If you’ve ever played Oregon Trail, you know the journey was fraught with perils like snakes, cholera, broken limbs and a general store owner named Matt. But if you survived all that, you were rewarded with a wonderful life in a new, open land. When I played Oregon Trail back in the middle school computer lab, I didn’t know there would come a day when I’d be leading my own proverbial wagon train — on its way to the edtech promised land.
During the past year I’ve been focusing on the ‘open’ aspect of Canvas. I’ve spent a lot of time interacting with different vendors and groups who’re working to provide technology and standards in education. It seems everyone is on the hunt for the elusive edtech ecosystem, but nobody has really been able to get there.
It’s no secret that there’s way too much vendor lock-in and non-interoperability in edtech. Many startups don’t even bother to cooperate and just build their products outside the existing system. Even established non-edu companies have a hard time justifying all the one-off integrations needed to play in this space.
So, we’re setting out to change that, because it sucks — for everyone, but mostly for those on the ground actually trying to offer a good education. We’ve put together our wagon train of interoperability and we’re heading out for open land. And we’re bringing anyone along who wants to come.
The first big step came several weeks ago when we launched a repository of LTI-based tech integrations. This means any app in the repository will work in Canvas, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, etc.
And today we announced a bounty. We wanted to show our commitment to this movement so we’re offering to pay $250 to anyone who builds a qualifying LTI integration for an existing or brand new ed-tech product. In addition, we’ve organized a selection committee who will choose several top apps based on polish, novelty, interoperability and pedagogical value. Developers of these apps will receive $1,000 and be highlighted in the edu-apps directory.
So shoe your horses, grease your axles and stock up on jerky. This wagon train of open is heading out. Our destination: edtech interoperability.