Mar 05 2020

CoSN Highlights Top Accelerators to Innovation

The organization’s innovation report, slated for release this month, is meant to be a conversation starter.

At a time of rapid technological change, it can be difficult for school administrators to stay on top of the shifting winds sweeping the education technology landscape. For educators, innovation is important to keep up with the change and ensure that students can too.

In its upcoming “Hurdles + Accelerators” report, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) highlights five accelerators that drive innovation as well as hurdles that hinder it. The full report, slated to be released this month, is part of CoSN’s Driving K–12 innovation initiative and based on input from a 100-member advisory board of experts.

CoSN CEO Keith Krueger says he hopes the report will arm school administrators with the information they need to make smart decisions about using technology to support learning.

“This is an opportunity to create a catalyst for conversation,” Krueger says. “We think innovation is very much a discussion that needs to happen in your local school system.”

Here are more details about the five accelerators to address in 2020, ranked in order of importance:

  1. Learners as creators: For the second consecutive year, CoSN’s advisory board named “learners as creators” the most important trend accelerating innovation. This trend is perhaps most evident in the growth of makerspaces. These spaces can take many different forms but generally provide students with a designated area to engage in hands-on, creative experiments with different materials and tech devices. CoSN recommends schools integrate creative learning opportunities within the core instructional program.
  2. Data-Driven Practices: With data analytics software such as GoGuardian, it’s easier than ever for schools to gather and analyze data about student engagement and progress. Administrators can leverage such data to inform decisions about curriculum, hiring and more.
  3. Personalization: While educators have long recognized the need to personalize instruction to fit their students’ needs and interests, technology has unlocked a fast-growing set of tools to help do so. CoSN recommends school leaders consider ways to develop student agency and move toward competency-based education.
  4. Social and emotional learning: Social and emotional learning, and the growing recognition of its importance in education, made its first appearance on the top five trends list. “There’s a whole range of SEL challenges that schools are trying to address,” Krueger says. “So how do we use the tools we have to help educators identify students who are at risk?”
  5. Building human capacity of leaders: Innovation starts with investing in people. “When leaders take action to strengthen the professional community of their schools … it opens the door to innovative practices and approaches that can further student engagement,” the 2019 CoSN report stated. Krueger adds: “In order to scale and sustain, you have to have leadership that really allows that to flourish.”

The full report will include more tips for administrators and examples of how to leverage these trends to support teaching and learning.

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