Undoubtedly one of the slower industries to adopt and widely use technology to reshape itself, education is finally coming around. Gradually, schools across the country are starting to allocate budgets toward digital initiatives and tech tools aimed at improving the learning experience and streamlining processes.
One example of a tech tool that has not yet been widely adopted in the education realm is the API (Application Programming Interface — or “under-the-hood” technical architecture that allow different systems to “talk to each other” and exchange data). Whether or not we’re aware, most of us enjoy the benefits of APIs every day through our use of mobile apps like Facebook, Uber, and countless others. Aside from the most well-known tech giants, companies in the finance, communications, and travel industries have caught on to the massive potential enabled by APIs — potential for growth and versatility.
We can’t help but to be excited by the EdTech Digest article titled “The Aspirational Thinking of the API Economy” by Micheal Heffernan for reinforcing the notion that the rise of APIs in the edtech space is going to create opportunities for automation and collaboration that, before now, have not been possible.
While the education industry has lagged behind other sectors in adoption, we are starting to see a new wave that will bring these advances to schools, teachers, admins, and students. Heffernan writes:
“By bringing systems together, APIs give users a sense of effortless mobility. Their simplicity makes all kinds of services instantly accessible. Customers gain massive benefits from speedier development cycles since the applications they use are constantly evolving behind the scenes, thereby offering a tangible sense of moving with change rather than resisting it.”
Imagine the possibilities when administrative functions, scheduling, attendance, learning management systems, and other edtech tools can all easily exchange data. The impact to personalized learning, to assessment, to mastery, and to actionable data would be magnificent.
Software companies and developers aren’t strangers to the education space — in fact, EdTech Digest (the source of the cited article) has an annual contest in which hundreds of software companies compete for title of the coolest school tool or trend setter in various categories — but most have yet to scratch the surface of the influence that APIs could have on education as a whole, not just as an industry.
Our company, Eduspire Solutions, has been developing applications that streamline and digitize administrative solutions within the context of education, primarily as standalone systems, but we are now moving in the direction of even more integration with data available from other school systems to improve functionality and user experiences.
Eduspire Solutions also supports developments of common standards around different data types to further facilitate this type of information exchange without the need for custom programming for each system’s API. Applications like our e-hallpass and FlexTime Manager seamlessly interact with system data from hundreds of schools across the country, creating a user experience that is truly integrated.
But this article on the API economy isn’t the first time we’ve felt a spark ignite our imagination about the future of edtech. Our guest post for GoGuardian, titled “Are Analog Processes in Schools Meant to Stay That Way?“, conceptualizes (and brings to life) real opportunities for modernization in the slow-to-adopt education space. Change is happening, and we’re excited for the future of edtech once APIs become a larger part of that change.