Q: What is inBloom?
inBloom is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a valuable resource to teachers, students and families, to improve education. We solve a common technology issue facing school districts today: the inability of electronic instructional tools used in classrooms to work in coordination with (or “talk to”) one another.
Q: How does inBloom work?
inBloom’s technology enables widely varied instructional tools to work together so that teachers can more easily tailor education to the needs, skill level and learning pace of each individual student. We also enable districts to engage parents more deeply in their children’s learning, to save teachers time and to save schools money. In addition, inBloom offers a substantial security upgrade to the common resources being used, including paper records or disconnected and antiquated databases with few security features.
Q: How are inBloom’s services different from what districts are already doing?
Currently, student information regularly collected by school districts is housed in paper files and electronic systems. In many cases, the multiple systems are incompatible with one another. Teachers often bear the burden of either printing numerous files or accessing numerous databases to view and interpret information. This process can present obstacles for teachers who are trying to maximize their insight into learning and suggest the best strategies for success. inBloom connects disparate existing systems with a single-access point where teachers can view and easily match students’ specific needs with tailored instruction. inBloom can also help districts provide parents with user-friendly dashboards that show real-time updates on data selected and controlled by the districts, such as grades, assignments and academic progress. Without inBloom, implementing such dashboards and tools is more costly and time-intensive.
Q: How does inBloom help teachers?
inBloom makes it easier for teachers to see a more complete picture of individual student progress than what most currently have access to through its secure, single-access point. With this information teachers are able to better identify where each student needs extra attention, and to tailor education materials that maximize the one-on-one time they spend with students.
Further, currently it’s difficult for teachers to find the many valuable instructional materials that exist across the country or even in their own school districts. Additionally, teachers in most school districts are burdened by having to gather student information from multiple databases in order to track student progress. Through its resource index, inBloom saves teachers valuable time by helping them more easily search for and share these materials.
Q: How does inBloom help parents to better engage in their child’s education?
Through inBloom, districts can provide parents with user-friendly dashboards that show real-time updates on their child’s grades, assignments and academic progress. In this way teachers and parents can more easily communicate regarding each child’s progress, allowing them to engage each other and the child’s learning progress more deeply.
Q: How does inBloom handle information about students?
States and districts are responsible for protecting student information. In accordance with both law and inBloom policies, inBloom is a third party service provider covered by FERPA, responsible for being an information steward to these public officials. inBloom provides each participating school district with its own protected storage space, so that district can continue to manage and control access to its own data, just as it always has.
Q: Who determines what data is stored on inBloom’s technology?
States and school districts decide what student information is stored, and how that data is used.
Q: What information can states and districts store about students using inBloom?
States and districts determine what student information is stored, how this information is used, and who gets access to the records, just as they always have. inBloom simply gives each district its own protected storage area, with the ability to organize information based on a set of education data elements called the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), which was developed by the U.S. Department of Education, with input from local education agencies, vendors and teachers. CEDS lists more than 400 possible data fields that states and districts can choose to collect when using a service like inBloom. The decision on what data fields to store is made by the states and districts, and is based on the solutions they wish to provide to teachers, students and parents.
Q: Will inBloom sell student data to anyone?
No, inBloom does not and will never sell any student data to anyone.
Q: What information will be available to third-party vendors?
Districts that use inBloom in conjunction with applications and services may choose to disclose certain student information to trusted third-party providers to power the learning applications that are implemented in their classrooms. Those disclosures are controlled by the school district, not inBloom. Application providers are only permitted to use selected data for the purposes for which they were contracted and specifically authorized by the district.
Q: What assurances do we have that student information is protected?
inBloom understands that security is of the utmost concern for states and school districts as well as parents and students. It has always been – and continues to be – inBloom's top priority to develop and deliver best-in-class security protections for its systems and information that passes through them. As such, inBloom has a full complement of security controls to prevent, detect and respond to possible security problems. For example, because continually monitoring for attacks is essential, inBloom has logging and monitoring safeguards in place, and routinely scans for changes, possible vulnerabilities or system weaknesses with a variety of industry-standard security tools. In addition, inBloom uses encryption technologies, which scramble information into an unreadable format in an effort to prevent unauthorized access.
Q: Who monitors inBloom’s privacy and security policies?
Q: How is inBloom funded?
inBloom was established as an independent, nonprofit organization to carry forward the mission of the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) and make personalized learning a reality for every student in America. inBloom is funded with initial philanthropic support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.