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Ed-tech group outlines goals to help schools implement technology

CoSN's efforts can help school leaders advocate for educational technology.

One of the nation’s major educational technology advocacy groups has identified five key goals in a new three-year advocacy plan that will help advance new K-12 ed-tech learning opportunities.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), while celebrating its 20th anniversary, released its Strategic Plan: 2012-2015, which updates CoSN’s advocacy efforts.

“We’re excited to launch our new strategic plan, particularly at a time when CoSN is celebrating two decades of success in school system technology,” said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger. “We undertook this effort to reframe, refocus, and refresh our objectives, as it’s important to ensure that our goals and priorities continue to evolve along with today’s ever-changing technology environment. Our new plan does that, and we look forward to strengthening our organization and thought leadership in the years ahead.”

To execute its mission, CoSN identified the following five external goals:

Close the Access Gap: Increase awareness of requirements to close the technology access gap for learning inside and outside of school.

As educational technology changes at a fast pace, schools and districts must deal with infrastructure requirements made necessary by an increase in online, mobile, and blended learning, as well as use of digital content and tools.

High-speed broadband and wireless connectivity are essential in supporting schools’ missions to provide students with access to high-quality digital and online learning opportunities. Some schools face challenges as they strive to update aging infrastructure.

CoSN plans to offer more resources to help schools navigate the challenges that accompany infrastructure upgrades, deploying broadband networks, and working to close the technology access gap.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Skills: Enhance the skills and competencies of CTOs and raise expectations as defined in CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO and measured by certification.

In 2012, CoSN will launch an “aspirational certification program” for K-12 ed-tech leaders who are using technology to inform decisions that improve the learning process for teachers and students. The program will reward education leaders who “demonstrate that they are committed to bringing the most current technology tools and ideas to our nation’s teachers and students.”

CoSN is working to develop and administer a certification exam for chief technology officers based on its Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO. That test was launched in a beta phase in December and will be officially administered beginning in March during CoSN’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

The group’s professional development offerings will be linked to the Framework.

Team Capacity: Build district-wide support for educational technology through strategic partnerships and professional learning opportunities.

It’s no secret that successful ed-tech initiatives have support from a school or district’s administrators, curriculum departments, and stakeholders, in addition to school or district technology leaders.

Chief technology officers often work best when they are part of a team that understands technology’s potential and how it can affect teaching, learning, and administration.

Part of CoSN’s focus will center on “system-wide support and leadership, and most important, a culture of innovation and continuous improvement” in order to ensure the success of any ed-tech implementation.

Voice: Advocate for investments in education technology to enhance learning opportunities and drive economic growth.

CoSN’s EdTech Action Network helps educators and others participate in the political process and project a unified voice in support of improving teaching and learning through the systemic use of technology.

State Capacity: Expand the capacity of CoSN chapters by enabling professional learning opportunities and developing the ability to influence state policy.

CoSN works closely with school district CTOs at the local level through a network of strong and active state chapters. The organization also intends to expand its chapters into Canada at the provincial level. In 2012, CoSN will increase the number of regional CTO Clinics from five to six per year and expand the CTO Clinic reach to include members from the new region.

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Laura Ascione

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