CoSN Releases Outcomes of 2013 K-12 Technology Leadership Forums

Follow-up Reports Examine the Evolving Role of CTOs in Leading Effective, Transformative Change Across K-12
Washington, DC
Thursday, November 14, 2013

Washington, DC (November 14, 2013) – The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released two follow-up reports on the association’s 2013 Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Leadership Forums held in March and June 2013. The first CTO forum report, titled “The ‘Undiscussables’ of Technology Leadership: Engaging in Challenging Conversations,” examines the primary district-level leadership challenges facing CTOs from elevating their districts’ learning environments. The second CTO forum report, titled “Technology Department Landscape: That was Then, This is Now!” explores the evolving role and skill set of CTOs, as technology becomes increasingly integral to teaching and learning.   

Held biannually, the CTO Leadership Forums bring together district-level technology directors to share information with their peers and keep up-to-date on best ed tech practices and solutions.

“Both reports echo common sentiments expressed by CTOs nationwide: District technology leaders face incredible challenges, from insufficient bandwidth and underfunding to weak internal communications to lack of stakeholder recognition and support. As a result, CTOs and all district-level leaders need to collaborate and develop a shared understanding and an agenda on how to best harness technology resources to maximize their positive impact,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

“The ‘Undiscussables’ of Technology Leadership: Engaging in Challenging Conversations” report details the CTO leadership challenges identified by the forum participants, of which include changing the district’s overall learning culture, establishing a common vision with coordinated, active communication, building community support, and reducing financial and investment hindrances. The report also identifies the following opportunities districts should take to address their challenges:

  • Improve collaboration among technology specialists and curriculum leaders to support instruction and better leverage tools;
  • Continue to move to digital content, harnessing the financial benefits and stakeholder support for such learning resources;
  • Build partnerships, integrate formative assessments, and collect and analyze student data to address and improve academic achievement;
  • Leverage blended, online, and collaborative professional development opportunities to implement and carry out initiatives; among others.

The “Technology Department Landscape: That was Then, This is Now!” report examines advances in the CTO position over time, while also emphasizing the challenges that are preventing districts from creating transformative learning environments. These challenges include, but are not limited to, the digital divide, inadequate bandwidth and infrastructure, underfunding, and the need for greater professional development. As the educational landscape continues to evolve, the forum participants shared the following “recipes for success”:

  • The CTO and other district-level technology leaders must be a part of the decision-making process.
  • Technology planning and support must be a team effort.
  • Professional development for both district leaders and educators play a central role and must be sustained and embedded.
  • Cloud services should be used to elicit technology support outside of district walls.
  • Partnerships with the outside community should be expanded.
  • Students should be empowered as directors of their own learning and leaders in the classroom.
  • Ongoing program evaluations and policy review are critical to ensure programs have long-lasting effects in meeting district needs.

The CTO Leadership Forums and follow-up reports are supported by Adobe, Amplify, Comcast, Gartner, HP, Kajeet, Lenovo, Lightspeed Systems, Microsoft, Pearson, Pearson Foundation, Qualcomm, SAFARI Montage, Schooldude, SmartTechnologies, and Steelcase.

The reports are only available to CoSN members and may be accessed via CoSN’s online store at: www.cosn.org/knowledge-center. For media interested in obtaining a complimentary copy of the reports, please contact Michael Kaplun at michaelkaplun@cosn.org or Jennifer Cummings at jcummings@cosn.org.

For more information on CoSN’s CTO Leadership Forums, including the 2014 schedule, please visit: www.cosn.org/cto-forums

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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