Safely embracing digital learning with managed network security

Digital learning surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it isn’t going away with the return to in-person classrooms. After experimenting with new approaches for in-classroom, at-home, or hybrid learning, it’s clear that technology’s use will continue to evolve as a means to improve student engagement and the overall learning experience. However, as K-12 schools increase their reliance on technology and more devices connect to their networks, cybersecurity threats are also rising.

A recent study from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) found that schools may not be prepared enough for these risks. The CoSN 2021 Ed Tech Leadership Survey found that while cybersecurity was ranked as a top priority for school district IT leaders, 77 percent of districts don’t have a full-time employee dedicated to network security and over half (59 percent) don’t have a cybersecurity plan in place. One potential solution to help resource-lean IT departments is using managed services for network security.

Cybersecurity attacks, such as data breaches and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, may disrupt learning, cost schools significant time and money to repair, and impact the schools’ reputations. …Read More

How is the E-rate impacting learning?

In the beginning, E-rate focused principally on telephone service, which was the most basic and universal way individuals communicated 20 years ago. While the focus on communication has remained, technology has changed radically throughout the past two decades. During this period, E-rate adapted by broadening the range of eligible services to include mobile phones, pagers, voicemail, email, school websites and basic collaboration tools.

As the program evolved, the definition of “new technology” grew increasingly inexact and complicated. It became clear that E-rate was in need of a refresh. Advocates for change, including legislators, the Federal Communications Commission and organizations such as ISTE and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), hoped to address the question: How do we increase internet bandwidth available to our schools and provide ubiquitous wireless coverage?

Practical questions to ask

To answer this question, we needed to both increase E-rate funding and stretch every dollar. In an effort to make dollars go further, three main objectives were identified:…Read More

These schools are leveraging E-Rate for a complete digital transformation

Textbooks and blackboards have become a thing of the past in K-12 schools as educators collaborate with IT teams to shape a full digital core curriculum as part of their educational strategy for 2017 and beyond. In a 2016 survey conducted by the Consortium for School Networking (COSN), 90 percent of IT administrators at K-12 schools expect that curricula will be at least 50 percent digital over the next three years.

As the world undergoes a digital transformation—with connectivity and access to computers and mobile devices playing an increasingly prominent role in everyone’s lives—elementary schools know they need to incorporate technology in the educational process to prepare their students for future success. To support these initiatives, the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program has recently been expanded to provide schools nationwide with subsidies for high-speed broadband and gigabit wireless networks.

According to the “2016 Digital Curriculum Strategy Survey Report” sponsored by Ruckus Wireless, hardware and network spend is estimated at $16.2 billion in 2017. Whereas currently 78 percent of students have device and network access for almost a full day, the expectation for this year is that schools will have close to one-to-one access, or one device per student.…Read More

What’s next in ed-tech? These 18 trends

I do a lot of speaking about technology trends in education, and none of my talks seem to get larger audiences than those that address new or emerging technologies. Part of this is our never ending interest in what is “new,” and also that little voice in my head that says, “maybe I am falling behind.”

So, as an educator interested in technology — after all, you are reading eSchool News — what is the best source for tracking emerging technologies for learning? And, even more important, which of these emerging technologies address the chief problems you are trying to solve in your school or school district?

The answer to the first question is easy. Each year the New Media Consortium (NMC) and CoSN—the Consortium for School Networking — jointly create the Horizon Report. Produced with the insights of an international panel of experts, and with nearly one million downloads per year, this report on emerging technologies for learning is likely the most well-read report identifying key technology trends for primary and secondary education. (The 2016 Report is made possible by Share Fair Nation at This comprehensive report helps education leaders and practitioners develop future-focused digital strategies and learning approaches that mirror the needs and skills of the real world.…Read More

Survey: Staff development is top ed-tech challenge

CTOs ranked planning as their highest professional development need, followed by instruction, policy, and leadership.
School district CTOs ranked planning as the top professional development need for themselves, followed by instruction, policy, and leadership.

Making sure staff members have the professional development they need to ensure effective 21st-century teaching and learning is the top challenge facing school district chief technology officers (CTOs), according to a survey that queried more than 50 Illinois school district CTOs.

The survey, titled “The Challenges and Professional Development Needs of the District Technology Leader,” was conducted by the Illinois Chief Technology Officers (ILCTO), a nonprofit organization that helps CTOs in “realizing their [school districts’] visions and goals for the effective, secure, and rapid implementation of instructional technology and operational information technology.”…Read More

Report highlights ed-tech lessons from abroad

Other countries' ed-tech practices could help inform U.S. policy.
Other countries' ed-tech practices could help inform U.S. policy.

Scotland and the Netherlands both invest significantly more federal money per student in information and communications technologies (ICT) than the United States, and they both view ICT as essential to classroom teaching and learning and in developing 21st-century skills, a delegation of education technology advocates discovered during a recent visit to the two countries.

The results of that visit, led by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), appear in a report issued May 12, called “Real Investment, Real Innovation.”…Read More

Six technologies soon to affect education

Several important technologies are becoming more relevant to K-12 education.
Several important technologies are becoming more relevant to K-12 education.

Cloud computing and collaborative learning environments are set to take hold in K-12 schools in the very near future, with mobile devices, game-based learning, and other education technologies to follow suit in the next few years, according to the 2010 Horizon Report’s K-12 Edition, released by the New Media Consortium (NMC).

NMC researchers examined 100 different technologies and whittled them down to the six most prominent technologies that are on the verge of classroom adoption in the next five years. Those six technologies were placed into three categories according to how close schools are to implementing them on wide scale.…Read More

Ed-tech leaders reveal keen insights

eSN-TV and JDL Horizons conducted nearly three dozen video interviews with CoSN conference participants.
eSN-TV and JDL Horizons conducted nearly three dozen video interviews with CoSN conference participants.

What do U.S. students want most when it comes to technology? How is one school system saving thousands of dollars per year in software licensing fees? How is a European nation about to embark on revolutionary experiment in computer-based testing?

These were some of the many insights captured by eSchool News TV in video interviews with education technology leaders during the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) annual conference in Washington, D.C., last month.…Read More

Federal officials address ed-tech concerns

CoSN's CTO forum covered a broad range of ed-tech topics.
CoSN's CTO forum covered a broad range of ed-tech topics.

Before an audience of chief technology officers from across the country, Karen Cator, director of education technology for the U.S. Department of Education, and Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra discussed the nation’s ed-tech efforts and held a frank question-and-answer session that ranged from the proposed education technology budget for fiscal 2011 to removing barriers to classroom technology use.

President Obama has said he wants the United States to be the world leader in college graduates by the year 2020.…Read More

CoSN conference goers learn how to be innovative educators

Larry Keeley, a noted global innovation expert, urged education leaders to think to the future.
Larry Keeley, a noted global innovation expert, urged education leaders to think to the future.

“The challenges in our field are Olympic in proportion,” said Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) CEO Keith Krueger in kicking off the organization’s 2010 conference March 1. But teamwork in leading technology integration is key in helping ed-tech projects succeed, he said, as is making sure that education technology leaders have the skills and support they need.

To meet this latter goal, CoSN has launched the CoSN Exchange, a new social networking site for ed-tech leaders and advocates to share successes, ideas, and learn valuable information from their peers across the nation.…Read More