Education Technology Trends - Part III - Adaptive Learning, Legacy Systems Integration

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
Aug. 26 2013, 07:01AM EDT

The final post of this three-part series features information about adaptive learning technology and integration with legacy systems. Check out part two here.

Adaptive Learning

Wikipedia defines Adaptive Learning as "an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices." The basic concept of adaptive learning is further explained in a Knewton blog post as "the notion that computers can improve educational outcomes."

The concept of adaptive learning originated in the 1970s with the artificial-intelligence movement. The availability of adaptive learning technology platforms has increased in recent years due to education technology development companies such as Knewton and Edmodo.

Knewton

Knewton

Knewton provides the tools and infrastructure needed to create powerful adaptive learning applications. Through strategic partnerships with learning companies and content providers such as Macmillan Education, Triumph Learning and Pearson, Knewton makes it possible to enable personalized education on a massive scale.

There is a Knewton API available to approved Knewton partners that allows the platform to be integrated with new and existing digital learning products and platforms.

Edmodo

Edmodo

Edmodo is an educational platform that provides tools and resources that enable teachers and students to engage in project collaboration, find and use educational resources, measurement of student progress, use of personalized applications and other adaptive learning activities.

Edmodo provides developers an API that can be used to build and market applications that extend the Edmodo platform and utilize core features including assignments, badges, and the gradebook.

Integration with Legacy Systems

The integration of cloud applications, mobile applications and other new technologies with legacy systems is often difficult, very time consuming and expensive.

Very few educational systems and related platforms connect to each other which has caused most educational data to be kept in silos. However, there are a few companies that provide the technology and tools needed to integrate education legacy systems with new technologies.

LearnSprout

LearnSprout

The mission of LearnSprout is "to make education data universally accessible yet secure." LearnSprout has developed and deployed a universal API for K-12 education that simplifies the integration of new technologies with student information systems (SIS).

LearnSprout also provides real-time student performance analytics via the free LearnSprout dashboard which was introduced at the SIIA Innovation Incubator contest in New York in November 2012. In March 2013, LearnSprout announced that more than 3,300 schools had registered for the new Dashboard (beta version). A production version of the LearnSprout Dashboard was released in July 2013.

The new Dashboard utilizes the LearnSprout Connect API retrieving live student information data from a school's existing system then converting and visualizing the data into easy to read charts and graphs. LearnSprout CEO Frank Chien comments on the popularity of the new Dashboard in the press release:

"We knew from talking with our school partners that we were on to something big with Dashboard, but even we have been amazed by how much pent-up demand is out there. Existing solutions tend to be expensive and hard to integrate, so most schools have no good way of seeing the data inside their own student information systems."

Clever

Clever

Clever is an educational technology integration platform that makes it possible to quickly and easily integrate existing student information systems with cloud applications, mobile applications and other new technologies.

According to an article on Education Week, in July 2013 the number of schools using Clever had grown to over 6,000. In the Education Week article, Dan Carroll, Clever COO explains the importance of connecting student data with the Clever platform:

"Clever makes sure that updates to critical data in district student information systems - student enrollment status, class rosters, teacher schedules - are updated within the learning applications as soon as they happen. That means that when a student switches schools or changes classes, her online learning data instantly moves with her."

The Clever API allows data from a broad range of Student Information Systems (SIS) to be pulled in real time then converted to a format that allows the data to be used in web and mobile applications as well as other online learning platforms.

Conclusion

The rise of disruptive educational technologies along with the increasing development of learning platforms and APIs is greatly impacting the education industry and changing the future of education as a whole. Whether MOOCs and other disruptive educational technologies negatively or positively impact the course of the education industry, remains to be seen.

Janet Wagner Janet is a data journalist and full stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, data visualization, machine learning, and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @webcodepro and on Google+

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