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These IT Leader spotlights highlight how innovative edtech and IT leaders are influencing teaching and learning across the nation.

CoSN IT Leader Spotlight: Mike Daugherty

Recipients of CoSN's Impact 30 Awards, selected for the differences they're making in the nation's schools, offer insights on edtech and IT innovations

In partnership with CoSN, eSchool News is highlighting the innovative and dedicated work of IT leaders in school districts across the country.

The spotlight is on Mike Daugherty, Director of Technology and Innovation in Ohio’s Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District.

1. What is your biggest IT challenge today?

Cybersecurity continues to be a major challenge for K-12. Schools often do not have the resources to invest in adequate cybersecurity measures. They may also lack the time and expertise to implement and maintain these measures effectively. The lack of funding, time, and expertise to address these concerns at the district level make it the most significant IT issue schools are facing.

2. What project, initiative, or accomplishment are you most proud of?

Our district is embracing artificial intelligence. We are working to provide professional development on various generative artificial intelligence tools to our staff this year. We are focusing on the efficiencies AI can create, how AI can be used to increase student learning, and the ethics of using this new technology. We are excited to see how AI can transform education in the coming years. We believe that this technology has the potential to improve student learning, increase teacher productivity, and make education more accessible to all students.

3. What are your top 3 priorities over the next few years?

AI, cybersecurity, and interoperability

4. Technology evolves at such a high rate–what are some of the school IT innovations you see coming down the pipeline, and which are you most excited for?

Generative artificial intelligence (GIA) is the next big edtech advancement that I expect will impact students in the coming years. GIA is a type of AI that can generate text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions in an informative way. This means that students will soon be able to use GIA to complete their homework, write essays, and even create their own works of art.

However, GIA also poses some challenges for educators. For example, how will we create assessments that cannot be easily completed by GIA? How will we ensure that students are using GIA for the right purposes and not simply plagiarizing content? These are all questions that educators will need to address as GIA becomes more widespread.

I believe that the best way to address these challenges is to teach students how to use GIA effectively. This includes teaching them how to write prompts that generate the response they are looking for, how to fact-check that response, and how to cite the portions of the response they use. By teaching students how to use GIA responsibly, we can ensure that they are using this powerful tool to enhance their learning, not to cheat.

I am excited to see how GIA will impact education in the coming years. I believe that it has the potential to revolutionize the way we teach and learn. However, it is important that we address the challenges that GIA poses early on so that we can ensure that it is used for good.

5. What advice would you give to other school IT leaders and school IT teams?

Building relationships is essential for CTOs to be successful. This means making time to walk the halls, visit classrooms, and be visible in the school community. Be present and approachable. Listen to people’s concerns. Figure out how to say Yes when possible. By developing these relationships, you can gain the trust and support of teachers, staff, and students. This will be key when rolling out new initiatives or pushing for change.

For more news on IT leadership and innovation, visit eSN’s IT Leadership page.

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