A new report from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) found that artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity are top concerns for K-12 IT leaders.

The report, which surveyed nearly 1,000 edtech leaders across the country, is intended to give school district leaders and policymakers a holistic understanding of the K-12 IT landscape. CoSN said that the latest report gives edtech leaders the ability to benchmark their efforts or simply see what others are doing.

CoSN specifically noted that edtech leaders are often siloed within their own district, making comparisons and benchmarking more challenging. The report can also help superintendents, school boards, and business officers as they determine priorities and budgets to address ongoing challenges.

In addition to AI and cyber concerns, CoSN also found that districts are working to modernize their infrastructure but are having to deal with additional responsibilities such as HVAC, phone systems, and physical security systems coming under their purvey and being run on the school network. Additionally, edtech leaders are struggling with ongoing problems, including hurdles to hiring qualified IT talent, issues of student home internet and device access, funding cliffs as pandemic funds expire, and enormous threats of cybersecurity attacks.

“The role of EdTech leaders is rapidly expanding as technology is permeating every aspect of our education system, necessitating their proactive involvement. Our latest survey underscores the growing complexity of their challenges, from developing Generative AI best practices and cybersecurity measures to addressing the digital equity divide. Since 2013, demands on EdTech leaders have surged, yet district resources have not kept pace with these escalating needs,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

Top findings from this year’s report include:

  • Nearly all edtech leaders (97 percent) see benefits in how AI can positively impact education and over a third (35 percent) of districts report having a generative AI initiative.
  • Cybersecurity remains the top concern for edtech leaders, with 99 percent of districts taking measures to improve protections. Additionally, the report found that districts are on a path to implementing many new cybersecurity best practices.
  • An overwhelming majority (93 percent) of districts are using technology solutions designed to address or improve student well-being.
  • Single Sign-On (SSO) is the most fully implemented interoperability initiative with 43 percent of respondents saying they’re using SSO.
  • Cybersecurity ranks number one on edtech leaders’ lists for professional learning, with 85 percent of respondents indicating they were extremely or very interested. Second was IT crisis preparedness with 78 percent, followed by Driving and Sustaining K-12 innovation with 77 percent.
  • The majority of districts of districts (64 percent) report taking measures to increase team diversity, with a quarter actively recruiting. However, CoSN found that only a third (34 percent) of districts report adding underrepresented populations to their technology department team in the last two years.
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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs