FiveBigIdeas (PDF)

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Title: FIVE BIG IDEAS.pages
Author: Scott Eastman

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Damian LaCroix, Superintendent
Howard-Suamico School District
Fall 2012

1. The world has changed: We’re living in a global knowledge and information age that’s hyper-connected,

fast-paced, competitive, and complex. It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New York Times contains
more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century! We can’t prepare
today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges in yesterday’s schools.

2. The economy has changed: Various observers describe today's global economy as one in transition to a

"knowledge economy," as an extension of an “information society.” The transition requires that the rules and
practices that determined success in the industrial economy need rewriting in an interconnected, globalized
economy where knowledge resources such as know-how and expertise are as critical as other economic

3. Workforce development has changed: We’re preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist! Moreover,

according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, this year’s high school graduates will change jobs up to 14x
and professions up to 9x by the time they turn 40! Therefore, we need to equip them with 21st century
knowledge, skills and literacies which are transferable and customizable to any job setting or challenge:

Creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, citizenship,
and information communication – and - technology literacy.

4. Students have changed: Many students’ lives today are filled with technology that gives them mobile

access to information and resources 24/7, enables them to create multimedia content and share it with the
world, and allows them to participate in online social networks where people from all over the world share
ideas, collaborate, and learn new things. Outside school, students are free to pursue their passions in their
own way and at their own pace. The opportunities are limitless, borderless, and instantaneous.

5. Education must (continue to) change: The challenge for our education system is to leverage the learning

sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all
learners that mirror students’ daily lives and the reality of their futures. In contrast to traditional classroom
instruction, this requires that we put students at the center and empower them to take control of their own
learning by providing flexibility on several dimensions. That is, students must be trained to function in teams
- applying complex thinking skills in solving real world problems that do not have predictable outcomes.
Technology integration is an important tool in support of this objective.

Our response: The mission of the Howard-Suamico School District is to “Work with families and community to
ensure that our students have the knowledge and skills to succeed in a changing world.” Phase I of our Digital
Transformation includes Bay Port High students registered for IB English I and II,
IB Physics I and II, and one
section of Language Arts 201. These students and staff members have been issued MacBook Air laptops for 24/7 use
and are being trained to be better teachers and learners in the new digital landscape. Information gained in Phase I
will inform future developments in scaling to a larger group of participants beginning in January 2013…
Put simply, education is no longer restricted to the traditional four walls of the classroom and two covers of the
textbook. When we put mobile computing technology in the hands of staff and students, we have the opportunity to
reinvent the learning environment. For the first time, it is within our reach to customize and personalize the schooling
experience for all students. As we move in this direction, learning can more readily occur any time, any place, and at
any pace.
Pundits ask the question: “Are we preparing students for our past or their future?” The HSSD Digital Transformation
reflects our declaration of the latter.

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