NY Edtech Meetup Showcases New APIs for Data Interoperability and Integration

EdSurge friend Alex Sarlin filed the following report from the NY EdTech meetup.

NYEDTECH MEETUP: Since the Tower of Babel first came a-crumbling down, we humans have been hoping that a common language would allow us to build our dreams together. Educational technologists in particular tend to like our markup languages universal, our webs world wide and our cores common. It's easier to scale and collaborate when everybody can communicate with one another. That’s why the February 26 NYEdtech Meetup focused on a new generation of educational APIs, which promise interoperability and seamless integration between LMSs, SISs, vendor applications and content libraries.

  • Steve Kann of Blackboard gave a history of LTI (Learning Tools Infrastructure) and a preview of LTI 2.0, an update to the most well-trodden, well-proven LMS integration tool on the market, integrating LMS's from Sakai to Canvas and beyond.

  • Knewton CTO Ryan Prichard hinted that Knewton’s upcoming public API (described here) will allow content providers to borrow some of the company’s special adaptive sauce for their own users.

  • Jason Hoekstra from non-profit InBloom (formerly Shared Learning Collaborative) has live APIs on a GitHub portal that will allow seamless access to a huge variety of school data- performance, assessment, demographic, disciplinary, etc.- in nine pilot districts, including New York City. In the right hands, the possibilities are endless.

  • Anthony Cuellar showed off Pearson’s content-based APIs, which encourage a developer community to access and expound upon the publisher’s wide set of content libraries in creative new ways.

  • The TinCan API, presented by Megan Bowe, is the most idealistic, futuristic and flexible of the APIs; its grammar is specifically designed so that developers can collect, move and report types of educational data that haven’t even been conceived of yet.

  • Dan Carroll claims that it was his own frustration as a teacher trying to integrate new technology that led to the founding of Clever, which allows schools to integrate educational vendor products with data systems (SIS’s) easily and quickly. Clever’s API is being used in over 3,000 schools and by more than 50 edtech vendors in its first year alone. Talk about getting up to speed.
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