API Integration Helps K-12 Schools Get More from Existing Tools
Two related trends are converging in the current K-12 education landscape.
The first concerns parents’ evolving preferences for school-to-home communications. Parents believe messages should be personalized and timely, according to a recent survey by Project Tomorrow and Blackboard, Inc. Most especially, they value convenience: they don’t want to waste time looking for important updates and they expect information to be pushed directly to them.
The second trend is the explosion of learning management systems (LMS) in the classroom. Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology and Blackboard have created robust learning environments that make it easier to store content and stay on top of student performance. In fact, the LMS global market is expected to more than triple by 2025, reaching $18.44 billion, according to Insight Partners.
Because these platforms are the source of critical information about student performance and workload, school districts must make it as easy as possible for teachers to share LMS data and insights with parents. One way to do this is to integrate the LMS into the school’s communications technology.
Let’s take a closer look at how integration helps schools exceed parent expectations for more effective and personalized communications.
Streamline communications with API integration
Update parents through their preferred channels. Email is the preferred method of communications, but a notable share of parents say they’d rather get updates via text message (39 percent) or phone call (32 percent). With LMS and communications integrated, administrators and staff can share student updates according to each parent’s preference.
Personalize every interaction. Integration also gives teachers instant access to student information directly from their phone or a dashboard on their desktop. When a parent calls or sends a text message, educators can review the student’s record, instantly take note of progress and answer questions quickly and accurately.
Improve collaboration between school and home. Collaboration tools give teachers the ability to meet with students and parents via videoconference at more convenient times. When necessary, a teacher can delve more deeply into a lesson, providing after-school help in a meaningful way without having to leave the classroom. Working parents can have face-to-face conferences with teachers without having to adjust their work schedule.
Enhance student collaboration. Videoconferencing capabilities also bring teachers together with several students at a time for homework, after-school projects and tutoring. With access to course materials on the LMS, teachers and students also collaborate more efficiently during each session.
Tailor notifications to specific group needs. By integrating their LMS and communications technology, schools can tailor educational updates by classroom or section. For example, setting up a homework hotline is simple and provides direct access to relevant course material on the LMS.
Realize the full potential of investments
As K-12 administrators roll out new learning management systems for their schools, they can enhance their investment’s value by integrating the platform with their communications technology. That’s why, when choosing a vendor, they should be sure API integration is part of the package.
Consider these requirements when evaluating communications technology.
- An IP-based communications system that allows schools to share applications across the network cost-effectively.
- Seamless integration with third-party applications and systems.
- Connectors and plug-ins to speed up the integration process.
- Partner integrations with LMS market leaders.
- An open development environment based on Web Services Definition Languages (WSDLs) that uses SOAP and XML or REST/JSON over https. This allows application developers to choose their own programming language, development environment, operating system and hardware platform.
- Seamless integration with cloud-based applications.
By linking LMS and communications technology via API integration, K-12 schools streamline and enhance the interactions between administrators, teachers, parents and students. In doing so, they create a learning environment that’s more engaging, saves teachers time, fosters collaboration and makes it easier for parents to be more engaged in the learning process.