‘Small Screens, Big Plans’ for K-12 Districts

CoSN EdTechNext Report Provides School Leaders with Content and App Strategy to Leverage Growing Mobile-Driven Landscape
Washington, DC
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Washington, DC (March 5, 2014) – With ever-increasing “anytime, anywhere” use of mobile devices, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released a report charging schools to build mobile into their content and application strategies. Titled “Small Screens, Big Plans,” the resource – CoSN’s spring 2014 EdTechNext Report – explains that the mobile shift in U.S. communities should require districts to move their focus from adopting mobile technology programs to the impact mobile has on delivering information and services.

“Since the advent of mobile technology, school leaders and educators have devoted their attention to BYOD programs, bandwidth and instructional apps. While these efforts are encouraging and necessary, parents and others in the community want to access information ‘on-the-go’ at all times – a transition for which district leaders must plan,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Our newest EdTechNext Report gives school leaders step-by-step guidance on how to address the growing mobile impact, so stakeholders at both the classroom and school levels are informed and involved.”

For districts or school systems to build a mobile content strategy, the report outlines six steps that comprise both information and application content:

  1. Evaluate where your district is and with whom it works – compile an inventory of existing systems, people, skills sets and content, as well as evaluate their mobile readiness.
  2. Prioritize what is most important – what information should be made mobile and on which devices / app platforms.
  3. Act on tactical solutions for the short-term and plan for long-term mobility needs.
  4. Communicate the designed strategy to key stakeholders and actively promote the application.
  5. Monitor, measure and guide your mobile strategy using mobile analytics, surveys, audience profiles and usability testing.
  6. Support, maintain and adjust to changing needs, trends and technologies, including the frequency that content will require updates. 

The steps explain that district and school mobile apps are becoming essential communication drivers with parents and students for activities and events, news and announcements, school calendars and directories, among other useful information.

The report also describes opportunities and drawbacks of three different mobile app development approaches – native mobile apps, mobile web apps, and hybrid designs. Native apps, which are downloaded and installed on users’ mobile devices, are often the most expensive approach. Mobile web apps are customized websites designed and tailored for mobile viewing. Hybrid apps combine both the mobile app and website, and enable web developers to use HTML and JavaScript and still implement native features. When building mobile apps, and whichever approach, the report poses school system leaders and developers to evaluate pricing, testing and app store submission, rights, support, OS updates and enhancements, and metrics.

In addition, “Small Screens, Big Plans” shares how districts and schools have successfully become mobile-based, including tailoring curriculum with mobile web and app development courses.

CoSN’s EdTechNext Reports are made possible by Amplify, Blackboard, CDW-G, Google, HP, iBoss Network Security, Identity Automation, Lenovo, Lightspeed Systems, Microsoft, Pearson, Pearson Foundation, Qualcomm, SchoolDude and Sprint.

The publications are only available to CoSN members. For media contacts interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the latest report, please contact Michael Kaplun at michaelkaplun@cosn.org.

About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit www.cosn.org or call 866-267-08747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership and the CETL certification exam.

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