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Connected Education Reference Architecture

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With Connected Education Reference Architecture, plug in your mind, connect with your dreams, and make a difference. Our education system must prepare citizens to thrive in a global economy, inspire constructive thinkers, instill personal responsibility, and empower passionate leaders.  As we prepare next generation citizens who will drive economic growth, scientific advancement, social awareness, and personal satisfaction, we need to ask:

  • Are students learning the right skills?
  • Are students learning fast enough?
  • Is collaboration between private industry and education effective?
  • Are we successfully promoting research project intellectual property?

In many educational communities, students, parents, and mentors answer these questions with a resoundingly negative response.  As education continues a technology driven transition towards new school models, we need to establish a roadmap plan that engages students, overcomes structural challenges, and builds connections into the educational experience.

Plug in your mind

Connect with your dreams

Everyone can make a difference

 http://singularityhub.com/2013/05/28/prepare-your-mind-for-the-future-plug-into-our-newsletter-today/  http://liveyourlegend.net/5-steps-to-find-befriend-your-dream-connections-deciding-who-you-want-in-your-corner/   http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/04/18/how-to-empower-yourself-rediscover-freedom/

Are students engaged?

Today’s students are the millennial generation; individuals who are immersed in an interactive, digital world.  They require interactivity and fun to remain engaged. Dry, paper textbooks are a pale shadow of their online, out of school, educational experience. Students tune in when educational material is not only digitized, but also interactive, collaborative, and compelling. The gamification of education will entice students to plug in their mind, connect with information repositories, and gain the knowledge required to pursue their dreams.

gamification_in_education Image: http://edtechreview.in/news/324-examples-gamification-in-education

According to CommerceLab:

Gamification uses video game design techniques in non-gaming experiences with the overall goal of improving user engagement and driving user behaviour. It can be used in a variety of ways to enhance user engagement on multiple platforms and is being integrated into business and marketing campaigns to captivate users that have grown weary of more traditional marketing tactics and messaging.

Building Connections into Education

Because the education industry is just beginning a transition towards digital engagement, we must work together to take fundamental steps that will build connections into education environments and communities. For example,

  • Digitize lesson plans, exercises, quizzes, and tests
  • Incorporate gamification design principles into educational programs and content
  • Provide access to engaging digital resources
  • Establish opportunities to collaborate with peers and experts
  • Deliver powerful tools to solve real problems as an integral part of learning experiences

New Interaction Models – New School

We must re-imaging the learning experience, and incorporate new interaction models into a new school environment that interacts across online digital resources.  Where the old school environment included chalk boards, pen, paper, and overhead projectors, the new school environment includes promethean boards, PixelSense, tablets, broadband internet access, and Internet resources (e.g. Google, Wikipedia),.

Promethean Board

Education Industry Challenges

While computers, Internet technology, and digital content has been incubated within the education community since their invention, fundamental challenges inhibit democratizing access to new school environments.  Common challenges include:

  • An unfunded edge cost
  • Incomplete content digitization (exams, quizzes, lesson plans)
  • Limited broadband access
  • A focus on money rather than innovation
  • Global sharing and collaboration impediments

Call To Action

To best prepare next generation citizens who will drive economic growth, scientific advancement, social awareness, and personal satisfaction, we need to transform education into an encouraging and engaging learning environment.  Gamification, collaboration, immersive digital experiences will encourage students to plug in their mind, gains the intellectual tools required to connect with their dreams and make a difference.


Gamifying lesson plans, classwork exercise, homework assignments, and projects will inject fun and motivation into the educational experience. Implement player centered design focusing on

  • Knowing your player (the student)
  • Identifying your mission
  • Understand human motivation
  • Apply game mechanics
  • Manage, Monitor, and Measure the program


Create a collaborative environment that includes business mentors, teachers, students, and family members. IT professionals should execute a plan to:

  • Build an engaging environment
  • Enable collaboration across boundaries
  • Deeply embed activity streams
  • Unlock data, knowledge, and intellectual property

Immersive Digital Experience

An industry roadmap should include digitization and unlocking access. For example,

In South Korea, all schools are connected to the internet with high-speed connections, all teachers are trained in digital learning, and printed textbooks will be phased out by 2016.

Creating an immersive digital experience requires building connected education software and hardware.  The business opportunity to build online learning courses, digital delivery platforms, and online educational environments is huge.

A robust market in educational software can unlock the full educational potential of these investments and create American jobs and export opportunities in a global education marketplace of over $1 trillion. Third-party validators can help schools find educational software (including apps) that provide content aligned with college- and career-ready standards being adopted and implemented by States across America.

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Published at DZone with permission of Chris Haddad, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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