Open Standards and Interoperability Reduce Risks to Student Data Privacy

Open Standards and Interoperability Reduce Risks to Student Data Privacy

GG4L is proud to help pioneer the effort to make open standards the norm in educational technology. To facilitate this effort, GG4L joined in with other contributing IMS Global members to sign the Standards First pledge.

“The Standards First Initiative validates our strategic direction. As an industry collaborative for data exchange between schools and EdTech vendors, GG4L is always pleased to promote open standards and the elimination of proprietary integration APIs. This initiative will further accelerate the digital transformation in schools while ensuring equity and improved security best practices.” — Robert Iskander, Chairman & CEO, Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) as quoted in IMS Global, Standards First

The Connection between Open Standards and Student Data Safety

Open standards, the basis through which Interoperability is achieved, is nothing new. You see it in almost every secure digital transaction you do, from communications with your bank to medical records to renewing your license plate with the DMV online. It’s a secure method of communication between different technologies. And, it operates on an assumption so basic that it is often unfathomable why schools have not been quicker to adopt it: interoperability, at its core, is about reducing risk. So why isn’t it more prevalent in K-12 schools, where student data security is not only crucial but mandated by law?

The Interoperability Gap in K-12 Schools

Not surprisingly, the biggest hurdle facing most K12 schools in implementing comprehensive interoperability is budget constraints. Technology often falls far down the list of priorities when the budgets are determined each year – and we’re seeing how that has played out during the pandemic. Schools that had prioritized tech investment, SSO, and EdTech were able to almost seamlessly switch to distance learning, where other districts were without even the basic infrastructure necessary to do so.

The ROI of Interoperability

While there is often an investment required to achieve interoperability, the return on that investment can be measured in a number of ways:

  • Productivity and efficiency. When different systems in the school can securely share data, not only does it reduce redundancies, but it frees teachers, IT directors, and administrators to focus on other areas of need, which are unending in districts large and small.
  • Security and compliance. Interoperability ensures that student data remains secure, allowing administrators to control who has access to what data.
  • Rapid deployment. In a year in which it is as likely that your students will be learning from home as it is that they will be learning from the classroom, the ability to deploy updates, new EdTech solutions, and more with the click of a button brings cost savings and efficiency to your entire IT process.
  • Rostering. The rostering standard developing by IMS Global allows technology directors to share course materials, grade files, and class rosters securely with multiple systems.
  • Content sharing. Content interoperability allows teachers to access multiple EdTech solutions through a single learning management system rather than being forced to log into each vendor’s platform individually. It saves time, increases security, and allows teachers to leverage the power of the learning management system in ensuring they meet standards.
  • Seamless access to data. Teachers are better able to understand, engage with, and support students in ways that allow every student to have an individualized education. This seamless and controlled data exchange empowers teachers to create opportunities for learning that are customized to the students’ needs.


Introducing School Passport 2.0

GG4L delivers interoperability to every school, accelerating school digital transformation while improving safety, privacy and security through School Passport 2.0. School Passport 2.0 is the first of its kind school-centric trusted digital engagement hub that empowers schools to centrally:

  • Govern the exchange of student, staff, and parent PII data with SaaS vendors.
  • Approve and publish apps to a district or school branded on-demand AppStore.
  • Delegate to school staff and teachers the ability to activate apps within their managed groups on-demand.

The School Passport 2.0 API enables ubiquitous access to all apps from within any LMS, SIS, or any pre-existing enterprise portal, while leveraging GG4L ID as anonymized, secure and federated access credentials for all end-users. GG4L’s School Passport 2.0 is free to any school. Learn more by visiting GG4L.


GG4L - The Global Grid 4 Learning

School Passport is a data exchange platform that exchanges any data with any EdTech product, eliminates the need to share student PII and is easy to implement for schools and vendors.


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