Ed Tech Innovation

teacher with five students working in a small group individually on ipads

Introducing: The Open Education Innovation Platform

The Challenge

The purpose of learning management systems (LMS) software applications is to enhance the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of educational materials in service of digital learning. However, market conditions in education have significantly limited the potential for these investments to increase student achievement. Districts must navigate the technology marketplace accessing disparate systems in curriculum, assessment, decision support, student information, and special education. This disjointed marketplace has led towards the development of highly fragmented applications. As a result, LMS’ only support and provide a small fraction of what both teachers and learners need to succeed. Teachers and students are only able to access a small fraction of what is needed to truly evolve towards a differentiated and personalized learning experience. The proprietary nature of the current education technology marketplace raises a concern that it may restrict the democratization of education and repress open innovation.

Welcome to OEIP

As a result of the above market inhibitors, the IEE is launching the Open Education Innovation Platform (OEIP). OEIP will facilitate the development of an open source ecosystem of stakeholders that builds and sustains a non-proprietary core platform and integrates with vertical and horizontal modules to provide a more customizable software application. The core platform will serve as the hub and include all basic feature sets included within a traditional learning management system. Beyond the core, individual classrooms, schools and districts will have access to wide array of vertical and horizontal teaching and learning modules. These modules will include content, curriculum, assessment, decision support, student information, special education and professional development. As an analogy, the hub will act as an operating system and modules are accessible via a traditional application store (e.g., Google Play Store, Apple App Store). All data inputs and outputs will be mandated to meet a set of open standards that meet or exceed those recommended by the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

The above vision will both foster the initial development, sustainability and continuous growth of an open ecosystem that consists of developers, policy makers, teachers, students, parents and school administrators. OEIP will provide the education community with access to open and free learning management core platform. The OEIP platform will be developed from code technology assets received from Qualcomm, Inc.

What's Next

IEE will take on a leadership role in facilitating the evolution of a worldwide ecosystem of stakeholders to build and sustain OEIP. As a first step, the IEE hosted a launch convening in August with a variety of perspectives: funders, superintendents, students, non-profit professionals, school leaders, and teachers.

Coming out of this convening, the IEE is forming a Network Improvement Community (NIC) comprised of regional school system leaders and representatives from national organizations. This NIC will help guide the incremental development of both the core platform and functionally specific modules.

Following this, IEE will either pursue a strategy of investment in direct development or launch a national competition to quickly attract a large base of education technology developers. Resource and investment requirements will be dependent upon the chosen strategic option.

Background on Existing Code Technology Assets

Qualcomm, Inc. is a multinational industry leader in wireless technologies. Part of the company’s education strategy was to build capacity in learning management systems and mobile device management for the primary and secondary education markets. Through both acquisitions and significant engineering investments, Qualcomm designed and developed two robust software product lines called QLearn and Mobile First LMS. In 2015, Qualcomm initiated a strategic alignment plan to right-size cost structures and position the company for future growth. Through this plan, Qualcomm made a decision that the education market did not align to its future core goals and objectives. IEE negotiated the terms with Qualcomm and received all the rights and title to the QLearn and Mobile First LMS code on August 1, 2016. The software code transferred to IEE already contains a majority of the core pieces of functionality necessary to quickly build its foundation.