Ed Tech Leader Must Knows: CoSN, CETL, O-P-L


CoSN Infographic
Image retrieved from CoSN.org

What is CoSN & CETL?

Consortium for School Networking, otherwise referred to as CoSN, is a professional association for educational technology leaders. Their mission is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to create engaging learning environments while providing the tools essential for their success (2018, CoSN). CETL stands for Certified Technology Leader, a certification which is offered by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). In order to receive a CETL certification you must pass the CETL Exam. The CETL is a two part exam, Part 1 multiple choice and Part 2 essay, on the concepts outlined here.  The exam has a high success rate with 71% of first time testers passing Part 1 and 89% passing Part 2 (2018, CoSN). To learn more about the exams performance from 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO

Image retrieved from CoSN.org

Three categories comprise the Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO. Those three categories include Leadership & Vision, Educational Environment and Managing Technology (2018, CoSN). Educational technology leaders must use their personal skills and behaviors in order to achieve the competencies laid out in the framework. There are ten essential skill areas within the three categories categorized as follows:

  • Leadership & Vision-Leadership & Vision, Strategic Planning and Ethics & Policies
  • Educational Environment-Instructional Focus & Professional Development and Team Building & Staffing
  • Managing Technology-Information Technology Management, Communication Systems Management, Business Management, Data Management and Data Privacy & Security


Activities that align with the CoSN framework should be documented by educational technology leaders as they are completed. The technology leadership activities I participated in throughout the IT Ed.S. program at the University of Montevallo are documented in a Observer-Participant-Leader Record which is aligned with the CoSN Essential Skills Framework. I categorized these activities aligned with the CoSN Framework and based on my involvement as either an observer, a participant or a leader.

According to the O-P-L record, an observer is an individual who watches and listens, without active participation in the accomplishment of a task. The Transform 2020 Technology Plan was an activity I completed as an observer and aligned with strategic planning essential skill 2I: monitor, evaluate, and report on the district’s educational technology plan. This activity allowed me to observe how school districts use the Lead and Transform Diagnostic Tool, a free resource, to create a summary of ISTE’s 14 essential conditions for learning and teaching with technology. Data can be used to evaluate a systems progress of becoming tech and standard ready, identify the resources needed to meet technology integration goals and inform planning and decision making.

A participant actively participates in accomplishing a task, helping or taking on a specific role without leading. The CTEC Tech Plan 2019 was an activity I completed as a participant, aligned with leadership and vision essential skill 1C: facilitate the process of priority setting and decision making for meaningful and effective uses of technology in support of the districts strategic goals. I serve as the teacher representative on school’s technology committee which created the CTEC Tech Plan for 2019. The vision for our plan is to incorporate the newest technologies available into everyday learning in meaningful ways to engage, motivate, and inspire high school learners to become productive citizens in today’s global technology market.

leader is an individual who is primarily responsible for the accomplishment of a task or a major sub-task. The Google Classroom Training was an activity I completed as a leader, aligned with educational environment essential skill 4A: plan for and coordinate ongoing, purposeful professional development. Utilizing the ADDIE instructional design model, I planned for and coordinated a training on Google Classroom. This training was ongoing through a mentor relationship after a teacher expressed additional needs and interest.


CoSN. (2018). Framework. Retrieved from https://www.cosn.org/framework

CoSN. (2018). Certification. Retrieved from https://www.cosn.org/value-cetl-superintendents

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