UPDATE: As of February 5, 2013, the Shared Learning Collaborative has been renamed inBloom Inc.
The Shared Learning Collaborative, which receives significant support from the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, is developing a project called the Shared Learning Infrastructure. It was originally started by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The SLI provides a data warehouse in the cloud for all kinds of student data, and links that data, through Common Core standards, to digital educational content.
Key fact to remember here: the SLI does not store digital learning content. It only stores data (assessment, behavior, attendance, standards mastered, etc.). The content part of SLI is actually pointers to content from SLI's node of the Learning Registry and/or that may be identified with LRMI tags. And, importantly, the SLI has open APIs that let edtech products interact with the student data and content info, critical for layering on data analytics, personalization engines or other learning apps that interact with what SLI stores.
EdSurge contributor Frank Catalano wrote a detailed explanation of SLI in this MindShift piece. An important takeaway (quoting from this story):
- The main part of the Shared Learning Infrastructure is a huge, carefully structured bucket: the data store/warehouse, which holds, well, a bucket-load of student data across grades and subjects, such as individual student names, demographic information, discipline history, grades, test results, teachers, attendance, graduation requirements, even detail of standards mastered.
- A second, companion bucket inside SLI is information about instructional content and materials. But it doesn't hold the instructional resources themselves. This bucket provides pointers to the resources everywhere on the web, leveraging tagging and indexes of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative and U.S. Department of Education Learning Registry. And these resources, through the pointers, are aligned to the new Common Core standards. That alignment provides a connection between the instructional materials and the student test data in the first, big bucket.
- The third part isn't another bucket. It's spigots and faucets that stick out of the buckets – the APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces. APIs are simply a way for school administration, instructional and assessment software outside of the bucket to receive a flow of information from inside the bucket and pour its own back in. This is what the school, teachers and students primarily work with: the software that works with the SLI, connected by the APIs.
As of late 2012, the SLI was in alpha with a production release slated for the end of the year. Pilots are underway in districts in five states (Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, North Carolina and Colorado), developers can now play with fake data in a sandbox environment, and pilots will be added next year in four more states (Louisiana, Georgia, Delaware and Kentucky).