Kimono: Seamless Integration for Student Learning Systems

Steve Curtis, CEO, KimonoSteve Curtis, CEO
In a technological landscape as diverse as that of K-12, interoperability between a slew of applications remains to be painstakingly complicated. Steve Curtis, a technological evangelist and education technology leader, observes, “Many districts have adopted enterprise learning management systems, assessment systems, digital curriculum, and other advanced learning systems apart from back-office systems. An average classroom now uses 30 different applications.” Evidently, in the case of learning systems, the need to share student performance data with other systems has become critical. In the rapidly evolving student information system (SIS) market, the sheer number of market share providers poses yet another challenge. Maneuvering through the labyrinth of challenges in the K-12 arena, Kimono is at the forefront of confronting these pain points with its state-of-the-art cloud-based platform or integration platform as a service (iPaaS)—a comprehensive solution for all major integration setbacks in K-12.

Curtis, CEO of Kimono, says, “Kimono enables secure sharing of student and staff information among many software applications in a school using our iPaaS, continuously acquiring data from applications.” Following that, the platform exchanges the data over a Publish & Subscribe architecture that supports a growing number of industry-standard data models, infrastructures, and APIs. Additionally, it connects applications using the best method for each one, without point-to-point integrations. It scales easily as more capacity is needed, making it ideal for a large number of accounts. It also helps application teams get control of all their integrations in one place. Diagnostics are centralized in one console for all integrations, as are tools to map, append, and transform data.

The Kimono integration platform connects to the SIS of a school district, normalizes the data into a standard data model and then allows partners with district authorized access to pull it out in their preferred format.

Kimono enables secure sharing of student, staff, and learning data among many software applications in a school using its iPaaS, continuously acquiring data from applications

The Kimono platform is standards-agnostic—supporting OneRoster, Learning Information Services (LIS), Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), and many more. Consequently, regardless of how the data is ingested— whether over a customized API, utilizing an industry standard, or via a flat file import—the platform runs it through a common ingestion pipeline, transforms it to a common data set, and transfers it to the target application. This streamlining and standardization makes integrations less prone to error. As data changes in SIS, Kimono publishes it out to the learning apps. And unlike other competitor platforms in the space, Kimono is not restricted to just transferring data from SIS to learning apps, but also shares learning data back to the SIS. This stands as the key differentiator for Kimono.

Curtis cites an instance wherein Instructure encountered a major challenge with a majority of its customers demanding more for data synchronization. For example, a customer wanted to name their Canvas courses after the SIS section, whereas another preferred a complex naming convention that includes the term, course name, and teacher name concatenated in one string. The Kimono Platform allowed Instructure to offer their customers these kinds of customizations with its flexible mapping tool that enabled Instructures’ integration consultants to seamlessly put together the integration logic like a puzzle, without any involvement from their engineering resources, the customer, or the Kimono team.

Venturing ahead, Kimono is expanding into Europe and Australia with in-region, privacy compliant implementations this spring. Later this year, Kimono will supplement their platform with a bring-your-own-data-model—first grades, then attendance, assessment, and much more. “We will continue to add integration partners, expand integration standards, and make large-scale implementations easier along with the ability to import/ export integration customizations,” concludes Curtis.