CoSN’s 2011 Top 10 Back-to-School Tools for Ed Tech Leaders

With summer coming to a close and educators and students gearing up for the school year, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) released its top 10 tools for back to school:

10) Empower Your Superintendent

The Empowering the 21st Century Superintendent Online Self-assessment covers the five themes built around conversations with superintendents from across the country. Once completed, superintendents can see their progress along the technology leadership continuum to pinpoint the professional development support needed to measure technology success.

9) Master the Moment & Show Cost and Value of Technology

Pulling together CoSN’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Value of Investment (VOI) projects, CoSN’s Mastering the Moment Initiative provides a white paper with strategic and tactical recommendations for dealing with reduced district budgets. Along with the CoSN-Gartner TCO tool, CoSN’s TCO Initiative includes resources and a checklist of actions to consider for improved efficiency. While the focus of many technology projects is tied to student learning, financially justifying many proposed projects is also essential. CoSN’s VOI Initiative helps school leaders evaluate the costs and benefits of proposed projects. CoSN has also developed a Return on Investment calculator, which includes project payback time.

8) Enable Participatory Learning with Web 2.0

The Transformative Leadership with Web 2.0 Online Self-assessment will measure your school’s level of engagement. Then use the Acceptable Use Policy: A Guide for School Districts to fully integrate Web 2.0 tools and mobile devices into teaching and learning practices.

7) Verify Your Network Cyber Security

Utilize tools designed to help analyze your current security status and identify strengths and weaknesses, and a planning template to help you determine your goals for a secure environment. The Security Self-assessment Checklist and the Security Rubric and the Planning Templates are focused on four areas: Management, Technology, Business Continuity and End Users.

6) Connect with your Peers in, Our District Online Community of Practice

Find resources to help you innovate in providing access across your district. In, district leaders join experts in sharing questions and tips around such issues as Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiatives, implementing broadband access, and moving a district from print to digital. Register now for ongoing professional learning.

5) Get LinkedIn to CoSN

Have you requested to join one of CoSN’s LinkedIn groups (opens in new tab)? CoSN has an ed tech leaders page (opens in new tab), and you can also join the Leadership for Mobile Learning group (opens in new tab). Mobile learning is currently receiving a great deal of attention in the education sector and has the potential to bridge the digital divide and amplify teaching and learning. School leaders are invited to join this networking subgroup in LinkedIn to explore research, resources and tools related to best practices in mobile learning.

4) Provide Input into the 2011 Technology Leaders Data-Driven Survey

CoSN and LinkIt! have created the 2011 Technology Director Data Driven Instruction Survey (opens in new tab) to help district technology leaders better understand and utilize the data-driven life cycle to inform instruction. The survey covers areas of data criteria, access and support, data access, professional development, role of the technology department with respect to data and systems, and software and hardware. District technology leaders are invited to provide their thoughts and experiences by completing the survey (opens in new tab), which closes October 15, 2011.

3) Certify Your District for Green Technology

Do your part to set an example for the district, students and the community at-large. Your district is probably already doing much of the common sense actions required for CoSN/EPEAT Green Computing Certification, and should be recognized for these efforts. CoSN’s Green Computing Certification Guide will help in these efforts and to receive recognition. Part of Green Computing is energy efficiency, within the computing infrastructure as well as using computers to reduce waste elsewhere. The Energy Use Calculator helps school leaders estimate energy usage and cost, and evaluate the savings of proposed energy saving measures.

2) Use the Horizon Report: 2011 K-12 Edition to Start a Conversation on Emerging Technologies for Learning

Choose from a variety of resources and examples, presentation tools, ready-to-use activities and videos to start a local conversation with a range of stakeholders about emerging technologies and their potential to address local teaching and learning needs. Use this PowerPoint, guide and videos with teachers, administrators/board members, students and parents and other community members. The Report, Toolkit and Videos are available for free.

1) Attend CoSN Webinars

Sign up for one or all six of CoSN’s webinars in this year’s series. Topics and dates for the 2011-2012 season are:

• October 11: Planning for the Shift from Print to Digital – Part I
• November 8: CoSN’s CETL Certification — A Preview
• December 13: Next Generation Curriculum Delivery – Part 2
• January 17: Measuring Tech Readiness for 2014 Testing
• April 17: Making the Connections in Mobile Learning
• May 15: Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition

Founded in 1992, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is a professional association for school district technology leaders whose mission is empowering K-12 school district technology leaders to use technology strategically to improve teaching and learning.