CoSN’s 17th Annual Conference Brings Together Ed Tech Leaders to Reimagine the 21st Century Classroom

Washington, DC
Monday, March 12, 2012

Washington, DC (March 12, 2012) – Last week, leading educators, education technology experts, and thought leaders from across North America and around the world convened in Washington, DC, for the Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN’s) 17th Annual Conference (March 5-7), which coincided with the association’s 20th anniversary. The conference, themed Reimagine Learning, explored ways to leverage today’s constantly evolving education landscape to transcend the classroom – from creating more participatory and engaging environments to guiding districts’ transition to digital resources while doing “more with less” in a time of economic crisis.

During the conference’s opening plenary session, a key topic of discussion was how to harness the power of technology to re-envision teaching and learning to maximize the untapped potential of students. To advance the discussion, conference keynote speaker Douglas Thomas, co-author of “A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change,” emphasized the importance of engaging students’ imagination and passion to create a transformative learning environment. 

Throughout the conference, key themes were: the world is changing faster than ever and new skills are required by our students. Deloitte Center for the Edge’s John Seeley Brown, YOUMedia’s Nicole Pinkard and Quest to Learn’s Arana Shapiro all stressed that play is critical to understanding learning and that we must leverage the passion of learners and bridge formal and informal learning.  CoSN Chair and Forsyth County Schools’ (GA) Bailey Mitchell and iSchool Initiative’s Travis Allen spoke of the need for new skills that educators need to leverage technology in new ways for learning and that we need to harness the devices, especially mobile devices, that students bring to school.

A day before the conference officially kicked off, CoSN and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hosted the 2012 International Symposium. The Symposium – mLearning: Exploring the Power of Mobility to Transform Learning – tackled essential questions educators and policymakers need to confront on the issue of mobile learning (or mLearning). The all-day session comprised of more than 20 speakers, panelists and moderators who provided attendees with the opportunity to hear compelling examples of mLearning around the world, participate in discussions and develop recommendations to educators, policymakers and non-governmental organizations on the potential opportunities and challenges surrounding mLearning.

During the conference, both large and small breakout sessions enabled public and private sector education leaders to share their experiences. One event, in particular, made ed tech history, when CoSN, the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) and SXSWedu conducted their first-ever joint teleconference spotlight session. The session, titled On The Horizon: Harnessing Emerging Technologies in Education, linked technology leaders, innovative educators, along with cutting-edge education professionals, business, industry and policy leaders live and online at the Annual Conference and with SITE and SXSWedu in Austin, TX.

The Annual Conference also enabled CoSN to recognize leaders from its 20-year existence and lay out a compelling vision for the future through the association’s new strategic plan. In addition, CoSN honored Jean-Paul LeBlanc, Director of Business/Finance at Connecticut’s LEARN Organization, as its 2012 Volunteer of the Year, and Elizabeth Crawford, Education Marketing Development Manager at HP, as the 2012 Private Sector Champion. These awards, respectively, recognize volunteers and individuals from the private sector who go above and beyond the call of duty to advance education technology advocacy.

“CoSN’s work wouldn’t be possible without the selfless dedication of our members and corporate partners,” said Irene Spero, COO of CoSN. “Jean-Paul and Elizabeth each have uniquely helped make our efforts a success. We’re privileged and honored to have presented them with these awards.”

“It’s not often that technology leaders from across the globe can meet and truly interact face-to-face by sharing their best practices,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “The Annual Conference gave us this platform, and we hope this is just the start of what will be an ongoing, robust discussion and collective effort toward truly ‘reimagining learning.’”

Next year’s CoSN’s 18th Annual Conference will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel in San Diego, CA, on March 11-13, 2013.

For more information about this year’s conference and plans for next year, please visit


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 or phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN’s Leadership Initiatives, annual conference and events, policy and advocacy, membership, and resources.

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