Erin Mote, a highly regarded technologist recognized for her work in education, is now at the forefront to achieve interoperability in courseware.
Erin Mote, executive director of InnovateEDU, says the typical teacher routinely spends 10 to 12 hours every week analyzing data from the different tools they use. “This is a huge challenge for teachers,” says Mote. “Interoperability, when it works well, is magical. But when it's not working, it's incredibly painful for teachers and for school administrators and for district folks, as well. And for vendors too, to be honest, because it means that finding a set of tools that really brings together the promise of different strategies for different students, integrated assessment, so on and so forth, just doesn't work.”
That's where Project Unicorn comes into the picture. Formed when Mote’s national group of technologists gathered to identify the core problems in data science and personalized learning, Project Unicorn has worked hard to help people understand that interoperability isn’t a scary thing. “It's actually all over our daily lives,” Mote explains. “Whether you're using an ATM that's not from your bank, and you’re still able to get money out; or when I fly somewhere, not having to go to a Delta TSA agent versus an American Airlines TSA agent; these examples illustrate that interoperability can be so seamless. It's so foundational that it works in the background, and it's kind of magical."
Though it seems like a modest proposal, the quest for interoperability is a bit more complicated than one might think. “I tell everyone that Project Unicorn is a 10-year venture,” says Mote, “because it's about changing behavior across an entire sector that has to happen, not only on the supply side, for vendors, investors, and such, but also on the demand side."