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Coming up Next: CoSN 2011

The Consortium for School Networking, or CoSN, kicks off its annual conference Monday in New Orleans. I'll be heading to the event for the first time, and I'm sure many of you will be joining me in the Big Easy, so if you see an ed-tech blogger/writer with a tragically primitive cell phone, please say hello.

I won't review the whole program here—feel free to take a look at Part 1 or Part 2 for yourself—but if you're looking for a few ideas about who and what to see, here are some thoughts:

More with Less. No, Really.

If you somehow haven't heard by now, the theme of this year's conference is "Mastering the Moment" (Or for the more cynical among you, "Use tech to cut costs or you'll never see a laptop cart again"). But even if you're more worried than enthused about the technology climate, you should take solace in some presenters who have done more with less.

You can listen to how New Canaan, Conn. schools cut costs by using social-networking tools for professional development. Or how Daviess County, Ky., has continued expanding its laptop program in uncertain budget times. And how Brick Township, N.J., is adapting to a 33 percent reduction of its school system's IT staff. And that's just on Tuesday.

The Feds Cornered Near the French Quarter

With a contentious climate on Capitol Hill, many are questioning the future of programs like Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) and E-rate, or the feasibility of blueprints like the National Broadband Plan and National Education Technology Plan.

If you're one of the doubters, you'll get the chance to hear a keynote from White House technology head Aneesh Chopra, attend sessions with U.S. Department of Education ed-tech chief Karen Cator, and get analysis from educators experienced with using the programs, tech savvy Capitol Hill insiders, and even an official from the Universal Service Administrative Company. You might not know what USAC is (trust me, it's not what the acronym implies), but for those of you with E-rate questions, it's a big deal.

An International Convention in an International City

Every day someone cites global competitiveness as a reason to improve technology implementation in our schools. And everyday, most of us forget to ask, what exactly are they doing in those other countries?

That shouldn't happen in New Orleans, though. If you want a global ed-tech take, you'll be able to find sessions exploring Uruguay's national 1-to-1 laptop program, cloud computing education projects in seemingly every country with better beer than the United States, and quite a bit of general advice from our former colonizers across the pond (who may or may not also have better beer than us).

In All Seriousness

I'm very much looking forward to my three days in New Orleans, where I hope to meet as many of you and hear as many of your ideas as humanly possible. So please don't hesitate to be in touch if you're going to be around and have something to share. Especially if that something is any sort of Cajun food.

See you all then.

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