Mobile Computing | News

CoSN Launches Mobile Initiative, Online Community

The Consortium for School Networking has launched Access4Ed.net, an online community of practice designed for sharing strategies and ideas to provide access to online communities in K-12 schools.

The community, which is free and open to anyone, will begin by focusing on student-owned devices, then continue with broadband. According to information released by CoSN, future topics may include:

  • Cloud computing;
  • Mobile computing;
  • Enabling home access;
  • Wireless access; and
  • Network design.

Access4Ed.net is part of Connected Online Communities of Practice, a three-year initiative sponsored by the United States Department of Education and implemented by CoSN and six other organizations.

According to the Department of Education, "There are already many online communities through which educators can connect with people and resources, but these communities tend to be isolated from each other, leading to redundancy of effort, missed opportunities for collaboration, and difficulty in finding appropriate support and resources. Through more efficient and coordinated online participation, education professionals will be better able to share practices, access experts, and solve problems that require systemic solutions in order to improve the opportunity to learn."

Karen Cator, director of the Office of Educational Technology at the Department of Education,  said, "Bringing together the insights, experiences, tech savvy and thought leadership of a diverse group of district leaders is critical to taking the dialogue on access to the next level."

Content debuting on Access4Ed.net will include video of education leaders discussing access-related issues at CoSN's 2011 conference.

In other CoSN news, the organization has also launched a new mobile learning initiative aimed at overcoming the barriers to mobile device adoption in K-12 schools.

Leadership for Mobile Learning also launched at CoSN 2011 and has three objectives:

  • Highlighting leadership, research, and best practices for mobile devices in education;
  • Identifying polices that hinder effective deployment; and
  • Developing strategies and tools for successful deployment.

CoSN CEO Keith Krueger said, "While the LML Initiative is an important, new undertaking for us, we also are leveraging CoSN related tools and resources. For example, the new initiative will highlight CoSN’s EdTechNext report (CoSN membership required) on flexible mobile platforms, two new case studies on districts leveraging student-owned devices, and our new Guide to Rethinking Acceptable Use Policies--pulling them all together under the LML banner. We see mobile learning as a central and emerging issue for school leaders."

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, an LML sponsor, said, "In a remarkably short period of time, educators have gone from wondering if mobile learning was something to even consider for their classrooms to actively seeking out the best practice approaches that will ensure their students get the most from technologies they make use of every day. CoSN's new initiative helps bring these resources together, and in the process showcases how much we already know about how to make the most of mobile and digital tools for learning."

Qualcomm and AT&T are also sponsoring LML. More information can be found here.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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