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Why Information-Sharing Leads to Tech Success

A continued conversation with award-winning education technology leader Lorrie Owens

Part two in a two-part series. View part one here.

Lorrie Owens, President of the Board of Directors for the California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA), will be presenting a handful of sessions at the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) covering the topics of organizational change and transformational leadership.

In part two of this interview, Owens talks about the importance of collaborating and sharing technology information. Although there is an emphasis on collaboration within states, greater emphasis can be made to move efforts across state lines. Lessons learned in one state can benefit leaders in another, helping add to resources that affect best practices across the country. The ultimate goal of all school leadership, regardless of the region, is to set students up with the necessary 21st century skill sets to bring success. The sharing of information is an essential first step, and Owens brings up an interesting parallel found in cyber  security interference that illustrates it.

“In the area of cyber  security, part of the reason cybercriminals are successful is that they share so much information. It’s scary, but they do. One [criminal] will get far with the potential breach and then share how they did it, what they did, and how far they got on the dark web with their colleagues. They eat that information up and take it to the next level.” 

She adds, “I don’t want to say that I want to use the bad guys as an example, but part of the reason why they are so successful is because they share information. We need to do it even more. I welcome, honor, and feel privileged to have the opportunity not only to present [at FETC] but also to learn from my colleagues from all over the nation.”

According to Owens, FETC offers a “plethora of information” that is exciting to take in and relay back to colleagues in California at CETPA. There is a benefit to an equal exchange of information that naturally takes place at conferences like FETC. It’s the responsibility of the attendees to use that exchange of information to enhance and benefit their particular areas of need. Additionally, Owens feels a responsibility in returning the favor to other colleagues and attendees at conferences.

“In carrying forth some of the work that they’ve done, one of the areas we are spotlighting are presentations on the disaster recovery and business continuity coming out of the wildfires last year here in California. It was devastating,” she says.

“One city, Paradise, California─the whole city burned to the ground, and that included the school district. The CTO from that school district will be presenting and talking about how to rebuild from the ground up, how they prepared in terms of having backups, and the lessons they learned.”

There are compelling stories to share that can prepare others across the country for similar incidents. Owens sees real value in terms of lessons learned that can be shared nationally. As she adds, “There are those [types] of back-and-forth scenarios I envision being able to exercise even more as we branch out and connect with FETC on that partnership.”

About Lorrie Owens

Lorrie Owens is the President of the Board of Directors for the California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA). She is also the Administrator for Information Technology Services for the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE). The SMCOE supports 23 school districts, with over 94,000 students enrolled. Mrs. Owens is very involved in educational technology issues in California.

In addition to her roles at CETPA and the SMCOE, she also serves as a steering committee member in the CETPA-sponsored Chief Technology Officer Mentor Program. She both taught and served as a mentor in the program for many years. Mrs. Owens is also the past chairperson of the California Technology and Telecommunications Steering Committee (TTSC).

In 2014, she was awarded the CCSESA STAR Award, for her work in educational technology in California. Mrs. Owens also runs a non-profit created to support increased technology access for under-served children and adults.

Follow Lorrie Owens on Twitter @lorriecowens

Lorrie Owens will be presenting at the following sessions:

The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)

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