For K-12 education leaders working to create a more integrated, interoperable digital ecosystem, Learning Impact Leadership Institute was the place to be! This year’s conference attracted nearly 600 attendees representing K-12 districts, higher education institutions, states, and edtech suppliers from around the world. At this unique event, the best thinkers in edtech come together to make progress towards enabling better digital learning experiences. The power of Learning Impact comes from the community of IMS members, a true collaboration of institutions and suppliers.

As co-chairs of IMS Global’s K-12 Institutional Leadership Board, we had a chance to experience all aspects of the conference. Here are our top moments of the week:

1Edtech
IMS announced a new initiative called One EdTech (1EdTech). 1EdTech is a collaboration that will make it radically easier for school districts to make digital resources and applications available to teachers and students. 1EdTech consists of a secure, trusted cloud-based registry and connection service that will enable any edtech provider to connect to any school district’s learning platform, portal, or student system using IMS’s OneRoster standard. Once a participating organization has integrated they will be able to connect to any of the institutions or suppliers on the other side. 1EdTech will be free to all IMS member organizations that have OneRoster certified products.

Free 50-state digital K-12 academic standards registry
The IMS CASE® Registry will be based on the new Competency and Academic Standards Exchange® (CASE) open standard from IMS Global. The registry is expected to be fully operational in September and will include standards for all 50 states. IMS member school districts, states, and suppliers have asked IMS to help solve one of the key challenges holding back adoption of digital materials, namely the need to be able to easily align all digital materials, regardless of source, to a publicly available digital representation of state standards IMS is taking the next step to set up and sustain a freely available public registry. Several state educational agencies (SEAs) are already moving to support the CASE standard and IMS will work with SEAs to mirror official versions of state standards.

LTI Advantage
This is the first time IMS member organizations and suppliers were able to show off their implementations of the exciting and new LTI Advantage, a package of extensions that build on the core Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI®) standard to add new features that enable deeper integration of any learning tool with any LMS. LTI Advantage makes it easier for educators to innovate and meet the unique learning needs of students, save time provisioning courses, and dramatically reduce integration times. Currently, the LTI Advantage extensions are Names and Role Provisioning Services, Deep Linking, and Assignment and Grade Services.

William (Bill) Graves Award winners
The Bill Graves Leadership Award is granted to individuals who have made an extraordinary difference in realizing the mission of IMS Global, which is to advance technology that can affordably scale and improve educational participation and attainment. This year’s winners are Lenny Schad, chief technology information officer for Houston Independent School District (ISD), and Beatriz Arnillas, senior education advisor for itslearning (formerly director of education technology for Houston ISD). Schad and Arnillas have had a tremendous impact on Houston ISD in the development and implementation of the Power-Up Hub (Houston’s integrated learning platform) and on the edtech community at large. We both have benefited personally from their contributions.

The award is named after one of the founders and eventual Board chair of IMS Global, Dr. Graves. Graves and his work had a profound impact, not just on IMS Global, but also on many successful organizations that he founded and touched.

Bridging the gaps between K-12 and higher ed
An opening panel brought together a very distinguished group to address how K-12 is quickly transitioning from a traditional classroom to an “un-classroom” in which every student is immersed in digital curriculum that is increasingly personalized to meet each student’s unique learning needs. The panel discussed a variety of topics including the need for K-12 to better prepare students to be ready to succeed when they arrive on college campuses. Additionally, college campuses could do more to meet the digital “un-classroom” expectations and evolving needs of this new breed of digital native learners.

If you’ve never been to Learning Impact Leadership Institute, we encourage you to make plans now for May 20-23, 2019, when the conference will be held in San Diego. This will be your chance to gather with other forward-thinking edtech leaders to reimagine technology in teaching and learning and to have a voice in setting the roadmap for the IMS Global community as we align the needs of the education community across K-20. We will be there and hope you will too!

About the Author:

Dr. Barbara Nesbitt is an educator with over 30 years’ experience. She has been a teacher, instructional and technology coach, consultant, coordinator, and director. Nesbitt is currently the executive director of technology for the School District of Pickens County in South Carolina. She has served on various boards including the K-12 Institutional Board for IMS Global and the National Council on Digital Convergence. Currently she is the chair of the IMS Global K12 Institutional Board.

Darlene Rankin has been an educator for the past 24 years and has been fortunate to take a lead in 2009 to provide a public, filtered Wi-Fi for Texas’s Katy ISD students to bring their own device for learning. Other major initiatives include deploying Google Drive, Office 365, MyKaty Cloud, Student Learning Platform, and Digital Divide Devices for check out. Rankin was named by NSBA “Top 20 to Watch Educators” in 2011. She is passionate about digital responsibility, the whole child, and ensuring students are connected outside of school.