Every CTO Must Take Action on These 4 Edtech Issues
I talk about edtech issues a lot, and for a good reason.
It seems like we’re no closer to solving the big problems Chief Technology Offices in districts and universities face. In spite of the potential disaster that looms on the horizon for CTOs if we don’t address these problems, we add to our challenges rather than confront the ones we have.
Many educational leaders look the other way, hoping that something horrible doesn’t happen on their watch. Instead, focus on the four edtech issues that will set your program ahead.
Develop a plan for digital citizenship
You probably have an Acceptable Use Policy. If you do, it’s only the beginning of the work ahead for you and your team. Twenty-first-century schools at every level already are focusing on the next step: digital citizenship.
Producing digital citizens requires teaching students and educators about the responsibility that comes with using computers and other tech devices. Users must recognize that they create a digital footprint that can benefit or hurt them in the future. Social media sites and shopping networks collect cookies that earmark your online habits. The footprints you make today can impact your marketability in the future.
Make data privacy a priority
Three years ago, the European Union took a stand on digital protection and data privacy for its citizens. During this time, the chasm between data collection and its secure storage has only widened in the United States. Educators download apps that are not secure or carry Trojan viruses into a school district’s network. Not all edtech apps guarantee that they delete the information stored in their clouds.
Don’t think it can’t happen at your school or at your college. It already has. Education giant Pearson faces a class-action lawsuit for its data breach at 13,000 sites involving an undetermined number of students and educators.
Read the fine print
Our society has become numbed by the endless pages of legalese in every software agreement. As a result, we tend to accept the policies without reading them. I’ve done it. And I’ll bet you have, too.
Every CTO must designate someone on staff who will take the lead on reading these agreements.
Provide customized training and development
As fast as edtech changes, so does the need for high-quality, personalized professional development. Just as students vary in their learning needs, so do teachers. It’s time we stop herding professionals through same-size-fits-all training, especially when it comes to incorporating technology in the classroom.
Every edtech purchase must address how the training will take place. Professional development opportunities must be flexible in terms of time and location. Teachers should be able to access their training from anywhere.
Every CTO must take action on these four edtech issues now. Gather your team and discuss how to resolve these crucial challenges. At the meeting, get started by assigning the edtech team an area in which to work. Have them set milestones. Help them be accountable for reaching them.
It’s time we turn around the issues we face in edtech so we can move on in our use of instructional technology.