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CoSN 2013 Annual Conference: Early registration closing soon
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Early registration discounts for the 2013 CoSN Annual Conference are closing soon, so don't miss out. Register for the conference before Monday, Dec. 17 to take advantage of the discounts.

The 2013 Annual Conference, in San Diego, Calif., from March 11-13, will focus on Audacious Leadership and give you invaluable opportunities to engage with key education technology leaders, share best practices and plan your district's future. Today's educators must possess strong organization, leadership, and vision to build 21st century learning environments and ensure student success. Our conference will showcase leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges of leadership, inspire thought-provoking discussions, and enable you to envision and implement the changes that are necessary to create a compelling learning environment in your district.

Now is the time for Audacious Leadership, so join the conversation at the premier education technology leadership conference. For more information and to secure an early registration rate, please click here.

Exclusive excerpt from CoSN Washington Update: Fiscal cliff and sequestration dominate lame duck
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The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Washington Update, a complimentary newsletter which CoSN distributes to its members. The Washington Update provides critical updates on political policy, particularly as it relates to education spending and initiatives. For more information on member benefits such as the Washington Update, please click here.

The central issue facing Congress as it returned to Washington after the November elections for a "lame duck" session was the so-called fiscal cliff. This combination of expiring tax cuts and impending budget cuts, the latter of which could lead to 8.2 percent cuts in all federal education programs in 2013, could lead to more economic trouble if not resolved before the new year. However, after two weeks of talks, Republican Congressional leaders, led by House Speaker John Boehner, and Democratic leaders teamed with the White House appear to be as far apart as ever. The president's initial offer to Republicans, rejected by Speaker Boehner, sought to extend tax cuts for all Americans except for the wealthiest taxpayers (those earning more than $250,000) and provide $50 billion in economic stimulus funding. The issue of what to do about sequestration, the across the board federal funding cuts set to kick-in on Jan. 2, does not appear to be on the table at the moment.

Congressional Appropriations Committees are continuing to work behind the scenes on an omnibus appropriations bill for FY 13, further complicating fiscal cliff proceedings. In September, with Congress unable to complete final action on the 12 separate appropriations bills, both chambers passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for 6 months until March 27, 2013. The CR funded the government at $1.047 trillion — the amount originally agreed to as the FY 13 spending cap in the 2011 Budget Control Act. Due to all the other fiscal issues up for discussion, it appears unlikely that an omnibus appropriations bill for FY 13 will be considered during the lame duck period.

Epic-Ed launches national database for school innovations and 1:1 initiatives
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Epic-Ed, an online Community of Practice supported by the U.S. Department of Education, is pleased to announce its new School/District Profile Locator. This national database will help you put your school or district on the map; its opportunities for nationwide networking and collaboration will help districts find peers undergoing the same challenges as they are in undertaking the Digital Transition. These inevitable challenges are described by the U.S. National Educational Technology Plan 2010, Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology.

The School/District Profile Locator employs Google Maps functionality to sort innovative districts by: technologies utilized; learning goals; measures of success; exemplary implementation strategies; challenges; and grade levels/curriculum areas affected. Ultimately, the initiative will serve as the premier national database of innovative schools. Schools undergoing multifaceted digital transitions will find on the database peers who can share success stories, and will be able to foster these connections using Epic-Ed's unique resources and creative spaces for collaboration.

Visit to put yourself on the map. The community website is entirely free, and is maintained by the Digital Learning Collaborative at The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State University and the Consortium for School Networking.

— Dr. Gordon K. Dahlby, project manager; COSN Online Communities of Practice


Instructure is focused on helping institutions improve education through technology. Founded in 2008 by two computer science graduate students, Instructure builds Canvas―the only simple, open learning management system native to the cloud. Instructure services more than 250 post-secondary and K-12 educational institutions. To learn more about Canvas by Instructure visit

CETL Certification update
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CoSN launched the CETL Certification Program to help CTOs and aspiring CTOs build or enhance the skills needed to bring 21st century education technology to their districts. Achieving the CETL designation will set you apart from your peers and make you uniquely knowledgeable of the education technology profession. We currently have 52 CETL-certified professionals, and future test administrations are scheduled throughout the country. The CETL exam will be offered to eligible attendees at the CoSN Annual Conference on March 13. The application for this administration is available on the CoSN website.

The next test administrations will be held in the following locations:
  • St. Cloud, Minn., Feb. 13
  • Marshall, Minn., Feb. 20
  • San Diego, Calif., March 13
  • Welches, Ore., April 30

CoSN initiatives: Transitioning to a student-centered, digitally-rich learning environment using online communities of practice
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CoSN is leading several efforts on online communities of practice. Online CoPs allow participants to be connected to a community in which they can share and access a rich network of resources, expertise and support. CoSN, in partnership with five other educational organizations, is managing the Connected Educators Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to improve the quality, accessibility, and connectedness of existing and emerging online communities of practice. The goal is to improve teacher and leader effectiveness, enhance student learning and increase productivity through online participation. In August 2012, CoSN, working with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, launched Epic-Ed, a community focused on assisting schools and districts on their digital transformation as they incorporate mobile technologies and other digital learning resources into their learning environment. The community provides access to exemplary resources and opportunities to collaborate with educators and educational leaders who are facing similar challenges and issues. Is your district interested in transitioning to a student-centered, digitally-rich learning environment? Is so, please be sure to join Epic-Ed and be a part of the conversation.

CoSN initiatives: Use of data to strengthen instruction and decision-making at the classroom level
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CoSN is collaborating with AASA and Gartner, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on a project entitled Closing the Gap: Turning SIS/LMS Data into Action. Closing the Gap is a public online community of practice that encourages education leaders to engage in conversation relating to the use of data to inform classroom instruction and standards-based content. The ultimate goal is to create a learning ecosystem which fosters continuous use of data to strengthen instruction. This CoP also hosts a private community of 16 districts that are focusing on improving their data use and quality to inform decision-making at the classroom level. Please visit Closing the Gap and participate in this important dialogue.

School field trips turn to virtual, digital technology
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Nina Corley, a high school history teacher in Galveston, Texas, prepares her students for a field trip, more often than not these days she sets up a large monitor in the front of her classroom and dials in to a live broadcast that is brought directly to the screen. In November, Corley's students virtually explored the late 1700s to learn about the French and Indian War. More

Reports highlight need for data mobility
eClassroom News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Educational data must follow students as they cross state lines, and policymakers must be equipped with the tools needed to ensure that teachers, students and parents have access to this important information, according to two reports released by the Data Quality Campaign. One such tool is an open-source system that lets educators pull and use data from a range of existing sources, created with support from the Dell Foundation. More

McGraw-Hill sells education division to Apollo
The Associated Press via The Seattle Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
McGraw-Hill said that it reached a deal to sell its education arm to private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC for $2.5 billion in cash and debt, as part of its plan to focus on its financial information businesses. As part of the deal, McGraw-Hill will receive $250 million in Apollo debt with an annual interest rate of 8.5 percent. The acquisition includes the New York-based company's digital and traditional textbook business and other assets. More

Kids and social media: Cloud resources to consider
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many schools ban the use of social networking sites during the school day for students of any age. Schools that do encourage social media use usually do so with strict guidelines. But that doesn't mean kids stay offline when home, nor does it mean that educators won't have to address the use of social media with their students. A teachable moment might come up around cyberbullying or other concerns, so having access to resources before those moments occur is important. More

Students learn better with 'Star Trek'-style touch-screen desks
Popular Science    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Observe the criticisms of nearly any major public education system in the world, and a few of the many complaints are more or less universal. Technology moves faster than the education system. Teachers must teach at the pace of the slowest student rather than the fastest. And — particularly in the United States — grade school children as a group don't care much for, or excel at, mathematics. More

Survey: School Web filtering can impede learning
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More and more students are bringing personal mobile devices to school, but a new survey from the American Association of School Librarians finds that Internet filtering often prevents students from taking advantage of learning's social potential. School librarians report that Web filtering programs have had varied effects in their schools and on school library programs. More

Why teachers worry about students' online research skills
EdTech Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Remember the days when conducting term-paper research meant an afternoon thumbing through the card catalog at your local library? What's that, you say? You've never heard of a card catalog? In an age where even the oldest high school student is too young to remember the world B.G. (Before Google), it's impossible to discount the ways in which the Internet has changed how students mine information online. More

How tablets are invading the classroom
Digital Trends    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
You've been hearing about it for decades. Equipping all students with computers has long been a holy grail for classrooms around the world, but it just hasn't happened. Sure, many classrooms have a computer, but most students still read out of textbooks, write with pencils on paper, and take notes off of a chalkboard. But there are signs that change is afoot. The rise of touch tablets has triggered a land grab in schools all around the country. Education officials with money to spend are overwhelmingly opting for tablets over PCs, and all of the major players in the tech industry — from Apple to Amazon, and even Microsoft — are gearing up for a fight. More

Online education programs tackle student cheating
U.S. News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Improved technology and cheaper delivery methods have helped usher in the growth and popularity of online education over the past decade. According to Babson Survey Research Group's last survey of online education programs at colleges and universities, 6.1 million students took at least one online class in fall 2010 — a 10.1 percent increase over the previous year. But as the number of students in online courses increases, so too does the potential for cheating. More

iPad app allows students to report bullying
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Police at the McAllen Independent School District in Texas hope students will use a new mobile app to report bullying or other threats to authorities before they happen. The district rolled out an app for iPads and other mobile devices that let students anonymously report incidents of bullying and threats of violence or suicide to school police instantaneously. More

How a small bet on technology could have a big payoff in learning
EdSource (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Charles Taylor Kerchner, a research professor in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, writes: "Let me start by saying that I am not a technologist. I don't lust after the new; I bought my first smartphone just last week. And I don't for a moment think that tablets are going to replace teachers or that there is a software-driven fix for all the problems ailing California's public schools. And, yes, teachers need a raise. Why, then, advocate an investment in education technology?" More


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