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Date: June 25th, 2007
Submitted By: Jennifer Cummings   -   Web Site: www.cosn.org

CoSN Releases Two Case Studies

Value of Investment in Education Technology: Iowa and Wisconsin Cases Provide Guidance to Ed Tech Leaders

Washington, DC (June 25, 2007) - The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released two new case studies chronicling how school districts in Iowa and Wisconsin measured and assessed the costs and benefits of planned technology projects, as part of CoSN's ongoing Value of Investment (VOI) Leadership Initiative. The case studies and the Initiative were developed to help district level technology decision makers assess the costs and evaluate the benefits of proposed technology investments before making costly, time intensive decisions and commitments. The VOI studies are intended to provide school technology administrators and other educators with insight on best practices for making sound choices about education technology projects.

"In the private sector, businesses use return on investment (ROI) to evaluate the costs and benefits of a given venture, and this model of assessment is essential to decision-making in education as well. The key difference is that in education, many of the benefits are not dollar savings, but are stated in terms of the qualitative values that are important to schools," said Rich Kaestner, Project Director of CoSN's Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Value of Investment Leadership Initiatives.

"With ed tech, it is necessary to assess VOI and TCO to identify and implement technology projects that will meet the goals of schools, including having a meaningful impact on instruction, learning and educational achievement," said Kaestner.

The VOI case studies are designed to help schools determine their educational goals and better understand how investments in technology will help achieve them. The Wisconsin district evaluated an investment in providing online learning as an alternative approach to traditional learning, as part of an effort to promote the concept of lifelong learning. The Iowa district measured the costs and benefits of implementing formative assessment tools for primary school teachers to provide individualized instruction for improved student literacy.

In both cases, the school districts used CoSN's VOI methodology to guide decision-making about technology projects under consideration. The methodology involves:
Estimating project costs or TCO;
Calculating anticipated savings and revenues;
Measuring qualitative benefits;
Assessing risk; and

Evaluating results.
"School districts throughout the country are faced with budget constraints across the board, making investments in new projects and technologies difficult. However, the VOI and TCO assessments help to streamline decision-making and evaluation of potential investments," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. "These two new studies are invaluable to education technology administrators who are considering projects but are unsure of where to start."

CoSN's Value of Investment Initiative is sponsored by Dell, Gateway, HP Intel, Mitel, SAS in School, Schoolnet, Texas Instruments and Toshiba. For more information on the Initiative, visit www.edtechvoi.org.

To view the studies, please visit www.edtechvoi.org/casestudies.

About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
CoSN is the country's premier voice in education technology leadership, serving K-12 technology leaders who through their strategic use of technology, improve teaching and learning. CoSN provides products and services to support and nurture leadership development, advocacy, coalition building, and awareness of emerging technologies.

CoSN leadership initiatives include: Using Technology to Raise the Achievement of ALL Students (www.accessibletech4all.org); Cyber Security for the Digital District (www.securedistrict.org); Data-Driven Decision-Making (www.3d2know.org) K-12 Open Technologies (www.k12opentech.org); Taking Total Cost of Ownership to the Classroom (www.classroomtco.org); Value of Investment (www.edtechvoi.org) and the development of the Council of School District Chief Technology Officers (CTO Council).

CoSN's membership includes a unique blend of education and technology leaders, policy makers, and influencers from the public and private sectors. Our audience includes key technology leaders (often called Chief Technology Officers--CTOs) in leading-edge states and districts, policy makers, private sector leaders, as well as those technology leaders who wish to accelerate their districts' or states' systemic technology use. Visit www.cosn.org or phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN's programs and activities supporting leadership development to ensure that information technology has a direct and positive impact on student learning in elementary and secondary schools.