Why are APIs Important for the Education Industry?
API’s are incredibly valuable for education. Being able to share data about student progress levels, education resources, and classroom ideas allows everyone to learn 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.
What is an API?
API stands for Application Program Interface. It’s a tool that allows web applications (websites and apps to the layperson) to communicate with each other and share information stored in their databases. This information can then be incorporated into new and different projects.
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 APIs, you’d only be able to log into Facebook at Facebook.com and you’d only be able to see your tweets on Twitter.
We've put together the beginnings of an API directory to help others in the education industry. We'd like to make it collaborative. If you know of one that isn't included here, please contact us
and we'll add it to the directory.