District CTOs reveal which emerging edtech trends they’re watching in 2018

Whether the district is rural or urban, small or large, fully implementing one-to-one or just getting started with its technology initiatives, K-12 CTOs and CIOs from coast to coast are forced to confront an evolving technology landscape every day.

There’s been a lot of talk about the promise — and perils — of virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and while those are certainly trends to watch, they’re not the only ones on the radar of district technology leaders.

During the 2018 CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) annual conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, EdScoop TV caught up with more than a dozen K-12 technology directors and asked what they consider the most pressing issues and the most interesting trends in education this year.

Their answers, as expected, vary greatly.

Andrew Moore, the CIO of Boulder Valley School District in Coloardo, outlined the growing maturity and affordability of cloud computing, the digital divide and data privacy as his top issues. “It’s on my radar to be looking at [cloud computing] as we further find ways to save costs and increase reliability,” Moore says.

Sophia Mendoza, director of instructional technology initiatives at Los Angeles Unified School District, says computer science education and digital citizenship are top of mind for her.

Meanwhile, LaShona Dickerson, the technology director at Lafayette Parish School System in Louisiana is thinking about personalized learning. And the director of technology planning and policy at the Friday Institute in North Carolina is concerned about cybersecurity in education. “We’ve certainly seen in North Carolina a pretty substantial uptick in schools getting attacked directly, typically through targeted phishing attacks,” Phil Emer says. “Most school districts in North Carolina have not been prepared to handle that.”

And Aubrey Harrison, the personalized digital learning specialist at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, says he’s looking at ways his team can make teachers more comfortable using technology with their students. “They’re uncomfortable and they don’t want that to show in the classroom,” Harrison says. “As a technology leader, one of the things we can do is partner with them in the learning.”