With the release of the IMS Global Annual Report for fiscal and calendar year 2014 I wanted to pass along a few heartfelt words of appreciation to the IMS members – a group of organizations that is reinventing the EdTech sector literally every day.
IMS Global is a very unique collaborative in which a collection of organizations that compete in the education sector agree to work together to advance the effective use of technology to serve education. Each IMS member organization, especially the Contributing Members (the voting members who are paying substantially greater annual dues and driving the IMS work agenda), understand that the goal is to help advance the entire sector.
Of course there are lots of other non-profit organizations where collaboration of various kinds occur. But in IMS the stakes are higher than most. IMS is constantly pushing the envelope on how to make educational technology more open and seamless across a myriad of suppliers and institutions. This goes against the grain and traditional wisdom of the platform dominance strategy that has been witnessed in much of the computing industry thus far in its relatively brief history (since the 1980’s or so). This sort of platform dominance is not going to happen in education as I have written about many times (see for instance here).
But, most importantly, the IMS members don’t just understand, they act. Everyone knows that the IMS staff is the best in the world at what they do. But, it is the development and adoption led by the IMS members that has gotten IMS to over 450 conformance certifications, including over 40 learning platforms.
Indeed, the growth curves for IMS Global are indicating that the IMS community is succeeding in deploying the shared architecture for educational innovation. In 2014 IMS Global added a net 56 new members against what had been a very consistent track record of adding a net of 20 a year for the prior 8 years. Twenty a year may not sound like much, but it is quite good for a standards consortium like IMS in an age that is dominated by “single-company standards” that are propagated for free under various tactics that support the originator’s platform dominance strategy. Even many “standards” activities and organizations are cleverly organized to give the appearance of distribution of control when closer examination shows a few primary beneficiaries. That is not the way IMS has ever worked or works today. IMS is truly a member-based consortium that seeks to provide benefit to all of our members (now approaching 300 as of this writing). And in IMS the voting members are equally weighted among institutional members (end-users) and suppliers.
So, my sincere “thank you” to each of the IMS members for paving the high road in developing the educational technology sector, and along the way enabling breakthroughs for how we all are thinking about “an architecture for educational innovation.” It has been a great honor for the IMS Board of Directors, the staff, and myself to play a small part in your momentous achievements so far – with many more to come!
See you at Learning Impact May 4-7, Atlanta! If you’re not going you are missing probably the BEST benefit of being an IMS Member . . . The Future of EdTech Starts Here!
Thanks for your leadership,