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CoSN 2015: An Unstoppable Digital Revolution is Around the Corner

A digital transformation has to be driven by more than the IT department, says CoSN 2015's opening keynote speaker.

To embrace a deeper learning landscape, educators must work together to make digital pedagogy appetizing.

That's the takeaway from the opening keynote at CoSN 2015 in Atlanta, led by Michael Fullan, an education researcher and a former dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Fullan has spent years studying the horizon of education technology in schools all over the world, and he sees stratospheric leaps ahead in education, but leaders need to help make it happen.

"2015 is going to be a breakout year," Fullan said early in his talk. "You will not be able to stop this transformation, even if you try."

Fullan said that while touring the world, he has witnessed digital learning innovation at work, but under the wrong leadership — often stymied by bureaucracy. To take the next step in education, schools and districts must learn to share successful technology strategies, resources and lessons with their neighbors.

Fullan calls this technique “leadership from the middle.” The success of a single school won't be enough to cause significant change.

"No more one school at a time; no more one district at a time," he says.

Technology governance keeps people in certain lanes, says fellow keynote speaker Jhone Ebert, chief innovation officer of Clark County, Ga. Growing beyond that takes unilateral collaboration — from the school board to associations and teachers.

Referencing the keynote's circular room, Ebert says it’s important to take a 360-degree view of your potential collaborators.

“Are you really looking and listening — do you know what’s going on beside and behind you?” she asked.

Finally, education is reaching the point where leaders must "change horses," Fullan said. The digital transformation has to be driven by more than the IT department. Digital pedagogy in the right hands will whet the appetite for a full-on evolution.

"You've got to change to the pedagogical horse, rather than the digital investment horse," Fullan said. "The pedagogical horse will eat up digital, because there's so much appetite for it, once you start to use it."

EdTech is providing constant coverage of CoSN 2015, including video interviews, and session reviews. Keep up-to-date on all of our coverage by visiting our CoSN 2015 conference page.

D. Frank Smith
Mar 16 2015

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