CoSN Conference Wrap Up

by Jean Tower


T here were so many good sessions at the CoSN Conference , along with lots of noteworthy connections that I made, that I could write many more entries about it, probably too many. Instead, I want to tell you why CoSN is so valuable to school technology administrators (Technology Directors, CTOs, CIOs, etc).

CoSN provides professional development, advocacy, representation in Washington, webcasts webinars, research papers, and regular briefings on key issues.   (CoSN Member Benefits )

I belong to numerous professional organizations, all of which provide worthwhile benefits that I value and make the most of in my work. Some examples are:

  • Massachusetts Computer Using Educators ~ MassCUE
  • International Society for Technology in Education ~ ISTE
  • New England ISTE ~ NEISTE
  • National Staff Development Council ~ NSDC
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ~ ASCD

But by far, the professional development that is most relevant to me in my role of Director of Technology is through my membership in CoSN (Massachusetts chapter: METAA ).
CoSN provides PD designed for K-12 technology leaders; it is where I can stay up to date on best practices and solutions that are specific to my role in the school district.

CoSN is working on certification criteria for school CTOs, it provides CTO clinics around the country, it provides voice and leadership for educational CTOs, and, since it is the professional home organization for CTOs nationally, the peer connections I have made and continue to make provide a network of expertise that is phenomenal.

I encourage you to look into CoSN membership for yourself.

Last, here are a few more snippets from the conference.

From Gartner and CoSN Session
Technesia is when stakeholders fail to remember the value of technology in their environment. It is not uncommon for the other department leaders to push to cut technology budgets to then expect the same level of service, systems, and efficiency post-cuts. Stakeholders really have to understand the value of IT.

When thinking about TCO, most people have little difficulty understanding direct costs, but it is harder to get your arms around indirect costs. For example, if you reduce tech support positions to reduce direct costs, think about how much it costs to have users support themselves. Are we really happy to pay teachers to do their own tech support? Are we sacrificing PD, planning, curriculum development, and time with students so that teachers can support technology? Teachers are not trained to do this – they do not have the expertise or practice. It would be ineffective and more costly even if they made the same hourly wage as a break-fix technician. This is a HIGH indirect cost. Establish and communicate the value of direct costs.

From Thinkfinity Session
Thinkfinity is a totally free, online resource. All content is aligned to ISTE NETS and state standards and is a partner with Partnership for 21st Century Skills. They offer free professional development.

From closing keynote – Clay Christensen and Michael Horn
We need to move beyond layering technology on top of what we already do. We need to use technology to transform teaching and learning.

Technological progress always outpaces what our typical customers can absorb.

Looming budget cuts and teacher shortages are an opportunity, not a threat.

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