Experts: Use national budget crisis as an opportunity

The keynoters took the stage to share what they thought ed-tech leaders should hear to get them through their own troubling times.

In the opening session for the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference, held this year in New Orleans, the theme was “Mastering the Moment,” which referred to the country’s current budget crisis.

Starting with tables of coffee and muffins, a few hundred or so attendees settled in to glean tidbits of information from four experts in educational technology.  With the intimate setting and small prominent stage, it seemed as though the session was less glitz and glam, and more get-down-to-business.

One by one, like participants in a town hall meeting, the keynoters took the stage to share what they thought ed-tech leaders should hear to get them through their own troubling times.…Read More

AUPs shape Web 2.0 use, guidelines

CoSN's guidelines are a resource for district leaders rewriting Web 2.0 policies.

As educational technology transforms teaching and learning, many districts are finding that once-solid acceptable use policies (AUPs) must be updated to reflect students’ and teachers’ increasing use of Web 2.0 technologies and other digital media tools.

To that end, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released an AUP guide to help school district leaders rethink their internet use policies and how educational technology can best be used to help students get the most out of their time in school.

The new guide addresses the following questions:…Read More

Bridging informal and formal learning in the digital education age

Digital tools have expanded learning opportunities for teachers and students.
Learning has always extended beyond the classroom. Children and young adults learn as they encounter information, people, places, and things in their lives, both in school and out of school. The growing availability and use of digital media have significantly increased students’ learning outside the confines of a classroom.

The increased presence of digital media has, as a result, dramatically widened the gap between informal (out-of-school) and formal (in-school) learning. The Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) 10th Annual International Symposium, themed Ubiquitous Digital Education: Bridging Informal and Formal Learning, will address this issue and challenges and opportunities educators face when trying to seamlessly integrate the two. The Symposium will take place on Monday, March 14, 2011, in New Orleans, a day before the official kickoff of CoSN’s 2011 Conference.

“Digital media have created enormous opportunities and positive challenges for educators. Taking full advantage of the ever-evolving nature of digital media resources is a constant challenge for educators. While adapting these tools to the formal classroom setting is becoming much more commonplace, educators are also still confronted with finding new and innovative ways to seamlessly weave together students’ informal and formal learning,” said James Bosco, co-chair of CoSN’s International Advisory Council. …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.”

According to the organization, a district CTO “could be an administrator, manager, or teacher who has responsibility for technology operation across a school district.”…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.”

“Scotland and the Netherlands approach ICT in the classroom as an absolute necessity—not as a luxury—for improving learning and teaching, as well as developing workforce skills,” the report noted. “We found this attitude inspirational, particularly in view of the continuing debate in the U.S. about the unproven and uncertain value of technology.”…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.

All told, eSN-TV (in conjunction with JDL Horizons, maker of the EduVision platform for streaming and archiving Flash-based video) conducted nearly three dozen video interviews with CoSN conference participants. You can watch all of these short video clips at www.eschoolnews.tv; here are some of the highlights.…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.

“That doesn’t mean we make college easier,” Cator said, adding that education conversations now are turning to whether it is possible for states to create real and effective college- and career-ready standards.…Read More

National ed-tech plan coming next week

Cator said comments and links to resources from stakeholders will help the DOE finalize the plan.
Cator said comments and links to resources from stakeholders will help ED finalize the plan.

The latest national blueprint for how schools can leverage technology’s power to transform teaching and learning is coming next week, said Karen Cator, director of the Office of Education Technology for the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

Cator made the announcement at the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference March 2. During a morning spotlight session, titled “Latest News on the New National Education Technology Plan,” she gave attendees a preview of the plan.

Highlights included a focus on teacher professional development in education technology, supporting ed-tech infrastructure in schools, using real-time data and delivering personalized assessments, and harnessing the power of online learning and social networks to provide 24-7 access to tools and resources for teachers and students.…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.

Several CoSN reports will be coming out this spring, Krueger said, and they will examine issues such as how Web 2.0 technologies can best be used in the classroom.…Read More

Symposium: Global awareness an increasingly important skill

Francesc Pedró urged educators to look to other countries as an opportunity for collaboration.
Francesc Pedró urged educators to look to other countries as an opportunity for collaboration.

Educators need to rethink how they look at the global community, said Francesc Pedró during the ninth annual Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) International Symposium: Do they view other countries as competition, or as an opportunity for collaboration?

“Whatever happens in the classroom depends on our values and how we look at other countries,” he said.

Pedró, who is a senior policy analyst for the Center for Research and Information with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said the global education landscape no longer looks like it did in years past. For example, in the 1960s the United States education system ranked at the top, with Korea ranked at No. 27; in the 1990s, the U.S. dropped to No. 13, with Korea climbing up to the top spot.…Read More