Your Feedback Wanted: More Open ED Data

I am part of a team that is looking at ways to enhance the Department’s digital services and respond to the White House’s Digital Government Strategy.  We are spearheading a new initiative to make more of the data ED publishes open and developer-friendly via web application programming interfaces (APIs).  APIs allow web developers to pull data from one or more API-enabled sources into another website, application, or mobile app. It makes sharing information more fluid and current.  Check out the currently available 16 ED datasets with APIs on ED.gov.

Open Gov LogoThe Department of Education and the White House are reaching out to developers interested in working with education open data. The Data Jam held in June kicked off development of projects and tools to be presented at an Education Datapalooza event to be held at the White House in October 2012. Datapalooza will be an opportunity to highlight tools and services that leverage open educational data sets (education.data.gov), individual electronic student data (MyData), and data about learning content (Learning Registry) to improve student choices around learning.  Datapalooza will be streamed live (and posted online afterwards) for anyone who wants to participate. Email the team at edtech@ed.gov for more details about the event plans, or if you are currently working/interested in working on open educational data integrations.

But Datapalooza is only the first step to engage the public. We want to hear from you – developers and all of our customers. Tell us which ED data sets and online tools have data that should be more open. Great ideas come from everywhere. If you have an idea for an app that would help you and the public access certain types of information, let us know. Your input will help us prioritize the suggestions made here and some of the ideas we already have in mind.

To get the conversation started, here are a few datasets that could be enabled through API:

For more ideas, see our datasets on Data.gov/education/ and our lists of ED-funded websites and online tools.

Comments open on this blog post will be open through August 20. Our team plans to analyze your feedback and set out a plan for making more of our websites and tools more mobile in the coming months.

Thanks for taking the time to tell us what you think!

Jill James is Web Director at the U.S. Department of Education

9 Comments

  1. We have plenty of focus on learning and achievement data… what about student engagement data? Specifically:
    – Attendance
    – Grades
    – Assignment completion rates
    – Discipline events

    It would be very useful if we could pull this data (anonymized) from student information systems (SIS) and compare schools to a regional, state or national metric.

    Another idea: Some schools are called “Drop-out Factories” when the truth is, there is no standard for what qualifies as a drop out, and certainly there is no system for tracking them. Most school districts underreport drop-outs as they simply enter into their SIS what they’ve been told: That the student has transferred to a new district.

  2. An educational tool to help guide my senior in high school through the college path? Yes, absolutely. As ideas on majors and changing GPA’s have influenced where best to go to school and what to take and how to get out of school with a degree would be a huge help. As a mother of a less than organized high school senior who will worry when he is gone, yet refuses to be a helicopter parent, I would love to know that he has such a tool at his disposal.

  3. Congratulations on extending your open data initiiatives. A data set I would suggest be enabled on an open data platform are FASFA completion rates by school. This information is newly available and can be downloaded but would be very useful to obtain via an API. Thanks for your consideration.

  4. As an entrepreneur working to make schools more efficient and education more affordable, all I can say is thank you all so much for this initiative. I think one of the greatest untapped resources for schools is the transactional data on their expenditures on goods and services they purchase. By making this data open and available for entrepreneurs like myself and my cofounder to work with, we can do all sorts of incredible stuff – from creating an interactive interface for parents and citizens to see where budgets are being spent, to creating a collaborative purchasing platform to empower schools to leverage their buying power and drive economies of scale. I truly believe this initiative, if executed correctly, could be the tipping point in creating the technologies and resources necessary to help transform our schools, from K-12 through HigherEd, for the better

  5. I agree with Nancy’s viewpoint: I too am a mother of 2 highschool students. My oldest will be a senior this school year and I feel overwhelmed with what needs to be done, especially since there are no simple instructions to guide parents of college bound students. A GPS-type model for education would not only simplify the steps a student interested in higher education would need to take, but assist the parent in guiding their child towards studies that would be of use when they complete their degree and begin searching for a place in the workforce. It is very sad when a student completes his/her 4-year degree studies, only to realize very few job opportunities are available in their field of studies.
    Thank you.

  6. As a mother of three, two in college and one in high school, it would make sense to give parents practical tools to navigate the depth and breadth of the educational landscape and choices. My kids use GPS technology to get around Houston, TX, and immediately have updated information such as alternative traffic routes, how much gas is left in the tank, and how much further to their destination. I am not sure if GPS uses API’s and really don’t care. I am just grateful that the planners of travel devices were insightful to realize people want to get places in an efficient manner with useful information, no matter where they are traveling or what kind of car they have. Surely, all the educators working on ‘real’ issues should be able to produce something that is practical and simple for one of the most important assets in America, education. As a parent, I watch my sons work hard at getting through school but stand bewildered that they have no tools, applications, advice and practical pathways that are self-navigated. The open data concept sounds interesting, but is over the head of the average parent. Will there ever be a day when education can have devices that self-navigate like the health and travel industries have. My sons both go to Lone Star College in Houston and they heard about something like an EPS/GPS that can begin to provide navigation. This sounds interesting for parents as it will help direct our children and us no matter what school or college they attend. They showed me the following website and said students are all excited about this concept. http://nesc.challenge.gov/submissions/7550-the-educational-positioning-system.

    Thanks for asking the average American parent
    Nancy Nation

  7. No teacher worth their salt needs any information supplied by the standardized test.

    Most of the information is erroneous, as test-taking among kids is precarious and not standard, making all that flows from the test pretty much useless.

    Teacher who are with their students each day have the information they need–they are the teacher after all.

    Your obsession with data proves you are unable to understand the needs of teachers, students, or parents.

    We don’t need tech. We need better students–ones not mired in poverty.

    Remember, “Liberty and JUSTICE for ALL” is what we’re about, not just some of us.

  8. For the teacher in the classroom, the most useful data they could have at their fingertips, say on an ipad or phone app., would be access to their students’ standardized test scores. I imagine say a 6th grade teacher working with students who are struggling readers and being able to look up their 5th grade reading SOL scores and quickly identify what areas they had difficulty with on the test. This is just-in-time access to data. Currently they have to login to a complicated data warehouse with Oracle reports that are not easy to navigate to, nor are they easy to filter and sort through to find their own students.

    As a technology resource teacher, that’s what I’d be interested in developing. Something that benefit the classroom teacher, and in the long run not only improves student achievment, but satisfies decision makers.

    • the only thing a student of sixth grade would need is a wormth heart and not so much rules this and rules that.. There is enough pushing the childern to computer classes, or just giv ing up on themselves.. Human average is the known configuaration 60,40,75 with a 96degree.. ground leval people…not in airfoil…

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