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IMS Global Conference Shows the Future

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

It is not uncommon to walk down the streets of New Orleans and have someone offer to glimpse into your future.  It was, however, a new experience to attend a conference where an organization is attempting to do the same thing for all students in the United States K-12 and higher education system.  The IMS Global Learning Impact Leadership Institute is attempting to show us all the future of education in this country.

This conference was held in New Orleans from May 5-8 and brought together state learning officers, publishers, assessment vendors, and forward-thinking futurists with many exciting ideas on how to construct the future of learning.  Their approach?  Utilize standards, collaborate ruthlessly, and embrace the chaos and disorder caused by disruptions in an established system to identify new opportunities for learning and achievement.

Additionally, the IMS team held an awards ceremony for some of the most notable innovators in the industry.  The who's who lineup can be seen here.

There were some great breakout sessions on a wide variety of topics.  I cleaved mostly to digital learning and assessment tracks, as that is where many of our clients and projects reside, but was also tempted by some of the LMS and higher-education talks as well.  TextHelp was there, demo-ing some great technology for integrating accessibility tools into digital content.  I also saw Measured Progress do a demo of their APIP content management suite that is internal, but shows great promise as an approach for creating accessibility content quickly.

One of the more interesting presentations was by the technology leaders of the K12 Race to the Top Consortia: PARCC, SBAC, ELPA21, and the WIDA consortium all spoke about some of the cross-consortia activities that are beginning to emerge, like the standardization of technology requirements around SEDTA.  Some of this guidance is bound to make IT manager's jobs easier by consolidating technology requirements and showing some of the common areas where system requirements can be alligned to enable technology buying decisions.

Personally, I learned a lot this week.  I was able to glimpse some aspects of an exciting and innovative future in education, enabled by innovative and interoperable technology, but also grounded in the core elements that make education systems work - great teachers, motivated students, involved parents and technology that gets out of the way by enabling learning, not dictating it.

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