Apr 15 2016

5 Things You Might Have Missed at CoSN 2016

From the Whip and Nae Nae to Wi-Fi on Wheels, this year’s CoSN conference brought fun as well as insightful lessons to the table.

With the 2016 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference now behind us, educators around the country are reflecting back on what they’ve learned from the gathering of minds.

To help jumpstart that process, we’ve captured a few highlights, in case you missed them, at this year’s CoSN conference, “Accelerating Success — Powered by an e-Learning Culture.”

Is Ubiquitous Classroom Tech a Challenge or Opportunity?

During one of EdTech's CoSN 2016 expert roundtable discussions, Jon Corippo, the director of academic innovation for CUE, took a cue from elementary school Principal Adam Welcome to show off his Whip and Nae Nae dance moves.

By referencing the popular YouTube video, Welcome was demonstrating the power of viral conversations on social media. Educators can't keep their students in bubbles when they're using their devices in the classroom. What happens on social media can be a part of the classroom language, and educators need to be fluent in it.

"That's the language our students speak. They speak the Minecraft language," Welcome said. "We're teaching them the wrong language.  It's a generation of students being taught in the wrong language."

WATCH: Is Ubiquitous Classroom Tech a Challenge or Opportunity?

Join the Social Media Conversation

 “If you’re not blogging, you’re selling yourself short; you’re selling your school short.”

Eric Sheninger, an author, consultant and senior fellow with the International Center for Leadership in Education, gave his audience a pep talk on engagement during his CoSN 2016 spotlight session on digital leadership. Educators should be using social and traditional media to get the word out about their schools, he says.

“Digital leadership is about becoming the storyteller in chief,” he said. “It’s about sharing, telling and building relationships.”

Sheninger says a school and its leaders should brand themselves and take ownership of their stories. “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will,” he said. When that happens, “nine out of 10 times, the story being told is not what you want out there.”

READ: Join the Social Media Conversation

Eliminating the Homework Gap With Wi-Fi on Wheels

In Coachella Valley Unified School District, district leaders were struggling to raise students to 21st-century learning standards. One of the biggest troubles was connectivity. Students could connect to Wi-Fi at school, but they’d return home and leave the connectivity bubble.

Superintendent Darryl Adams decided on a rather innovative course of action. "We have 100 buses. Let's use them; put routers on them and park them where there's no access," he said.

Adams and the district's Chief Technology Officer Michelle Murphy shared the uplifting story of their Wi-Fi on Wheels program in an EdTech video during the conference. 

WATCH: Eliminating the Homework Gap With Wi-Fi on Wheels

Technology's Role in Addressing the Homework Gap

For years, education officials have been struggling with how to close the digital divide — the gap in access to technology that affects students from low-income areas and makes them less competitive than their more affluent peers.

Now, IT directors and school superintendents are tackling a related inequity: the homework gap. That describes what happens when children from low-income households don’t have Internet access to complete their schoolwork.

“We’re having this conversation because education is digital,” CoSN CEO Keith R. Krueger said during the session “Digital Equity Challenges: Strategies for Bridging the Home/School Connection.”

READ: Technology's Role in Addressing the Homework Gap

NMC Offers a Taste of the Future of Classroom Technology

The future of learning technologies has a hazy horizon when you try to look too far out, says Larry Johnson.

"It's impossible to plan out very far in the future," said Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium (NMC). "Most of our thinking is based on a world that used to exist. And we did good at creating things for it, but the world that's coming will be much different from that."

Johnson hosted a panel at CoSN 2016 and offered a preview of NMC's forthcoming K–12 Horizon Report, an annual assessment of the technologies that could dominate schools in the coming years.

This year’s report isn't complete yet, but Johnson came prepared with a list of some of the key tech trends that are paving the road to K–12's future.

READ: NMC Offers a Taste of the Future of Classroom Technology


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