Rob Abel, Ed.D. | May 2021
"And I'm never going back to my old school" —Steely Dan
Exciting Tools for Your Back-to-School Adventure and Beyond from IMS
Pandemic or no pandemic, HED or K-12, institution, state department of education, or supplier, anticipation is always high for Fall back to school. “School” is never the same as it was—it keeps evolving. And that’s a good thing. It’s in this time between now and the start of school that everything must come together to achieve what we like to call “Digital on Day One.”
As historic investments in edtech companies from venture capital continue to grow, the challenges of being prepared to focus on teaching and learning are growing each year.
I have been incredibly impressed with how the IMS institutional members have established processes for being ready. It really is a sort of race to stay ahead of the edtech curve. Similarly, suppliers have the daunting task of making sure their products create the most value within the context of the institutional ecosystem. Therefore, as IMS members of all types know, a strategy of building your ecosystem on open standards you can count on to work now and be there for the long haul is now essential, whether you have an institutional or supplier perspective.
So, as we are all thinking about the 2021-2022 experience, I wanted to highlight some developments in the IMS community that you probably want to be at least aware of but may want to partake at a deeper level.
Either in preparation for or during school year 2021-2022 I highly recommend all IMS members take a closer look at the latest tools from IMS to enrich and future proof your digital ecosystems.
Here is a rundown:
K-12: Procuring and onboarding SIS, LMS, and digital curriculum utilizing Standards First and OneRoster® Compatibility Check.
Whether your organization is a supplier, institution, or state, if you are a fan of OneRoster, IMS has made it super easy to make sure we get all those OneRoster implementations converging. A set of leading IMS school districts and suppliers will be doubling down on ensuring compatibility of OneRoster implementations by adopting the Compatibility Check OneRoster diagnostic tool. You, too, can get involved with this program! It’s called Standards First and begins with a straightforward pledge of collaboration, cooperation, and transparency in the use of open standards. It’s a litmus test. With almost 100 leading K-12 organizations (and growing) that have signed the pledge, there are no legal issues that have arisen. It will soon probably say more about an organization unwilling to sign the pledge regarding their support of open standards. You don’t have to be an IMS member organization to sign the pledge. But, if you are an IMS member and a OneRoster enthusiast, I strongly recommend participating in either the supplier or institutional OneRoster roundtable meetings where members exchange info for supporting the Standards First/Compatibility Check collaboration.
HED, K-12, Corporate Education: LTI® 1.3 core/LTI Advantage replacing all existing LTI integrations.
After two years of widespread adoption, this is the time that every new LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability®) integration should be implementing LTI 1.3 core and the relevant services from LTI Advantage. LTI 1.3 and LTI Advantage replace all other versions of LTI that IMS is deprecating, can no longer be certified, and will not be supported at all after Summer 2022. It is time to create a plan to upgrade older LTI integration over the next year. LTI 1.3/LTI Advantage is rock solid, implements enhanced security/ID features, and enables dramatic improvements in the ability to see assignment and grade data across all tools in the LMS (or other launching software platforms). You see all of the 107 products currently certified to support LTI 1.3 here. There are 81 products currently certified on various components of LTI Advantage.
K-12: Procuring and onboarding digital curriculum utilizing Common Cartridge® Compatibility Check and CASE® Network.
Thanks to IMS Global’s investment in the CASE Network, U.S. K-12 is no longer being held hostage by proprietary providers of digital versions of state learning standards that all the curriculum and assessment providers can align to. But, perhaps even better is that the digital curriculum resources made available as searchable learning objects via the IMS Thin Common Cartridge format can all be checked for the metadata supported on each object, including alignment to the appropriate CASE Network globally unique identifiers (GUIDs). This checking occurs via the new Common Cartridge Compatibility check. IMS developed this because districts have not been able to get consistent metadata on their cartridges. Please note that thin common cartridges are dependent on LTI. So please read the previous item on upgrading your LTIs!
HED, K-12: TrustEd Apps program for vetting student data privacy and the TrustEd Apps dashboard.
Over the last several months, one of the most exciting new developments in IMS has been the roll-out of the TrustEd Apps program, which now features vetting of privacy policies on over 5,000 edtech software applications, including over 130 earning the TrustEd Apps Seal. The TrustEd Apps seal means that the supplier has provided information on how their policy meets a baseline within the privacy rubric standard agreed to by the IMS members. IMS makes available to IMS institutional members a Compatibility Check account that enables an administrator to curate a list of acceptable applications for use within the district or university by teachers, students, etc. And just this week, IMS and CatchOn announced the first supplier sponsorship of TrustEd Apps, which includes CatchOn distributing TrustEd Apps data via the CatchOn dashboard application.
HED, K-12, Corporate Education: Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) now in certified products.
Verifiable digital credentials issued by education providers that individual learners can easily curate have gotten much closer to reality. IMS members AEFIS, ELocker, Randa Solutions, and iDatafy (SmartResume) recently achieved certification to the CLR standard. Therefore, in addition to the exchange of verifiable digital credentials via Open Badges, the CLR enables interoperability of all types of learner achievements, including but not limited to assessments, badges, certifications, competencies, co-curricular, courses, degrees, licenses, and skills. It’s time to start designing and building your institutional or systemwide digital credential strategy!
This is getting to be a long post, but I would still like to delve into some other developments to keep an eye on:
- Increasing adoption of Caliper Analytics® in K-12 as well as HED
- The emergence of Badge Connect to sync up badges between badging platforms
- Documented integrations now available in the IMS Product Directory
- Edu-API now emerging in HED
- Expansion of TrustEd Apps to interoperability, accessibility, and more in-depth security
- Rapid analytics deployment and data-ready apps
Please stay tuned for more on these as well! Don’t forget to make plans to join us to hear more on these and more at IMS Learning Impact 2021 virtual conference (October 4-7)!
You’ll never be going back to your old school—thanks to the leadership of the IMS community!