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Takeaways from Learning Impact 2012 - Part I Introduction

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Every year I like to take some time to reflect on the Learning Impact conference experience, this year held May 14-17 in Toronto. In 2011 I wrote up my summary as a single short paper for the IMS community.  This year, with the introduction of the Learning Impact Blog, I will be posting a series of short summary pieces over the next few weeks.

Our number one goal with the Learning Impact conference when we created it 6 years back was to create a conference on educational technology that leaders would actually want to go to and attend the sessions because they provided real insight into where the educational technology industry was going.  The nice thing about doing this as the IMS Global Learning Consortium is that was are a member consortium that “makes our living” so to speak by actually doing things. Our main priority is not to observe, exchange, write about things. Our main priority is to help the education industry transform by doing collective good work around technical standards, adoption and impact. One of my favorite sayings that I use a lot in presentations to distinguish IMS is, “After all has been said and done, a lot more will have been said than done.” In IMS we are about doing. We will always do a lot more than we will write or talk about it.

In a separate post I have characterized the current state of educational technology adoption and interoperability as being equivalent to the adoption of electricity to homes and use of electrical appliances in 1900 – see It Will Be Us, It Will Be Now. We have a long way to go, but we also are seeing the foundation take shape.

What makes IMS special is that we are a community of organizations and individuals that is working actively to realize the foundation that is needed for educational technology. In this introduction I would like to thank the IMS member organizations and the many leaders who came to Learning Impact 2012.

In the posts that follow I will be giving my impressions of what we learned.  In 2012 we focused on the state of digital learning platforms (learning management systems, apps, tools), the state of digital content (e-textbooks and beyond), the state of mobile technology for learning, the state of e-assessment and the state of technology applied to continuous instructional improvement (closed loop learning, professional development, curriculum improvement, individualized learning), institutional leadership in adopting technology, and, of course, the Learning Impact Awards. We also had the most infamous and controversial LMS smack down panel in the many years of being the only conference that has the top dogs from the market leaders face off.  I will be covering each of these areas in subsequent posts.

The focus will be on movement. If there is a lack of movement where I believe the IMS community would like to see more, I will call that out. This is about working together to create the change we would like to see. If you want to run in place with respect to educational technology adoption – or pretend that the latest fad is an innovation – well, then I suggest you not tune in. If you want to understand how the leaders are laying the foundation for the future today – then this should be interesting to you.

Many thanks to Jeff Swain of Penn State for his blog post with his unsolicited impressions of the Learning Impact conference! I’d have to say that this is a pretty typical reaction from a newcomer.

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