Apr 02 2024

CoSN2024: School Technology Leaders to Drill Deeper into Artificial Intelligence

At this annual conference, K–12 leaders will also find many opportunities to bolster cybersecurity education.

Artificial intelligence continues to capture worldwide attention, and educators are no exception. At the CoSN2024 Annual Conference in Miami, many of the sessions will address aspects of AI integration in K–12 schools. The conference, which attracts school technology leaders, administrators and educators and is themed “Leading for Innovation at Warp Speed,” will run from April 8-10.

As generative AI became publicly accessible over the past couple of years, some school leaders outright banned the tool, while others considered its usefulness for tutoring or reducing teachers’ heavy workloads.  Either way, the technology cannot be ignored.

"As school systems modernize their digital ecosystems, the warp speed at which new technologies are emerging has created a K–12 technology environment drastically different from just a few years ago,” says Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

This explains the conference’s many AI-themed sessions and special workshops to choose from this year. Most notable will be the closing keynote address featuring Hadi Partovi, founder of Code.org, and Michael Trucano, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, who will discuss AI and the future of education. Conference organizers promise “a visionary dialogue that explores how education must adapt to a changing world. Discover the future of learning in the AI age and gain insights into the innovative solutions reshaping classrooms.”

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The conference’s other AI offerings will include a look at prompt engineering; an AI playground focusing on several smaller sessions covering policies and practices; perspectives from three superintendents; an AI readiness workshop specifically for administrators; and a session on student data privacy. AI even takes two slots in CoSN’s seven spotlight sessions.

With the Department of Education’s guidance on AI last year and this year’s release of the National Educational Technology Plan (the nation’s flagship educational technology policy document), attendees will want to catch the Tuesday session that will touch on the NETP to get further insights on federal or state policies and initiatives regarding digital equity and possibly AI.

DISCOVER: What does the National Educational Technology Plan say about the digital divides?

Reducing Threats with AI, Assessments, Google and Microsoft

Unfortunately, because K–12 districts are a popular ransomware target, cybersecurity continues to be a top concern for technology leaders. CoSN attendees can attend several workshops to help them shore up their defenses. “Leveraging AI for Strengthening Cybersecurity in School Districts” promises to share “AI-driven solutions that can detect, prevent and respond to cyber threats effectively.”

Another session, “Defend Your School Like a Pro: The Cybersecurity Rubric for Education Is Thriving, Join the Community!” will address The Cybersecurity Rubric, a tool that is informed by National Institute of Standards and Technology and other relevant cybersecurity and privacy frameworks for assessing and improving cybersecurity in schools.

“Taking a Deeper Look at National Cybersecurity Standards” will examine several federal cybersecurity standards and guidance from other organizations to help K–12 IT leaders build or improve their cybersecurity plans.

Another cybersecurity-focused session, “5 Strategic Google & Microsoft K-12 Security & Safety Investigations,” will feature panelists discussing risk assessment, threat detection and incident response strategies tailored to Google Workspace for Education and Microsoft 365.

Of course, funding is one of the major sticking points in improving cybersecurity in schools. For tips on how to relieve that pressure, attendees may want to check out “Charting the Course: A Post-ESSER Roadmap to Optimizing Edtech ROI” and “Equitable, Innovative Learning Opportunities: Mastering E-rate and Ed Tech Policy.”

RELATED: Schools can win federal cybersecurity funding.

CoSN2024 Offers Multiple Opportunities for Special Groups to Network

CoSN2024 is not only about professional development. The conference also offers attendees of all backgrounds many opportunities to network with peers in K–12. There will be a large district summit, a CTO forum, a digital equity reception, a women in technology breakfast and opportunities for people of color and members of the LGBTQ communities to connect.

Join EdTech as we provide written coverage of CoSN2024. Bookmark this page and follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @EdTech_K12.

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