11 facts about today’s K-12 IT leadership

Broadband access and the ever-growing equity gap are among K-12 IT leaders’ top concerns, according to CoSN’s annual IT Leadership Survey.

The survey, released in collaboration with the Ed-Fi Alliance and other partners, is based on a national survey of nearly 400 school systems and provides a nuanced look at the challenges K-12 IT leadership has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were proud to once again work alongside the CoSN team in developing this report,” said Sean Casey, manager of strategic partnerships at the Ed-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to helping school districts and states achieve data interoperability. “At Ed-Fi, our goal is to define data standards to solve problems shared by all educators and to arm the learning community with useful information, as found in this report, for conscientious decision-making that leads to better outcomes for learners everywhere.”…Read More

Here’s what helps–and hinders–K-12 innovation

A personalized, learner-centered educational experience is one of the main drivers of K-12 innovation and extraordinary student outcomes, according to CoSN’s annual innovation survey.

The survey includes three categories: accelerators that pave the way for teaching and learning innovation in schools, hurdles that hinder it, and tech enablers are tools that districts can leverage to surmount hurdles and embrace accelerators.

Accelerators of K-12 innovation include:
1. Personalization: As the consumer sector has exploded with new ways to customize user experiences and products, schools are also finding ways to provide customized learning and support at the individual level.
2. Social and emotional learning: A core function of education is building skills and understanding mental, social, and emotional well-being, including empathy, grit, persistence, flexibility, and adaptability.
3. Learner autonomy: Learner autonomy is all about student agency, encompassing anything from letting students choose how they access content, to how they organize their learning, to how they exhibit their learning.…Read More

Talking tech: Enabling digital transformation through collaboration

There’s no question that digital transformation is dramatically shifting the education landscape. In the Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) 2019 survey, 55 percent of respondents say they have implemented 1:1 programs in their schools. This is a significant increase from the 2014 survey which showed that only 23 percent of schools had implemented a 1:1 program. Yet we know that digital transformation is about more than just the technology that powers it. While devices and software are becoming a ubiquitous part of the modern classroom, digital transformation is a robust ecosystem that combines this new technology with an effective implementation strategy.

Typically, the digital agenda is led from the top down – school or district administrations are, in large part, responsible for championing a digital transformation strategy. I’ve spoken to many educators over the years who have shared their experiences with the tech adoption process. Time after time, I’ve found that administrators who combine a culture of strong leadership and a clear strategy are best poised to drive digital advancement in their respective schools.

Related content: Tips to help IT teams manage digital transformation…Read More

10 priorities for K-12 IT leaders

School districts are moving to highly digital ecosystems, and K-12 IT leaders have more and more to manage to ensure that teaching and learning can go on uninterrupted by failing or clunky technology.

CoSN’s annual IT Leadership Survey offers critical insight into what’s expected of today’s K-12 IT leaders. The survey’s findings help to identify areas where IT leaders might need more support and assistance as they work tirelessly to meet the IT needs of administrators, teachers, and students.

Related content: How school IT leaders can avoid a cyberattack…Read More

These 10 things will either hinder or support innovation in 2020

Digital equity remains a top hurdle to teaching and learning innovation in schools, while personalization and SEL will help accelerate innovation, according to a glimpse of CoSN’s next Driving K-12 Innovation report.

CoSN’s Driving K-12 Innovation initiative is an ongoing effort to keep school IT leaders up-to-date on how new technologies impact different education stakeholders. The report and key findings will be available here in the coming months.

Related content: 3 things I learned by accident at CoSN 2019…Read More

5 strategies to tackle the homework gap

Despite a brighter spotlight on digital equity, gaps still remain, including the troubling and persistent homework gap–but a newly-relaunched digital equity toolkit aims to highlight the important work districts across the nation are taking to address equity differences.

The 2014 Erate modernization helped a majority of schools meet the FCC’s short-term connectivity goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, according to CoSN’s relaunched Digital Equity Initiative toolkit. But because classroom use of technology and digital resources is growing, a gap has continued to grow between students who have internet access at home and those who do not.

Related content: Tips for closing the homework gap…Read More

3 things I learned by accident at CoSN 2019

A few themes stood out at CoSN 2019–artificial intelligence, coding, and preparing students for 2030 are three that immediately come to mind. But as I attended more sessions, smaller–yet equally cool–bits of information jumped out at me.

I love attending conference sessions because I get to listen to educators and edtech leaders talk about what’s most important when it comes to helping students succeed and feel proud of their accomplishments.

Here are just a few of the new things I learned, or things that aren’t often talked about, at CoSN 2019:…Read More

5 edtech accelerators that are changing K-12

Five powerful edtech accelerators are influencing the skills and needs of K-12 students and educators, according to a new CoSN report released during the advocacy group’s 2019 conference.

These edtech accelerators are major disruptive shifts in the status quo that redefine the future of education and accelerate the pace of technological change. They vary in speed, speed, the report notes, with some suddenly appearing and others gradually becoming more important over several years.

The five accelerators are: learners as creators; data-driven practices; personalization; design thinking; and building the capacity of human leaders.…Read More

Here’s why AI skills will make or break students’ futures

It’s OK if you don’t know exactly what artificial intelligence (AI) is–but you need to learn, and quickly, because it’s already firmly ensconced in our lives, and AI skills are shaping the future lives and careers of today’s students.

AI has already fundamentally changed the way we “do” many things. For instance, most people talk about how the internet destroyed the entire chain of brick-and-mortar Blockbuster stores with Netflix, but this assessment isn’t exactly true–AI was behind that transformation.

“We talk about AI as if it’s coming,” but in fact, it’s already here, and it’s been here, said Joseph South, ISTE’s chief learning officer, presenting with ISTE CEO Richard Culatta during a CoSN 2019 session. “It’s not hype to say we’re behind the curve–we are behind the curve on this, in terms of preparing students for AI.”…Read More