all the corporation’s disclaimers appear to relieve themselves of responsibility and lawsuits
    if their systems get hacked into. I do not appreciate that I had not been notified by the
    people who are going to make great profits from our children’s and family information.
    It is apparent that the Gates Foundation has done some good but I can speculate they
    set the American family up by donating money with the intension that in the end make that sum of money back ten fold. I am sure Mr. Gates and his children have the best security money can buy but we do not have this opportunity because we do not have close to the money that Mr. Gates has.

  2. leoniehaimson

    Read about the growing coalition of education, parent & privacy groups protesting this plan to share confidential student information, without parental consent, with the Gates-funded inBloom Inc., which plans to put it on a highly vulnerable data cloud And contrary to what this journalist writes, there is no research showing any of this has pedagogic value. What it does have is commercial potential, for companies to try to make a buck off the personally identifiable, highly sensitive educational records of children.