IMS Global Learning Consortium Standards And Initiatives Fuel GG4L’s Impressive First Year Growth

Over 300 Organizations Serving 100,000+ K-12 Schools Globally Joined the GG4L Collaborative to Support Its Sustainable Impact Initiatives

SAN DIEGO, May 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — As a Contributing Member of IMS Global Learning Consortium, and a proud Gold Sponsor of the Learning Impact Leadership Institute kicking off here today in San Diego, the Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) is pleased to announce its impressive growth since its launch less than a year ago, as a result of its adoption of the various IMS Global industry standards and strategic initiatives. GG4L Connect™, a hybrid-cloud data interoperability and governance platform, recently achieved IMS certification for IMS OneRoster® 1.1. 

“IMS Global OneRoster, Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI®), Caliper Analytics®, Comprehensive Learner Records (CLR) and Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange® (CASE®) are all essential standards that the whole EdTech ecosystem must leverage to create a secure and reliable infrastructure for data interoperability across the whole spectrum of educational technology solutions,” commented Robert Iskander, Founder & CEO of GG4L. “We plan to adopt all of these standards in our journey to drive sustainable impact initiatives in education.”

“The IMS Global conformance certification program ensures that educational institutions can be confident that their integrations are secure and fully interoperable with other certified products,” said Dr. Rob Abel, chief executive officer, IMS Global Learning Consortium. “Congratulations to Global Grid for Learning for joining in the growing IMS ecosystem by certifying the latest version of OneRoster!”

GG4L is a membership-based collaborative, that is free of charge to all education institutions and government agencies, and available for a modest annual membership fee to any EdTech organization. GG4L leverages its Platform to create an integrated ecosystem of EdTech solutions that could be easily implemented, validated and sustained financially for schools around the world, as they together drive school improvement. To date, over 300 organizations, serving over 100,000 schools globally, have joined as GG4L Members and agreed to GG4L’s membership pledge (https://gg4l.com/pledge-now/) to advocate for open data interoperability standards, secure data exchange and strict student data privacy compliance.

The “Safer Schools in America” Research Grant, launched in November 2018, is GG4L’s first impact initiative aimed to address the need for safer schools. The grant program provides support to selected schools for the implementation and usage of select EdTech products from leading education providers who are focused on school safety solutions for K-12. These solutions will be implemented and studied for a period of 3 years – at no cost to the school grant recipients. GG4L has awarded $9M in grants to 72 schools from 36 school districts, geographically distributed across 16 States, who will start the new school year with EdTech tools in place to help them protect their students by creating a secure grid in and around schools’ academic, social, and physical environments. For a full list of participating EdTech members, corporate sponsors and the Grant Application, please refer to: https://gg4l.com/initiatives/safer-schools/

GG4L Awards EdTech Grants to 72 US Schools Across 16 States

Safer Schools in America, a 3-year national research effort studying the impact of EdTech innovation on school safety, will launch in the new school year

May 15, 2019 | Bay Area, California – Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) is pleased to announce that 72 schools from 36 school districts, geographically distributed across 16 States, who were selected for grants during phase one of the ‘Safer Schools in America Impact Grant’ initiative, will start the new school year with edtech tools in place to help them protect their students by creating a secure grid in and around schools’ academic, social, and physical environments.

In November 2018, in partnership with McRel International, GG4L announced the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant.  The grant program provides support to selected schools for the implementation and usage of select EdTech products from leading education providers who are focused on school safety solutions for K-12. These solutions will be implemented and studied for a period of 3 years – at no cost to the school grant recipients.

“How we provide a safer environment for teaching and learning is always top of mind for educators,” said Dr. Sandra Elliott, GG4L Chief Academic Officer. “We are grateful for their commitment in helping us measure the impact of 40+ new and innovative edtech solutions.”

In line with ESSA requirements, the Safer Schools in America impact initiative will use independent measures of efficacy under an institutional quality research framework to establish best practices that can be shared nationally. The data will be aggregated, anonymized and analyzed by McREL and GG4L and provided in quarterly and annual reports to all stakeholders.

Additional edtech grants will be awarded to more than 200 school districts during Phase II and III. The application deadline for Phase II has been extended to May 31 to allow for last minute requests. U.S. schools and districts are encouraged to apply soon .

The application takes less than 10 minutes to complete and can be found at: https://gg4l.com/impact-initiative-grant-application/.

For more information about the Safer Schools in America Grant Initiative and a list of participating edtech vendors, please visit: https://gg4l.com/initiatives/safer-schools/.

Global Grid for Learning is continuing to make edtech easier to deploy, more effective for teachers and students, and more affordable for districts and vendors. Our next initiative, Future-Proofing Our Schools, available to member schools worldwide, will be announced later in 2019.

About GG4L

Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) is committed to promoting data security in schools. Protecting the data of every user is a top priority. GG4L’s Connect platform makes integrating and deploying education technology safe, easy, and inexpensive. It’s free for schools to use, less expensive for EdTech vendors, and safer for students. As a Public Benefit Corporation, GG4L welcomes collaboration and support from corporate social responsibility (CSR) and philanthropic foundations. Help us keep K-12 data interoperability costs low for schools, while maintaining the security and privacy of student data. Contact us today to learn more about becoming a GG4L Corporate Sponsor at info@gg4l.com

About MCREL

A nonprofit research and development organization that since 1966 has turned knowledge about what works in education into practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders across the U.S. and around the world. McREL provides schools, districts, and other education organizations with high-quality research and evaluation, professional development and coaching, strategic planning, and assistance with improvement and innovation projects.

Lightspeed Systems Sponsors Groundbreaking Research Into School Safety

The leading edtech company partners with Global Grid for Learning and McREL International, sponsoring research into school safety solutions and providing software grants to participating schools.

AUSTIN, TX. — Today, Lightspeed Systems made another critical step toward school safety by announcing its sponsorship of the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant Program, an initiative jointly operated by Global Grid for Learning and the Tier 1 educational research institute McREL International. Through the program, eligible schools will receive $25 million of grants in education technology products and services — from Lightspeed Systems and other corporate sponsors — for the purpose of protecting students against school violence and self-harm.

As a provider of K-12 filtering, mobile device management and monitoring solutions for 20 years, Lightspeed Systems has helped tens of thousands of school customers intervene to prevent student harm, saving countless lives. By participating in Safer Schools in America, Lightspeed will not only grant essential software solutions to participating schools — creating a safer, more easily managed learning experience for students — the company will also contribute meaningfully to research supporting school safety.

Safer Schools in America will study the impact of sponsor products and services across 500 American schools in 250 school districts over the next three years. The results of this groundbreaking national research study will be published quarterly, starting in spring 2019.

“Lightspeed Systems is a major player in edtech with more than 28,000 school customers and a key partner in our expanding ecosystem; we are very pleased to count them as a sponsor of Safer Schools in America and hope that their commitment paves the way for other corporate sponsors,” said GG4L Founder and CEO Robert Iskander.

“We are proud to be a sponsor of this strategic initiative toward the improved safety of our schools and the lives of children,” said Lightspeed Systems President & CEO Brian Thomas. “By teaming up with GG4L and other corporations, we can help even more schools and save even more lives.”

To learn more about Lightspeed Systems, visit https://www.lightspeedsystems.com. To learn more about GG4L’s Safer Schools in America Impact Grant, visit https://gg4l.com/initiatives/safer-schools.

About Lightspeed Systems

Lightspeed Systems partners with schools to make learning safe, mobile and easily managed. Partnered with 6,500 districts in the United States and more than 28,000 schools around the world, Lightspeed Systems offers integrated solutions for smarter K-12 school networks: Relay, Relay Classroom, Mobile Manager, and Web Filter. To learn more, visit http://www.lightspeedsystems.com.

About Global Grid for Learning (GG4L)

Embracing the belief that a nation’s education system directly impacts its future, GG4L is building innovative public and private partnerships mindfully structured to harness the power of data to solve big school challenges such as school safety, literacy, college and career readiness. With privacy and security top of mind, GG4L’s 3-way partnership, among schools, industry and philanthropy, actively champions continuous cycles of improvement informed by data. By facilitating affordable access to proven solutions and efficacy data, GG4L fuels rapid innovation in education. As a membership-based Public Benefit Corporation, GG4L is committed to voluntarily meeting higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability and transparency. To learn more, visit http://www.GG4L.com.

About McREL International

McREL International is a nonprofit research and development organization that since 1966 has turned knowledge about what works in education into practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders across the U.S. and around the world. Using a collaborative approach and research-based insights, McREL provides schools, districts, and other education organizations with high-quality research and evaluation, professional development and coaching, strategic planning, and assistance with improvement and innovation projects.  To learn more, visit http://www.mcrel.org.

T|H|E Journal Highlights Safer Schools in America Grant

The education technology publication T|H|E Journal reported on the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant to disburse $25 million worth of safety solutions to as many as 500 schools, and then study the effectiveness of the technologies deployed. The participating vendors focus on a wide variety of safety-related issues, from emotional well-being to managing sports injuries to keeping in touch with parents. “Parents, students, teachers and administrators expect schools to be safe, secure, and supportive for teaching and learning, but little research has been done to date to measure the effectiveness of the solutions that we purchase to address safety and well-being,” said Sandra Elliott, chief academic officer at Global Grid, in a statement.

Read the full article.

Eliminating Data Security Risks in EdTech

Data security in the school enterprise world is an enormous challenge. Typically, the basic data needed by any EdTech solution vendor will consist of what is referred to as the roster data, which consists of the names and course affiliations of students and teachers within every school building.  Without these names and corresponding data, the application vendors could not create accounts for the end users of their systems. This process usually requires a bulk upload of the data using an extracted report from a Student Information System (SIS) that the school or the district office uses. The roster data changes frequently, so it is important for these files to be updated and uploaded daily through an automated data extraction and upload process, which is labor intensive to set up and maintain.

Managing Multiple EdTech Vendors Is Costly and Time-Consuming

If we assume that a typical school uses a minimum of 25 enterprise applications from 25 different vendors, then the data upload process needs to be set up in 25 discrete instances. That is a lot of work for any school with limited resources, and all schools have limited resources.  Complicating the process further, many vendors require other forms of data that go beyond the roster data, which means that there may be more than one source of data that is needed by a vendor and needs to be extracted (e.g. food, transportation, and gradebooks, to name a few).  Imagine the challenge! Some vendors bypass this process and take shortcuts that involve using the teachers in the classroom as a source of data, yet we all know that this is not a good utilization of teachers’ time and skills, and in many cases, schools create policies forbidding teachers from providing student or parent personal data to vendors, to minimize risks of data and privacy breach.

Protecting End Users Must Be a Priority

Most innovative consumer-oriented solutions today are accessed and used by end users through mobile applications that run on one of many forms of web-connected devices. This means that each user, regardless of age or the role they serve in the school, will most likely have to set up a personal account, agree to the vendor’s data privacy terms, and provide their profile data to the third-party vendor, to be able to use the product effectively. Some vendors, not all, do a great job taking data security and consumer privacy seriously, protecting the personal data of their end users and being transparent about what they do with the data. But you’re still asking students to interact with third-party platforms and provide personal information that may or may not be adequately protected.

GG4L Connect is designed to address the issue of data security so that schools can take advantage of multiple EdTech solutions without worrying about data security. GG4L Connect is consent-based, requiring the school data administrator to be 100% in control of inviting or approving a vendor to access a data subset or all the school’s stored SIS data. GG4L Connect is a global infrastructure with the ability to on-board any school’s data from any location in the world. We offer our EdTech vendors the option to invite an unlimited number of their school customers to join GG4L for free.


The members and sponsors of the Global Grid for Learning are democratizing access to K-12 data and applications. We’re making EdTech easier to deploy, more effective for teachers and students, and more affordable for districts and vendors. Connect to the Grid. Take part in an Impact Initiative. Be a sponsor. Let’s make EdTech better together! Learn more.