Mar 14 2023

CoSN2023: 5 Themes You Won’t Want to Miss at This Year’s K–12 IT Event

Plan to attend sessions on cybersecurity, equity and inclusion, disaster recovery and more at the Consortium for School Networking’s conference in Austin, Texas.

Four days of networking, learning and innovating await attendees of this year’s Consortium for School Networking conference.

Bringing educators, administrators and other IT leaders together in Austin, Texas, CoSN2023 invites participants to “Reimagine. Redesign. Renew.” Presenters will delve into this year’s theme in sessions taking place from March 20-23.

This year’s conference welcomes notable speakers such as author Michael Horn, who will deliver the event’s opening keynote, “From Reopen to Invent.” Horn will share why schools should overthrow an outdated system and how they can move to a mastery-based model using the appropriate technology.

This presentation is one of several that will be available to participants online. Virtual participation in this year’s conference also allows viewers to watch Michelle Sengara’s closing keynote on Wednesday, March 22. In her presentation, “Creating Robust Systems of Innovation for Learning in a Post Digital Age,” Sengara, director of academic innovation at York University in Toronto, will explore the relationship between digital and instructional models.

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These keynotes, however, are only a tiny portion of what participants can expect this year. With workshops, spotlight sessions, special events and more competing for attendees’ attention, here’s what K–12 IT leaders should look for when building their event schedule:

1. Sessions Tackling New Angles on K–12 Cybersecurity

CoSN2023 will feature plenty of sessions on school cybersecurity practices. Attendees can pack their schedules with presentations that cover new security angles and technologies.

On Monday, IT leaders unpack two real security incidents that school districts faced, as well as the challenges and outcomes of each scenario, in the session “Dissecting a Real District Security Incident.

Tuesday’s session, “Developing Statewide Cybersecurity Programs; North Carolina and Indiana,” will take a broader look at cybersecurity. Presenters will showcase two examples of how states are setting cybersecurity precedents, including North Carolina’s K–12 Cybersecurity Program and Indiana’s renewed focus on partnerships and practice.

Other notable sessions on cybersecurity include:

LEARN MORE: What is third-party risk, and what do schools need to know?

2. Sessions Paving the Way for Equity and Inclusion in Schools

In sessions such as “Fostering Culturally Responsive Tech Support” and “A Candid Conversation with Female Leaders in IT,” conferencegoers can hear advice and firsthand examples from groups that are working to put equity into practice. These sessions, both taking place on Thursday, spotlight challenges in the field of technology and help school leaders understand how to foster more inclusive environments. Jun Kim, technology director at Moore (Okla.) Public Schools, presents with members of Albemarle County (Va.) Public Schools’ tech department in the tech support session. Diane Doersch, senior director of IT for Digital Promise, joins a powerhouse panel of women for the female leaders session.

Doersch, who is also on CoSN’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, will also be at the Women in Technology Breakfast Thursday morning.

“We’ve discovered through the years that the best way to teach a concept that reaches the heart and builds a sense of community and belonging is to build environments where our members learn and experience rich and courageous conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion topics,” Doersch says of the committee. “Our CoSN conference is just the place to create that environment for learning.”

The DEI committee is also hosting a “network meetup” on Monday morning. Preregistration is required for the meetup and the breakfast.

3. Sessions Involving K–12 Students in the World of IT

Schools are giving K–12 students hands-on training with technology to prepare them for digital careers. In “Developing a World-class High School Cybersecurity Program,” Lakota Schools’ Director of Secondary Curriculum Andrew Wheatley will share how his Ohio district is introducing students to cybersecurity career paths through certifications, internships and more.

On Wednesday, the panel discussion “From Adversary to Ally: Students as Partners in IT” explores the ways students can play an active role in aiding district IT departments.

Microsoft hosts a session Wednesday morning on career and technical education labs. In it, the company shares how the largest district in Tennessee created cloud-powered lab environments for its students.

Other sessions promoting student involvement in tech and IT include:

4. Sessions Exploring Data Use and Storage

School technologies are rich with data, and many sessions at this year’s CoSN conference will show district leaders how to take advantage of this wealth of information.

Some sessions, like Tuesday’s “This Is Not a Drill: Successfully Navigating a Disaster,” will cover data recovery and storage. Others, like “Fun Size Data Fundamentals: Data Interoperability in K12 Nationwide,” will focus on making data more actionable.

MORE ON DATA STORAGE: Should schools choose data lakes or data warehouses?

There are plenty of sessions on using and analyzing data for K–12 IT leaders to explore, including:

Data privacy is also covered in CoSN2023 sessions such as:

5. Sessions Navigating New Technologies’ Impact on Education

Last, K–12 IT experts won’t want to miss the sessions on innovation and new technologies.

Presenters will unveil the findings of the “CoSN EdTechNext Report: 2023,” which focuses on improving school culture through the use of technology. CoSN attendees will also get a first look at the latest Driving K–12 Innovation report, which will cover the hurdles, accelerators and tech enablers of 2023.

Artificial intelligence is also a hot topic this year. Conferencegoers can hear more about AI in the classroom, with all its potential ups and downs, in sessions such as “Insights on AI and the Future of Teaching and Learning” and “Education & the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conundrum.”

Join EdTech as we provide written coverage of CoSN2023. Bookmark this page and follow us on Twitter @EdTech_K12.

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