Glossary of Terms
21st Century Skills – This term refers to the new kinds of knowledge and skills students need to master to succeed in workplaces, participate effectively in society and lead productive lives. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills defines these in six core areas:
• Emphasize core subjects
• Emphasize learning skills
• Use 21st century tools to develop learning skills
• Teach and learn in a 21st century context
• Teach and learn 21st century content
• Use 21st century assessments that measure 21st century skills
Baldrige – The Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence were created in 1987 and named posthumously for former Secretary of Commerce, Malcolm Baldrige. Designed to help American business and industry gain a competitive edge in the global market, the criteria reflect current best thinking on organizational practice. Baldrige focuses on a systematic process for helping organizations achieve systematic change. The education version of the criteria, the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence, was created in 1998 as a framework for understanding and improving school performance and for continuous improvement. The categories and core values/best practices help organizations assess how well they are doing and are practical and useful for school improvement planning.
Business Continuity Planning – BCP, as it is sometimes referred to, is a general and overarching term referring to the process of ensuring all important operations, services, processes, and facilities continue to run in the event of a disaster.
Business Management – The CTO essential skill area of Business Management involves managing the budget and serving as a strong business leader who guides purchasing decisions, assists in determining the return on investment for all technology implementations and fosters good relationships with vendors, potential funders, and other key groups.
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – CoSN often uses the title of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) but recognizes that district technology leaders have a range of titles, e.g., CTO, CIO, Director of Technology and others, and that those in the position of technology leadership come from a variety of backgrounds, among them education, technology, and business.
Communication Systems Management – The focus here is on how to use technology to improve communication. Communication Systems Management involves directing and coordinating the use of e-mail, district websites, Web tools, voice mail systems, and other forms of communication to facilitate decision-making and enhance effective communication with key stakeholders.
Core Values & Skills –The Core Values & Skills of CoSN's Framework extend through all 10 skill areas and are practiced by effective CTOs. They represent the critical personal skills and behaviors necessary for accomplishing all of the other competencies identified in the Framework. These core values and skills include being an effective Communicator and Innovator, Exhibiting Courage, and being Flexible & Adaptable and Results-Oriented.
These underlying values and skills cut across all others and are ones found in effective CTOs. They represent critical personal skills and behaviors necessary for accomplishing all of the other competencies identified in the Framework.
Cross-Functional Team – A cross-functional team is a group of employees from various functional areas of the organization – curriculum and instruction, assessment, operations, finance, facilities, transportation, security, food service, human resources, etc.– who are focused on a specific objective or task and who must work as a team to resolve issues and produce results.
Data Management – The CTO essential skill area of Data Management relates to overseeing the establishment and maintenance of systems and tools for gathering, mining, integrating and reporting data in usable and meaningful ways to produce an information culture in which data management is critical to strategic planning.
Disaster Recovery – Disaster recovery planning involves the ability of an organization to respond to a disaster or disruption by executing a disaster recovery plan to restore critical operations and services. IT disaster recovery refers specifically to the ability of an organization to execute a disaster recovery plan to restore technology, communications and IT systems, and key operations and services following a disaster or disruption.
Essential Skill Areas
– Ten essential skill areas of the K-12 CTO have been identified in the CoSN Framework
: Leadership & Vision, Strategic Planning, Ethics & Policies, Instructional Focus & Professional Development, Team Building & Staffing, Stakeholder Focus, Information Technology Management, Communication systems Management, Business Management, and Data Management. Also included are Core Values & Skills that cut across all others and are ones found in effective CTOs.
Ethics & Policies – The CTO essential skill area of Ethics & Policies refers to overseeing the creation, implementation and enforcement of policies and educational programs relating to the social, legal, and ethical issues involved in technology use throughout the district and modeling responsible decision-making.
Information Technology Management – The CTO essential skill area of Information Technology Management includes skills of directing, coordinating, and ensuring implementation of all tasks related to technical, infrastructure, standards, and integration of technology into every facet of district operations. Among many things considered are systems administration, backup and storage, data security, disaster recovery, network infrastructure, network management, network security, Internet bandwidth, federal and state compliance, desktop support, and others.
Instructional Focus & Professional Development – The CTO essential skill area, Instructional Focus & Professional Development, includes budgeting for, planning for and coordinating ongoing, purposeful professional development for all staff using technologies, including ensuring a sufficient budget through the implementation and assessment process of emerging technologies.
– ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. ITIL provides a cohesive set of best practices, drawn from the public and private sectors internationally.
Leadership & Vision
– The CTO essential skill area, Leadership & Vision, involves working closely with the executive team and stakeholders to develop a shared vision with long-term, big-picture perspectives on a district’s goals to plan for meaningful and effective uses of technology. It involves providing leadership into creating a vision of how technology will help meet district goals.
– Qualitative data is data that is difficult to count or measure in numerical terms, e.g., text, audio, video, case studies, focus groups, and similar types of data.
– Quantitative data is data that can be counted, measured, or identified on a numerical scale, e.g. quantities, percentages and statistics.
Risk Management, Risk Mitigation
– This involves actions taken to identify preventable and unavoidable disasters and to address what can be done to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of a disaster and/or its accompanying risks. The real goal of mitigation is to decrease or eliminate the need for a response, e.g., considering security vulnerabilities on the network and taking measures to safeguard systems.
ROI (Return on Investment)
– ROI refers to the monetary benefits resulting from having spent money on developing or revising a system. Traditionally, when IT professionals and administrators discussed ROI of an IT investment, they were largely thinking about tangible financial benefits. Today, discussion often additionally considers intangible, non-financial benefits, which may be among the most important ones. Because intangible benefits may be long-term, they are typically the most difficult to quantify.
– SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Mode) is a set of technical standards and specifications for how web-based e-learning software should be built. It is an industry standard that governs how online learning content and Learning Management Systems (LMS) communicate with one another.
– SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) is the process of developing information systems through investigation, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance. It represents a systems approach to problem solving.
– SIF (Schools Interoperability Framework) is a data sharing open specification for K-12 institutions used in the United States and also other countries. The specification includes an XML specification for modeling educational data and a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) specification for sharing data among institutions. This industry initiative enables diverse applications to interact and share data.
– The Stakeholder Focus CTO essential skill area refers to using knowledge you have about all stakeholders and building relationships with all of them. It involves taking a close look at how the district determines requirements, expectations and preferences of stakeholders as well as key factors that lead to stakeholder satisfaction. It addresses how the district seeks knowledge, satisfaction and loyalty of students, and other stakeholders.
– Stakeholders include the range of influencers and end users in the school system—the Board, all departments, administrators, teachers, students, parents, community, etc. Each group has specific needs and interests, and each requires personalized and targeted communications.
– The CTO essential skill area of Strategic Planning involves a high-level view across the school system of things needed to be successful. It involves working with instructional and technical teams to identify steps needed to transform the technology vision into a long-range plan, complete with specific goals, objectives, and action plans.
Team Building & Staffing
– The CTO essential skill area of Team Building & Staffing involves creation and support of cross-functional teams for decision-making, technology support, professional development, and other aspects of the district’s technology program as an integral part of strategic planning.
– TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
looks at installed (or optionally planned) computer environment costs. The focus of a TCO assessment is to capture and understand all costs incurred for a distributed computing environment for all or a part of the school or district. A TCO assessment helps district leaders understand all costs that make up the networked computer environment, including equipment and software, direct labor, and user overhead. This information can be used to plan for better efficiencies and to help determine costs for planned projects, based on historical costs.
– VOI (Value of Investment)
looks at anticipated costs and benefits of technology projects. The focus of VOI is to project costs and related benefits of specific proposed technology projects. On the cost
side, while anticipated budgeted initial and ongoing costs are important, the anticipated project TCO is critical for determining all of the anticipated project costs over the life of the project. Benefits include any dollar savings, efficiencies, or additional revenue generation but also need to take into account qualitative benefits that relate directly to school mission, goals, and mandates.