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Integration, to be or not to be?

In education (and indeed elsewhere) you will see more and more systems that are used directly by students and teachers. Many of them are taken from the ‘Cloud’ and at least half of them are not purchased by the school but is just available. Google Maps, Facebook and many others are examples of systems that use teachers in their lessons next school systems. The learner tracking systems, ELO’s Office and only long no longer meet the growing needs of teachers and students.

When they were still busy with the rollout of learning was always the first question is whether, and how, the learning environment integrated with existing school systems. That was the most important, at least for the ICT department. Of course that was conceivable because they were often responsible for the use of these systems and it’s nice that all students are included in at least the learning environment without consuming too much handiwork. All other integration was also a matter of debate but then there were opportunities, such as “APIs” or Web services than it was in order. Often, however, there was no additional integration done. It proved difficult, and therefore expensive. It led to lengthy discussion about what should and should not work and how. The benefits of an integrated weigh usually not compete.

Lately I do not hear much more about integration. Luckily, the Kennisnet Federation and SURFconext. This makes logging in and creating users, has become a lot easier. But other integrations seem no longer desirable or no longer a condition. That is good, in my opinion, since this requirement was often the use of new and innovative systems in the way.

Of course, if a system is being rolled out throughout the school should cooperate with existing systems. But in labs and in specific teaching situations can be worked well with disparate systems. That’s good for innovation! It is usually difficult enough to have a go with the teachers and students in a new way of working without that much from ICT should be regulated.

I therefore argues for the first time implementing these new ways of working without any complicated integrations and once a system and method have proven themselves only check whether any optimization can occur. This keeps your enthusiasm in the organization to start new things. Even with ICT resources.

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