Edsby Unison™ addresses the biggest challenges of education data: interoperability, privacy and security

Edsby Unison

New education data platform and managed service standardizes current and past education data, making it available anywhere and in whatever form it’s needed, safely and securely

ANDOVER, MASS. (June 27, 2022) – Edsby®, an innovative vendor of K-12 education software, today introduced a system for helping learning organizations and governments eliminate silos between education data to ensure the right data about learners is always available to optimize their learning journeys.

Edsby’s Unison™ education data platform and managed service is designed to ensure better education data quality and actionability across states, provinces, and countries securely. Unison aggregates and standardizes current and past educational data and makes it interoperable while carefully managing the security critical with education data.

Customers use Unison for electronic student records that follow students through their education journeys. They also use it to transform education data from one type to another for application interoperability, or for region-wide learner analytics—all with strong roles-based access control to ensure only those authorized to access extremely sensitive data can do so.

National electronic student records in New Zealand
Unison forms the core of the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s national learner repository and data exchange, termed Te Rito locally. Educators and government agencies in New Zealand found it hard to access valuable information about learners when they moved between the country’s 2,536 schools. Information stayed locked in each school’s systems or took a long time to obtain. Sometimes children didn’t get the right support when they needed it. In 2018, the Ministry of Education selected what has become the Unison education data platform and began to work with Edsby to incorporate it.

“We heard needless stories of kids missing out on learning support like reading recovery, because by the time it was identified that they’d already been assessed for it, they were too old,” said Lisa Cheney, Business Design Lead in a New Zealand Ministry of Education Te Rito video.

“Unison revolutionizes educator access to what used to be far-flung learner data,” said Michael Middlemiss, former New Zealand Parliament CIO and Edsby Vice President, Unison. “The Ministry is now also deploying other secure applications based on Unison, including a national standardized Learner Support Registry (sLSR) to ensure children with learning needs get the support they’re entitled to.”

Unison interfaces with outdated and modern systems and uses a mix of secure open and proprietary standards to connect to data as needed.

Unlike bespoke approaches to converging a region’s data, Unison cost-effectively enables a way to enforce security and data governance policies while also solving the problem of education software interoperability with bi-directional connections to data sources. Unison’s core technology has safely managed the data of millions of students for more than 10 years. It has been certified to highest standards of data management and has been aligned to leading privacy and data protection standards such as ISO 27001 and GDPR.

“Unison provides educators and policymakers a more accurate picture of student learning. It accelerates innovation in teaching and learning, lets regions ready their education data systems for the future and protects student data with industry-leading safeguards,” said John Myers, CEO of Edsby. “Data always remains owned by the customer; it is only ever transformed and transported. It is never mined or otherwise monetized.”

Unison is now generally available. Learn more about Unison here.

About Edsby
Edsby has been building award-winning software for education for over thirty years. Company founders include the original architects of FirstClass, a messaging and collaboration system used by millions of students and teachers around the world and credited as the original learning management system, or LMS. The company’s close relationships with education customers over three decades have given it insights into problems faced by teachers, students, parents, and administrators. This gave the team inspiration in 2010 to create a completely new digital learning and data foundation for K-12 districts, regional and national governments using latest software technology.

The unique needs of K-12 are hard to meet with conventional technologies and standards. Since 2010, Edsby has been on a mission to support K-12 teaching and learning with the next generation social technologies of its Edsby social learning platform and iron-clad student data stewardship in the company’s underlying Unison education data system. Learn more at https://www.edsby.com.



Questions & Answers

Who would adopt Unison and why?

Unison is an enterprise-grade middleware software system and service intended for:

  • Local and state education agencies
  • State and provincial ministries/departments of education
  • Federal governments
  • System integrators and other solution providers

Business drivers include:

  • Region wide analytics aimed at identifying students at risk, underperforming curriculum, gaps in instruction, facilities or staff benefiting from professional development
  • Faster and more accurate state, provincial or federal education data collection and reporting
  • National and regional electronic student records of life-long learning
  • Enforcing data governance policies around who can access what type of education data, including individuals, facilities, agencies or roles in the region with proper rights to them
  • Transformation from one type of data to another for exchange between edtech applications


What differentiates Unison?

Other education data management systems are primarily aimed at aggregating data for analysis. Region-wide analytics are one driver of Unison adoption, but Unison’s unique two-way communication with education data sources enables applications such as those above requiring real time data transformation. An off-the-shelf software product with connections to 58+ systems and standards, and a proven ability to add new ones quickly, Unison is also faster and much less expensive to implement than custom solutions developed from the ground up.


How can Unison improve a region’s edtech data security?

Unison’s role-based architecture ensures stakeholders can access data they’re entitled to, but only the data they’re entitled to. Row-level database security and encryption protects stored data, and data in transit is always encrypted.

Edsby has a 10-year legacy of safely managing millions of student records. Company founders have built systems that have managed enterprise data for hundreds of millions of people without mishap over 30 years. Edsby’s data handling practices are certified to international ISO 27001 standards, providing assurance that customer data is securely managed, with annual re-certification.

Unison is subjected to regular penetration testing by third parties.


How expensive is Unison?

Integration, customization, training, and other costs are unique to every customer implementation. Contact Edsby for a Unison quote.