Education Marketing Trends

CoSN 2017: Accepting Change as the Constant in Nurturing Digital Equity

By April 17, 2017 No Comments
Improve your education marketing with insights from CoSN 2017

The CB&A’s team at CoSN 2017.

Connectivity and digital equity are no longer luxuries for supporting the personal growth of all students in 2017 – they are necessities. During the 25th annual CoSN Conference in the “Windy City,” educators shared knowledge to propel district strategies for connectivity, digital curriculum and technology purchasing to the top of their agenda. Key industry stakeholders, education marketing professionals and educators embarked on a pursuit to “invent the future” – while acknowledging what did and did not work in past technology purchases and initiatives.

To develop and adjust district strategic plans that weave technology seamlessly into each component, the following core topics drove discussion.

Technology is a tool, not a solution.

While having a plan in place before purchasing may seem like a natural first step, educators and industry leaders echoed the value in choosing the right technology for the job at hand. CEO of EdSurge Betsy Corcoran compared technology in education to the perils and pitfalls of technology that emerges from Silicon Valley.

Corcoran stressed steps for driving innovation for the future in education, where cause and effect for student outcomes remains in the “here and now.” Technology is not always a catalyst for change – it’s a careful result after considering four factors that drive adoption: 1) infrastructure, 2) the desired change in behavior or practice, 3) variation in technology applications, and 4) personalization.

Directors of curriculum and innovation at DYSART in Surprise, Ariz. provide parameters for aligning technology purchases with district-wide initiatives. Successful implementation is a result of a clear and consistent district mission, in which all technology plans must support.

What does this mean for education technology providers and education marketing?

A product alone will not solve challenges in teaching in learning. Position your product as a ready-to-scale tool equipped with resources educators need to demonstrate its implications for district-wide learning objectives.

Failure is how students and teachers learn.

Successes aren’t always how students learn, and educators’ experiences with technology are no different. Superintendents from across the U.S. convened to discuss working models for addressing the triumphs and burdens of leading district innovation in a panel, “What Keeps Superintendents Up at Night?” Panelists acknowledged what has worked and what hasn’t, by elevating the value of educator-directed training, or “coaching.” Professional development is a must for technology initiatives to elevate voice and choice and facilitate variation of it applications.

To close the State of CoSN address, members were welcomed to the stage to compete in the annual “Fail Fest.” Competitors shared challenging times and lessoned learned by returning to the drawing board.

What does this mean for education technology providers and education marketing?

Balance success stories with customer anecdotes of what does not work. If we teach our students to not fear failure, we must lead by example.

Access Benefits Children.

Doom and gloom has arguably created a culture of fear and uncertainty in what the future holds for federal and state funding in K-12 education. Attendees often alluded to changes in the federal funding formula in question-and-answer segments following sessions.

Recognized as the 2017 Excellence in Public Service winner at CoSN, former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler spoke to the importance of protecting the largest federal program for education, E-Rate. While 3,300 schools are still in need of basic fiber installation to enable broadband internet access, digital equity for students in all parts of the country must remain a top priority.

And IT leaders agree. In the 4th Annual CoSN K-12 IT Leadership Survey, budget constraints and lack of resources are ranked as the top challenges for the third straight year. More than half of school technology leaders said their IT budgets have stayed the same since last year and do not sufficiently meet current needs and demands.

What does this mean for education technology providers and education marketing?

Reassure your customers that the sky is not, in fact, falling. ESSA will reallocate plans and budgets largely to the states, shifting processes, but not necessarily funding. Do the homework for your customers customers by sharing private and public grant opportunities to support technology purchasing.