The Legacy of InBloom

Monica Bulger, Patrick McCormick, Mikaela Pitcan, Data & Society, Feb 10, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

As the story (34 page PDF) says, "InBloom was a $100 million educational technology initiative primarily funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aimed to improve American schools by providing a centralized platform for data sharing, learning apps, and curricula." It collapsed three years ago amid accusations of privacy violations. This article depicts it as in part "a clash between Silicon Valley-style agile software development methods and the slower moving, more risk-averse approaches of states and school districts" and in part a problem of communication. "InBloom’s communication materials and messaging were developed by consultants rather than in-house experts and explained the technology solution without conveying any useful purpose, thus failing to communicate a compelling value proposition to teachers, parents, and students." But in racing for federal dollars, the project also scaled up too quickly, attempting to achieve overnight a vision that did not take into account the public's interests and concerns. Via EdWeek.

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