K-12 School Districts and EdTech Leaders Commit to Making Open Standards the Cornerstone of the EdTech Ecosystem

IMS Global Learning Consortium Accelerates the Impact of OneRoster for Schools and Suppliers through the New Standards First Program


LAKE MARY, Florida, 23 March 2021 — IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS Global/IMS), the world-leading non-profit collaborative advancing edtech and learning impact, announced today the launch of the Standards First program to facilitate digital ecosystem interoperability.

The program consists of three key components:

  1. Continuous support services, including targeted technical resources and training for both edtech suppliers and school districts
  2. A new compatibility certification for edtech suppliers and school districts enabling verification of live product integrations
  3. A pledge of support for making open standards the first and primary choice for integrations

Over 50 IMS Contributing Members took the lead in supporting this initiative by signing the Standards First pledge. For institutions, the pledge demonstrates their advocacy for standards-based integrations and gives them a voice in the larger educational community. For suppliers, the pledge is an indicator of trust and transparency about their use of open standards. Now, anyone can endorse Standards First by signing the pledge.

IMS is launching Standards First with the IMS OneRoster® standard. An overwhelming number of school districts across the U.S. use OneRoster to get the digital resources they need on day one of learning. However, inconsistent implementation of the standard means the promise of plug-and-play integration—to securely and reliably exchange student data—falls short. Standards First is the best way to achieve an agile, scalable, data-rich edtech ecosystem that supports every institution and every learner.

"Standards First is a call-to-action for the entire edtech community, so all learners and learning institutions can get the choice, cost savings, and data privacy that open standards enable," said Dr. Rob Abel, chief executive officer, IMS Global Learning Consortium. "We are pleased to step up to lead Standards First because our members are those organizations in the edtech sector that are most dedicated to making standards-based integrations the norm in education and learning."

IMS Contributing Members signing the Standards First pledge in advance the public launch are Accelerate Learning, Inc., Amplify, Baltimore County Public Schools, Bibb County Public Schools, Blackboard, Broward County Public Schools, Burke County Public Schools, CatchOn, Cengage, Cisco, City Schools of Decatur, Classworks, Clayton County Public Schools, Crosstown High, D2L, EdGate Correlation Services, Edina Public Schools, Edmentum, Examity, Fayette County Public Schools, Forsyth County Schools, Fulton County Schools, Gainesville City Schools, Global Grid for Learning (GG4L), Gwinnett County Public Schools, Hall County Schools, Harford County Public Schools, Henry County Schools, Hudson School District, Idaho Digital Learning Alliance, iDatafy, Identity Automation, Illuminate Education, Infinite Campus, Inc., Instructure, Keller Independent School District, Kimono, Lee County Public Schools, Maryland State Department of Education, Michigan Data Hub, North Allegheny School District, OESIS Network, Oracle, Otus, Partners4Results, Richland School District Two, SAFARI Montage, Savvas Learning Company LLC, School District of Philadelphia, School District of Pickens County, Turnitin, Tyler Technologies, Unicon, Inc., VitalSource, and Volusia County Schools.

“The Standards First Pledge positions education organizations to leverage our collective voice to require an even playing field when purchasing and implementing instructional tools.”
—Emily E. Bell, Ed.D., Chief Information Officer, Fulton County Schools

"The Standards First initiative is critical for districts to be intentional with the adoption and implementation of data systems. Its aspirational goal allows for a deeper partnership between districts and instructional systems as we identify, plan, and implement data interoperability, which benefits all parties."
—Steve Buettner, Director of Media and Technology, Edina Public Schools

"As a smaller district, we can capitalize on the teamwork from IMS Standards First participants to achieve better equity in access to edtech resources for our students and teachers."
—Jill Hobson, CETL, Chief Technology Officer, Gainesville City Schools

"In collaboration with a community of edtech leaders, the Standards First initiative by IMS helps my district improve instruction while also providing the necessary support to ensure interoperability among our edtech products and resources."
—Brian Blanton, Ed.D., Chief Information Services Officer, Henry County Schools

"We are excited about IMS's Standards First initiative. Putting interoperability at the center of digital learning will help ensure equal access for all students."
—James Dale Cornelius, Chief Information Officer, Maryland State Department of Education

"At Gwinnett County Public Schools, we're encouraged that the Standards First initiative by IMS will help continue to move the industry towards full adoption and use of 1EdTech open standards."
—Dr. Debbie Durrence, Chief Data Officer, Division of Data Governance, Gwinnett County Public Schools

"Working with standards creates efficiency in education; standards allow our team to focus on what matters most, students. Standards First is putting students first."
—Ryan Gravette, Director of Information and Technology, Idaho Digital Learning Alliance

"IMS continues to support the students and teachers of Clayton County Public Schools with the Standards First initiative. This initiative is critical relative to supporting access to interoperable edtech tools and resources for all district stakeholders."
—Rod Smith, Chief Technology Officer, Clayton County Public Schools

"Seamless integration of our edtech resources is imperative for an effective digital ecosystem that serves all students and teachers. The IMS Standards First initiative ensures seamless integration with our edtech suppliers."
—Aaron Turpin, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent of Technology, Hall County School District

“In the School District of Pickens County, our commitment to the IMS standards stems from our commitment to provide an easily accessible, secure digital ecosystem for our students and teachers. Our teachers and students have come to expect web applications that work like “magic!” While they may not understand the technical specs behind making this work, those of us procuring the software do. The magic ingredients are the IMS Standards! IMS Certified products give us the confidence that apps will easily fit into our digital ecosystem with minimal effort, so our students can reap the instructional impact of the software quickly.”
—Barbara Nesbitt, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent for Technology Services, School District of Pickens County

“The IMS Standards First initiative is an important step forward at a time when, more than ever, the work of the IMS community is critical to supporting access and improving outcomes in teaching and learning around the globe. Blackboard is honored to be among the first to take the Standards First Pledge, which aligns clearly with our values and practices. A standards-first approach is at the foundation of our integration frameworks and our architectures. We have long promoted standards as the basis for third-party developers and partners to customize and extend our EdTech platform, and the Standards First initiative will further support this approach.”
—Tim Tomlinson, Chief Product Officer, Blackboard

"D2L is thrilled to be part of the IMS Standards First initiative. IMS community-developed and governed standards help institutions achieve a seamless, plug-and-play digital learning ecosystem while providing more choice and reducing total cost of ownership. This approach reflects D2L's mission to transform the way the world learns so that all students reach their full potential."
—David Koehn, Senior Vice President of Product Management, D2L

“The Standards First Initiative validates our strategic direction. As an industry collaborative for data exchange between schools and edtech vendors, GG4L is always pleased to promote open standards and the elimination of proprietary integration APIs. This initiative will further accelerate the digital transformation in schools while ensuring equity and improved security best practices.”

—Robert Iskander, Chairman & CEO, Global Grid For Learning (GG4L)

"We see IMS as a leader of this direction in the education market and are excited about partnering to contribute to the development and expansion of open standards. As an organization that is deeply committed to open standards in education, Standards First is a great way for us to demonstrate that commitment and link arms with our like-minded peers."
—Michael Webb, CTO, Identity Automation

“Infinite Campus fully supports IMS community efforts to drive digital ecosystem interoperability. Standards First empowers educators to maximize student achievement, which is central to our mission of Transforming K12 Education®.
—Barry Brahier, Ph.D., Chief Product Officer, Infinite Campus

“At Instructure, we believe that open standards are central to building highly efficient outcomes-driven learning environments. The Standards First initiative focuses on openness, seamless integration, and simplicity, which allow for a more effective connection at the point of learning between the educator and student, where it matters most."
—Melissa Loble, Chief Customer Experience Office, Instructure

“With the current volume of digital learning solutions and resources available to K-12 school districts, Standards First aims to move the bar in terms of ensuring these enterprise systems not only function together but support ecosystems designed to simplify the user experience for students, teachers, administrators, and parents. The program will help remove the complex technical issues that districts face when integrating their systems and allow them to focus on providing meaningful digital learning opportunities for their students.”
—Tim Beekman, President & Co-Founder, SAFARI Montage and Chair of the 1EdTech Board of Directors

“At Savvas Learning Company, we have always been committed to open standards and consider it a vital way to help our customers, teachers, students, administrators, and caregivers focus on the best teaching and learning experiences. Digital ecosystem interoperability is more important than ever, and we are wholeheartedly committed to the Standards First program.”
—Michael Chai, SVP Product Technology, Savvas Learning Company

"Tyler Technologies is honored to be an IMS Contributing Member and very excited to contribute to the early dialogue in support of the Standards First initiative. At Tyler, our vision of Connected Communities drives us to improve technology integration by schools and municipalities. The open integration standards set forward in the Standards First pledge are in alignment with that vision, and we believe it will result in the improved use of technology to drive student success."
—Sean Marlow, Sr. Vice President & General Manager, Schools Division, Tyler Technologies, Inc.

About IMS Global Learning Consortium
IMS Global Learning Consortium is a non-profit organization that advances technology to scale and improve educational participation and attainment affordably. IMS members are leading suppliers, higher education institutions, K-12 districts and schools, and government organizations that enable better teaching and learning by collaborating on interoperability and adoption initiatives. IMS sponsors the annual Learning Impact program to recognize the impact of innovative technology on educational access, affordability, and quality while developing the leadership and ideas to help shape the future of educational technology.