Mobile Learning, Student Data Privacy and Budget Resources Among Top Priorities for School Technology Leaders

2017 Results of CoSN K-12 IT Leadership Survey
Washington, DC
Monday, April 3, 2017
The shift to mobile learning, student data privacy and budget constraints are top of mind for school district technology leaders. These are among the key findings CoSN revealed today from its 2017 IT Leadership Survey.
 
Conducted annually, the CoSN survey provides the education community with insights on how U.S. school system technology leaders are leveraging technology and the current challenges they face.
 
This year’s survey was released during the CoSN 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, which begins today and runs through April 6. The conference marks CoSN’s 25th anniversary of supporting school system technology leaders nationwide.
 
“Advancing modern learning settings means school IT leaders have a lot on their plates. That includes new opportunities and new hurdles,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “This year’s findings further underscore the commitment school districts need to ensure technology leaders have the support mechanisms in place to personalize student learning and achieve greater success.”
 
The key findings from this year’s report follow:
 
  • Mobile learning is the top priority for IT leaders, ranked atop the list for the first time. The number two priority is “Broadband & Network Capacity.
  • Cybersecurity and student data privacy continue to grow as major concerns with 62 percent of respondents rating them more important than last year.
  • Budget constraints and lack of resources are ranked as the top challenges for the third straight year. More than half of school technology leaders said their IT budgets have stayed the same since last year and do not sufficiently meet current needs and demands.
  • Understaffing remains a key issue for technology departments in school systems. More than 80 percent of IT leaders do not have enough staff to meet district needs. Nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated that their staff size has remained constant even in the face of increasing needs.
  • Single-Sign-On (SSO) is the most implemented interoperability initiative with 60 percent of school technology leaders having partially or fully implemented SSO. Data interoperability, meanwhile, was the next most popular solution, with 73 percent of respondents indicating they were in planning or implementation stages.
  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), more than one-third of IT leaders expressed “no interest” in such initiatives, up from 20 percent in 2014.
  • Open Educational Resources (OER) interest is high, with nearly 80 percent of respondents indicating it was part of their district’s digital content strategy.
  • Education technology experience is common among IT leaders – 73 percent have worked in the K-12 education technology field for more than 10 years.
  • Strong academic backgrounds are also prevalent among IT leaders. Nearly 80 percent of IT leaders have some college beyond a bachelor’s degree and 61 percent of IT leaders hold a master’s degree.
  • Lack of diversity continues to be an issue for school district technology leaders. Ninety percent of IT leaders identify as white, the same percentage as the prior year.
“MDR is delighted to continue our partnership with an organization that is committed to not only identifying, but also solving the challenges associated with leveraging technology in the U.S. school system,” said Kristina James, MDR Director of Marketing. “This year’s CoSN survey illustrates that budget constraints continue to be a challenge for IT leaders. That said, according to MDR research, instructional technology spending will stay the same or increase across: hardware, software, technology training and technology support. In fact, over 40 percent of districts report increases in hardware and teacher technology training in 2016-2017, while one-third indicate software budgets are on the rise.”
 
“The CoSN survey findings echo what our education clients say, namely that IT budget constraints continue to be a challenge and mobile learning is an increasing priority. School IT leaders that examine new strategies for improving operational efficiency can meet these issues with greater success,” said Nick Mirisis, vice president of marketing for Dude Solutions. “Today’s IT measurement tools and resulting performance metrics can help enable data-driven decisions for managing the growing number of assets and justifying capital investments.”
 
 
About the IT Leadership Survey
 
This is the fifth year that CoSN has conducted its IT Leadership Survey, identifying the priorities, challenges and opportunities for U.S. school system technology leaders. The findings of this year’s report are based on nearly 500 surveys, completed in January and February 2017. To ensure year-over-year comparisons, CoSN preserves the consistency of the survey questions and instruments, with minor adjustments and additions made to reflect changing IT initiatives.
 
The full report is conducted in partnership with MDR and supported by SchoolDude.
 
See the full report at: cosn.org/itsurvey.