Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) CEO Keith Krueger shares with EdTech: Focus on K-12 that a new three-part series from the organization called “Driving K-12 Innovation” is aimed at keeping administrators and educators abreast of the latest trends and best practices in deploying digital tools and resources in schools.
For these publications, CoSN looked at the biggest challenges educators have regarding classroom innovation in 2019, which include digital equity and the connection between tech and the future of work, as well as emerging technologies and how these tools will impact students when they graduate.
The first part of the series will be available in the spring of 2019, with the second part following in summer and the third, a toolkit administrators can use to help bring these ideas to their schools, coming at a later date.
Tablets and laptops are staples in today's schools, but districts are starting to see the influx of a broad range of digital tools into classrooms, from virtual reality headsets to robotics building kits, which often tap coding language development.
These items may sound like wonderful tools and activities for schools to pursue. But if educators don’t know how to put these devices into practice or are uncomfortable weaving them into existing curriculum, they become fancy — and sometimes expensive — objects that never make it into a student’s hands.
District chief academic officers and other curriculum leaders have a responsibility then to assess not only teachers' existing skill levels with technology, but to also offer professional development to ensure new tech or digital resources will make their way into existing curriculum.
Certainly, professional development can add strain to budgets — and that’s on top of any major financial investments schools may be making into new tech tools. But working with groups like the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and taking advantage of their recent innovation series can do more than support curriculum needs, but also help with budgets. CoSN’s new series, for example, is free. Additionally, working with a group like CoSN helps school leaders trust that they’re getting expert assistance on both curriculum and technology.
Students must have access to digital tools, particularly emerging technologies they’ll need to know when they graduate and enter college or the working world. To effectively teach those skills to children, may require some catch-up on the part of educators. Administrators too must be willing to find professional development opportunities to support these teachers. The result is likely worth the effort — students who leave school confident in their own abilities and skills.