May 18 2020

What to Expect from CoSN2020

The Consortium for School Networking resumes its annual conference online with a focus on breakthrough mindsets.

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is resuming its annual conference virtually from May 19-21, making it one of the first K–12 national education conferences being held online.

The thought leadership event, which drew more than 1,000 attendees in 2019, was slated for mid-March. But because of official health and safety advisories regarding the novel coronavirus, CoSN’s Board of Directors split the conference into a two-part virtual experience. The board also factored in travel restrictions and how school system leaders were gearing up for remote learning.

“I know that many of you will be disappointed that the conference in its previous form has been transformed, but CoSN is very hopeful about what we can still offer in these difficult times,” wrote Pete Just, CoSN’s board chair, in an official letter in March.

The first part of the conference featured a keynote session by Amber Case, author of Calm Technology: Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design, on March 18. Case spoke via Zoom about how technology augments student learning and the solutions to creating and using technology in a way that supports all learners.

The second part, which will have all remaining keynote speakers, sessions, professional development breakouts and more, will be streamed live on Zoom starting May 19. CoSN also livestreamed pre-conference workshops from May 12-to 14 that focused on major issues educational technology leaders face, such as cybersecurity, data privacy and equity. All sessions will be recorded and made available to registrants until the end of the year.

What’s New to CoSN2020?

Despite the move to a virtual setting, CoSN is sticking to its conference theme for this year: breakthrough mindsets.

“Educational technology is on a fast path of continuous change, but leaders’ mindsets don’t always follow,” write CoSN board members Marlo Gaddis, Steve Langford and Melissa Tebbenkamp for EdTech. “One key shift is that educational technology leaders need to adopt a more strategic focus instead of a break/fix approach.”

Keynote speakers James Williams, former advertising strategist at Google and an Oxford-trained philosopher, and Joe Sanfelippo, superintendent at Fall Creek School District in Wisconsin, will touch on that topic in their plenary sessions.

On May 19, Williams will discuss the power of technology and how educators can ensure that it doesn’t distract from learning. Meanwhile, on May 21, Sanfelippo will help ed tech leaders identify leadership traits in themselves and others and explain how they can use that insight to transform learning in their schools or districts.

That’s especially important today as school leaders face the challenge of pivoting to remote learning. In response, CoSN will also have sessions focused on remote learning, from how administrators can create a home base for remote learning resources to how IT teams can secure e-learning environments.

MORE ON EDTECH: Discover our special coverage on remote learning from the first part of CoSN2020.

Other sessions will have a new meaning in today’s remote learning environment, such as “The Often Ignored Challenges of Digital Equity,” which will look at issues around screen time, and “Get the Inside Scoop on E-Rate and EdTech Policy,” which will help school leaders navigate recent E-rate updates from the Federal Communications Commission.

“I think this is a moment of exponential change. The world has shifted, and this is the time to step up,” says CoSN CEO Keith Krueger. “To be a leader, you’re going to have to work collaboratively. You’re going to have to try new things. The kind of leadership you will provide will determine your future success, your reputation and the reputation of the school district.”

This week, EdTech will have fresh content from CoSN2020, so keep this page bookmarked for our ongoing coverage. Follow @EdTech_K12 on Twitter for live updates and join the conversation using #CoSN2020.

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