The Top 10 Education APIs (And Why They’re Important)

First off, what is an API?

API stands for Application Program Interface. It’s a tool which allows web applications (websites and apps to the layman) to communicate with each other and share information stored in each other’s databases. This information can then be incorporated into new and different projects.

How APIs Work (Simple Version)

We like to think about it in culinary terms. Let’s say each website is a restaurant. One restaurant, Super Salads needs some avocados.

Next door, at Mexicana Meals, they make excellent  guacamole. If Mexicana Meals doesn’t have an API, the only way the chef at Super Salads can borrow avocado is if he sits down at a table, orders guacamole from the waiter and then separates the avocado from the tomato and onions before he puts it into a salad.

If Mexicana Meals does have an API, the chef can walk through the back door into the kitchen and politely ask the other chef if he can borrow an avocado.  Salad and guacamole use the same avocado to make two different foods and an API lets them share their supply.

An API (a.k.a Avocado Procurement Interface) is what allows you to sign into Noodle with Facebook and read our Tweets on this blog. If Facebook and Twitter didn’t offer API’s, you’d only be able to log into Facebook at Facebook.com and you’d only be able to see your tweets on Twitter.

Why is it important?

API’s are incredibly valuable for education. Being able to share data about student progress levels, education resources, and classroom ideas means that everyone learns more. Whether it’s a teacher sharing instructional videos with her classroom or a branch of government trying to allocate funds for its education budget.

The White House recently gathered a number of education professionals to brainstorm how to put education data to use to better help students, educators and governments. We were proud to take part in it and we’ll keep you updated as the White House’s initiative gets started. In the meantime, we wanted to help other educators find APIs that might be helpful to them.

[Click the title of any of the listings below to learn more.]

Khan Academy

An online learning and instruction platform (non-profit) used to provide a well rounded education. Created by Salman Khan, this collection of over 1600 videos provides knowledge in many subjects including math, history, and science. This API provides a free resource to the Khan Academy databases and allows the user to share the information given on the site.
Access API here.

Blackboard Collaborate

An online learning platform, which uses interactive software to bring people virtual classrooms, instant messaging with teachers and students, and web conferences around the world. This API allows developers of sites to merge Blackboard Collaborate with any LMS, CMS, VLE or portal.
Access the API here

Data.ed.gov

Data.ed.gov is a website that provides information about the Department of Education grants. this API provides Datasets, and performance statistics from public K-12 schools. The website is part of the Open Government Initiative.
Access the API here

Knewton

Online Learning Platform, Knewton has adapted their learning platform to the individual students needs. Providing customized courses in SAT, GMAT, LSAT. This API allows developers to retrieve Knewton’s own data for other applications and applications, such as grading and teaching procedures which can adapt to the students needs or demands.
Access the APIhere.

EnGrade

EnGrade connects 3.1 million administrators, teachers, students, and parents. Using online classroom tools such as gradebook, secure messaging, homework calendar, online quizzes, and flashcards. This API allows developers to merge class management tools and accommodate students, with a student reference page.
Access the API here.

Clever

Clever is a data organization tool. Helps developers for software and school administration, this API provides data processing, organizing, integration, and security for student information, it also provides information retrieval functionalities.
Access the API here.

Europeana

Europeana allows the exploration of digital resources of Europe’s museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. This API allows users to develop apps that could display collections of Europeana metadata.
Access the API here.

Schoology

is a learning management system and social network that makes it easy to create and share academic content. used throughout the K-12 levels and also in higher learning. This API allows developers to track users, and students data and usage and recycle that information for other sites.
Access the API here.

WorldCat

WorldCat is a collection of over 72000 libraries from over 170 countries from around the world. This API allows the application to search the WorldCat catalog this contains thousands of member libraries around the globe this contains bibliographic records, individual records discover books, videos, music, electronic content.
Access the API here.

Library of Congress

The US national library, in Washington, DC. One of the greatest and largest Library collections on earth serves as the U.S official library and research center. The API uses methods of  Search/Retrieve via URL which is a standard search protocol for Internet search queries.
Access the APIhere.

About The Author
Noodle Education is the first and only life-long education-related search company in the world.  Our goal is to provide a  recommendation engine to help anyone find educational opportunities  at all levels, from K-12 to college, grad school, weekend classes, and professional development. Check Noodle out on Twitter here or on Facebook here.

3 Comments

  1. Cecile

    July 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    This is great – love the way the data is being used to personalize learning and share resources. Recently posted about the Shared Learning Collaborative’s API here- a play-by-play break down of what data is used, where it goes, and how. http://slcedu.org/blog/understanding-our-api

  2. April

    August 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Hi — there’s an error in this story — Schoology is the name of the company, not Schoolology. http://www.schoology.com. Thanks!

    • Jeff Dunn

      August 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Fixed! Thanks so much April!