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Learning Impact Blog

IMS Global CEO Rob AbelRob Abel, Ed.D. | January 2020

Simple Ideas Changing the Path of EdTech

“Will the circle be unbroken?” —The Carter Family

As we enter a new decade, I find myself pondering an age-old question at the heart of the well-known gospel song that has recently received prominence via the Ken Burns series on Country Music. What endures in this life and beyond?

I would submit to you that what is enduring about the IMS Global Learning Consortium and the collaborative work of the member organizations are a few rather simple, but powerful ideas:

  • We must invest in coming together to enable and own the future we seek. The stakeholders in the development and adoption of educational technology, including institutions, suppliers, and governments, must come together as partners to encourage, own, and support the evolution of edtech innovation. This idea is all about leadership in sponsoring and engaging to find the areas where we can all work together for a better future. When done right, together, we go farther faster. It’s about leadership among C-level executives that they need to be the leaders in ensuring the engagement in setting the course and bringing the resources.

  • We can define and evolve the connectivity that enables our technology ecosystem. The primary objective of the IMS collaboration is an acceleration of progress in terms of technology innovation that supports end-user productivity and the ease by which innovative educational ideas can be implemented. There is an underlying hypothesis here that a collaborative ecosystem of connected products designed to work together is a better future. We know this to be true for two reasons: (1) disconnected products and educational achievements are “expensive” because someone must do the work to connect them to the larger ecosystem, and (2) there is no single supplier that can be the all-encompassing solution or provide the complete ecosystem for the end-users in education. This is all about breaking down barriers to the future, whether they be integration barriers or K-12, HED, corporate learning barriers.

  • We must share and learn from our collective impact measured by the success of every student and the diverse missions of each of our partner institutions. The bar for success can be no less than fundamental and sustainable change for the betterment of each student and our educational systems worldwide. Igniting of passion for learning and education is what unites the IMS community. But it is also the fact that we create tangible impact today that changes the future. The world of edtech is fundamentally different now than before IMS Global’s success with LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability). That is just one example of quite a few impressive accomplishments that come from the IMS partners focusing on fundamental leverage points in the ecosystem. The point is that such a historic level of collaboration needs to manifest itself in enriching teaching and learning experiences on a large scale.

The successes we have had so far as a community have come from focusing on these pretty simple ideas that hopefully, with your help and commitment, will endure.

This year’s Learning Impact Leadership Institute has the theme of Equity, Agency, and Mastery: Enabling the Next Generation of Student Success. We are all very excited about how the program is shaping up—so please check it out and join us in Denver, May 18-21, to help us make a better edtech ecosystem!

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