May 24, 2024

CoSN2020: Annual Event Focuses on Breakthrough Mindsets

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When developing this year’s theme for the annual conference of the Consortium for School Networking, we decided to build the event around changing mindsets. Educational technology is on a fast path of continuous change, but leaders’ mindsets don’t always follow. One key shift is that educational technology leaders need to adopt a more strategic focus instead of a break/fix approach.

Hence, CoSN2020 will break through some of our own mindsets. We’re aiming to stimulate conversation, inspire and perhaps be a bit controversial. We hope you will join us!

MORE FROM EDTECH: How to clear hurdles to foster true innovation in K–12 schools.

We selected Amber Case, author of Calm Technology: Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design, to address this theme as one of our keynote speakers. Case is a cyborg anthropologist who examines symbiotic interactions between humans and machines. She often poses the question: How are our values and culture being shaped by living lives increasingly mediated by high technology? 

The era of ubiquitous computing and 50 billion devices is a reality. What does that mean for human attention, bandwidth and life in general, particularly for leaders in education? After all, we are surrounded by always-on devices that are blinking, beeping, buzzing and jostling for our attention. Children experience this too. And even though technology can advance the learning experience, students’ screen time is a deep concern for some parents, policymakers and educators. 

Always-on devices and Attention Spans

In her book, Case explores the idea that attention is not a widespread consideration in design. She maintains that most technology is still designed like a desktop machine, commanding users’ full attention for them to receive any useful information. She plans to challenge CoSN2020 attendees to think about the periphery of attention spans and understand people can’t simultaneously focus on many different things. She also will delve into how learners prioritize their attention. 

Case also will propose the concept that young adults experience two adolescences. Their primary one, which is awkward, and a second online adolescence, which could be particularly fragile. It should be an interesting conclusion to the conference.

MORE FROM EDTECH: K–12 education’s top tech hurdles to innovation.

We also invite you to come early for our deep-dive workshops on esports, becoming a new CTO, and data privacy practices. Content is strong throughout CoSN2020 with sessions ranging from artificial intelligence in education, digital equity strategies, cybersecurity risks, universal design for learning, interoperability and much more. 

Our large district summit, which received rave reviews at the 2019 conference, returns for its second year. This highly interactive summit focuses on solution identification and team building in large school systems. 

Ignite sessions will be sprinkled throughout the conference in CoSN Camp, our “unconference” learning space. CoSN Camp is where attendees go to talk about challenges, successes and failures that aren’t addressed in the more traditional sessions. You might also catch one of our famous s’more breaks. We’ve added more networking time as well.

In preparation for CoSN2020, we plan to release a number of new resources, including:

  • 2019-2020 IT Leadership Survey results
  • New resources on student data privacy
  • Our Driving K-12 Innovation: Hurdles & Accelerators report

We hope you will stay after CoSN2020 for the EdTech Advocacy and Policy Summit in partnership with ISTE, SETDA and SIIA. This summit will focus on shaping decision-makers’ opinions about the future of E-rate, student data privacy, ed tech appropriations and the homework gap. Occurring amid a shifting political landscape, the event will provide a new opportunity to tell your story about how digital learning benefits your students, teachers, families and communities.

CoSN2020 will be a highlight for any ed tech leader. We hope to see you in Washington, D.C., March 16 to 18.

This article is part of the “Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology