Some Thoughts On CoSN 2008

I attended this year’s annual CoSN K-12 Networking Conference (March 9-12) largely because the focus was “Visionary Leadership: Scaffolding 21st Century Learning with Technology.” 

The conference was particularly refreshing, and one recurring theme became evident as I attended a series of hour long sessions; CCSD’s practices and goals are essentially a model of what CoSN outlines as key elements of visionary leadership. 

For example, in one of the CTO Leadership forums we talked about the importance of all decisions being tied to a district’s strategic plan, of avoiding “random acts of technology” by defining a clear vision/goals, including a plan for achieving them, and the value of having the technology department “understand the business” of education.  It is refreshing to consider that these have all been essential parts of our district’s technology committee work throughout the year. 

Another example identified by CoSN is the importance of including various stakeholder groups (i.e community, school board, curriculum specialists, principals, and teachers) around the implementation of a major technology initiative.  This is common practice in our district, our technology initiatives are tied directly to our district’s strategic plan, and all stakeholders are included in the planning and implementation of any major technology initiative.  Other examples from CoSN include recognizing the characteristics of  twenty-first century learners, the importance of having principals on board and having conversations with the faculties in their buildings, the value of having the director of technology be an instructional leader in order to build the structures that support the framework, and leveraging a new generation of tools to serve and enhance district processes.

One quote from Tim Magner’s presentation underscored the importance of recognizing twenty-first century learners and supporting their learning with twenty-first century tools;  “Nothing stops an organization faster than people who believe that the way you worked yesterday is the best way to work tomorrow.” – Jon Madonna 

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