Rob Abel, Ed.D. | March 2020
"I need a miracle everyday." —The Grateful Dead
What will we learn from 100% online, physical distancing, and the great education interruptus?
They call it a "black swan" event, one that is so unlikely it is supposedly unpredictable and, therefore, not possible to prepare for in advance. I think in this case, that could be questioned. I think in this case society will conclude that we can prepare for the next COVID-19. The question is, are we willing to invest in that preparation? And will we invest smartly based on what we have learned?
The world has a long way to go before all the lessons from the COVID-19 nightmare are understood. Right now, I see miracles every day. I see classes and labs moved online not just at a record pace but at an impossible pace. I see extra effort to get food to kids when schools close. I see supplier partners stepping up to provide more access at no additional cost.
In IMS, we hear some nice tributes to how our community work has enabled our institutional partners to be more prepared than they might otherwise have been for this situation.
"We're relying on IMS work more than ever, having just moved nearly all university instruction online in a week….that certainly wouldn't have been conceivable 10 years ago."
—Mark McCallister, Director, Academic Technology, University of Florida Information Technology
"Without a single point of entry into our digital learning platform (eCLASS) for our staff and students—all enabled through interoperability standards—we couldn't use the wide variety of tools and instructional resources our teachers are currently employing during our Digital Learning Days to maintain instruction for 180,000 plus students effectively. We greatly value our ongoing partnership with IMS and continue to adopt common standards as they become available."
—Kevin Tashlein, Ed.D., Chief Strategy Officer, Gwinnett County Public Schools
IMS wants to spread this wealth—made possible by the investment of the IMS members—and wants to help all institutions better prepare. And there is no better time to start than right now!
Therefore, we are stepping up with free access to developer and certification resources, and related support to help the ecosystem ensure better options for virtual now and into the future. We don't have unlimited capacity to do this, so we are counting on referrals from institutional IMS Contributing Members to help us prioritize. Our hope is that this offer will help in making decisions on what products to use to deliver a better virtual experience, by making it easier for products that might not be fully IMS compliant to get there faster than otherwise possible. HED and K-12 district/state members will receive an email next week with more details on the IMS Vanguard Certification Program and how to submit your supplier referrals.
Finally, stay tuned for more info on our plans for the Learning Impact Leadership Institute. As I mentioned in a prior email, we will have this information out at least 30 days before the event. And next month, I will hopefully write more on what I hope to be some lessons learned. But for now, stay safe, and let's keep the miracles coming!