If you have spent any time in the ed-tech world you will no doubt have realized that there is a swirling cloud of acronyms that attend the subject, from ISTE, CoSN to NMC and P21. A veritable “alphabet soup”, as my Mom would say.

I therefore thought that a definitive quick reference guide to the major players, with a brief description would be a handy resource for our readers. I hope you agree.

8 Edtech organizations every teacher should know about (and maybe become a member)

These organizations range from professional associations to foundations to institutes and governmental offices. Some operate only in the United States, others world-wide, but they all have one thing in common: educators of all kind can find support in their professional lives and connect with like-minded individuals. So here are eight ed-tech organizations every teachers should know about:

8 Ed-tech organizations every teacher should know about INFOGRAPHIC

  1. ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)

    Reach: World-wide
    Structure: Membership-based
    Focus: Educating Educators
    Level: K12 and Higher Education

    ISTE describes itself as a community of educators passionate about technology. The organisation’s primary activities include hosting key learning events, chief among them the annual ISTE conference and expo, producing professional development resources and a number of annual publications. The organisation’s other major contribution is the development of the ISTE standards, a framework that enables educators to continue striving for innovation and technological enhancements in their classrooms.

  2. OII (Office of Innovation and Improvement)

    Reach: US
    Structure: Government Dpt.
    Focus: Grant Management for Education Innovation
    Level: K12 and Higher Education

    Part of the US Government’s Department of Education, the OII describes its mission as to accelerate the pace at which the U.S. identifies, develops, and scales solutions to education’s most important or persistent challenges. Through five distinct programs: Education Innovation Programs, Parental Options and Improvement, Charter School Programs, Non-Public Education Program and Teacher and Principal Quality Programs, the OII administrates over 20 competitive grants alongside workshops, technical assistance and publications to develop and improve innovation in education in the US.

  3. CoSN (Consortium for School Networking)

    Reach: US
    Structure: Professional Association
    Focus: EdTech Access and Advocacy
    Level: K12

    CoSN positions itself as the only national professional association dedicated exclusively to education technology leaders working to transform learning. The organisation has 26 chapters across 27 states, and 854 district members. Through the provision of training, policy advocacy, a number of professional events and forums, a range of professional development toolkits and research the organisation confidently asserts that it is at the forefront of developing a cohesive, empowered and knowledgeable community of edtech thought leaders.

  4. ITEEA (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association)

    Reach: World-wide
    Structure: Professional Association
    Focus: STEM
    Level: K12

    Not specifically an organisation advancing education technology, but rather technology in education, this is nonetheless an important professional resource for teachers of any STEM subjects. The association produces a number of resources and toolkits for members, and also hosts a number of events throughout the year building a world-wide community of passionate STEM educators. They have issued useful standards on technological literacy, as well as a number of resources on computational thinking. They also have a foundation, that provides awards, grants and scholarships to advance and improve engineering and technological education.

  5. FRS (Future Ready Schools)

    Reach: US
    Structure: Research-based Foundation
    Focus: District Level Education Innovation
    Level: K12

    This is a resource rich program supported by the non-profit Alliance for Excellent Education, and is specifically designed to offer districts an actionable, stepped program that they can follow to become a “future-ready school”. Future ready here specifically refers to high school learners who can leverage technology for better career and higher education options. At the heart of the program is the Future Ready Framework, part of a very useful online dashboard.

  6. iNACOL (International Association of K-12 Online Learning)

    Reach: US
    Structure: Membership-based
    Focus: Digital Learning Advocacy and Research
    Level: K12

    Focussing on “breakthrough policies and practices” the association generates significant research, alongside useful annual workshops and symposiums to advance the conversation about education in the US. Main themes that can be found in their work include personalized and competency based learning, blended and online learning.

  7. Digital Promise

    Reach: US
    Structure: Government program
    Focus: Closing the digital learning gap
    Level: K12

    With an impressive number of programs, ranging from makerspaces, computational thinking, adult learning and educator micro-credentials, Digital Promise also partners with Digital Promise Global to enhance curriculum with content that expands a students’ world view. Digital promise is also the home of the League of Innovative Schools that identifies district-based pioneers in education innovation.

  8. FLE (Foundation for Learning Equality)

    Reach: World-wide
    Structure: Foundation
    Focus: Offline Digital Curricula
    Level: K12

    FLE was borne of a desire to reach schools and communities with the direst need for equitable quality education. The largest single challenge in this regard is access to internet, and FLE has developed an offline program called Kolibri, essentially an offline Khan academy. The offline version need only be downloaded once onto a seed device, and the seed device is then able to connect via a local network to distribute it. The seed device is also on occasion carried “the last mile” to schools where it is then used to seed devices there. FLE also have a device grant program to enable the distribution of the software.

What else would you add to this list?

I have no doubt left off a number of worthy and important program, but I also did not want to make the list unwieldy. Naturally this list can be greatly enhanced if readers share their go-to resources with us in the comments. Till next time.

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