A New Acronym in Education: LTI, Part 2

A New Acronym in Education: LTI, Part 2

What is “LTI” and what does it mean for your school? The principal concept of the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) framework is to establish a standard way of integrating rich learning applications with platforms like learning management systems, portals, or other educational environments. To get an educators’ perspective of this initiative, T&L spoke with two edtech leaders, Joe Griffin and Jill Hobson.Joe Griffin, CTO of Keller ISD (TX)

TL: Why is LTI important to K-12 schools?

Joe Griffin: Schools no longer have to be locked into proprietary content delivery systems. Content from multiple LTI-compliant providers, as well as district-developed content, can be integrated into a single delivery system to meet student needs. This provides flexibility to best meet the learning needs of students in a more cost effective, scalable manor.

TL: How does your district plan to integrate this initiative into its tech planning?
JG: Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, all providers of instructional content and data will have to adopt the LTI standard to continue doing business with Keller ISD. Our District will work with vendors and IMS Global to establish LTIs that provide for interoperability between district learning and business systems.

TL: How might this initiative change the way schools purchase education technology products?
JG: Having educational and technology standards will provide a framework for vendors to write applications that can “interoperate” with existing systems that meet LTI and IMS Global standards. Schools adopting this standard and purchasing software from compliant vendors will not have to spend extra time and dollars on customization interfaces to ensure the application functions with existing applications. This initiative will allow schools to continue to existing technology products/applications (assuming they have an LTI) and add content as needed without completely starting over with a new system. It is really integration of technology rather than migrating to a different technology.

Jill Hobson, Director of Instructional Technology at Forsyth County Schools (GA).

Why is LTI important to K-12 schools?
Jill Hobson: A year ago I didn’t know what IMS Global was, but I did know about the work of Common Cartridge. We were frustrated with a vision for being able to integrated digital content into one platform, but didn’t have a way to ask vendors to work with us on that goal.

The plain fact is that schools are not going to buy their digital content from just one provider. And after 22 years in this business, I’m becoming less convinced that any one product will ever be a “silver bullet.” We’re going to like some features of one system and some of another. We’re going to like content from multiple providers and yet we want it all available in one place. LTI is the tool that is going to make that possible. I have so few team members to get the work done and we just cannot be spending our time trying to touch learning objects to make them work together. LTI keeps us from having to do that. Safari Montage is a good example. They have helped us with integrating several of our digital content systems using the LTI standard. Montage becomes the central repository for all learning objects.

TL: How does your district plan to integrate this initiative into its tech planning?
JH: Within the next year, we will be communicating with all of our partners and letting them know that we expect them to be able to work within the LTI framework. And a year after that we’ll have to make difficult but necessary decisions to move away from those who cannot meet our needs from an integration standpoint.

To read more on the LTI framework, read our interview with Rob Abel, Chief Executive Officer, IMS Global Learning Consortium, HERE.

Christine Weiser is the Content and Brand Director for Tech & Learning, and has been with the company since 2008. She has reported on education for most of her career, working at Scholastic and Gale Publishing before joining Tech & Learning. Christine is also an author and musician, and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son.