“Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in a different time” – Hebrew Proverb

I promise you this week’s emerging proverb theme is totally coincidental. But when it comes to education in the US, there is a common mentality that ‘what worked for me will work just fine for my kids (or grandkids).’ There is only one problem with that thinking, though. The world of today is astronomically different than in generations past. Our students today live in a complex, technology-driven society where farming and factories no longer dominate our culture.

Luckily for the students at Liberty Public Schools in Liberty, Missouri, the community recognizes the challenges and opportunities for today’s students and is looking to innovate. They see technology as no longer an event; but a part of every child’s daily life. That’s why in order to ensure students leave Liberty Public Schools prepared to be successful and career ready, they introduced the Learning, Engaging, Achieving and Discovering with Students (LEADS) digital transformation pilot this past January. Deputy Superintendent John Jungmann recently told Liberty Tribune that “the goals of the pilot are to increase student engagement, extend the learning time and help students develop a 21st century set of skills.”

LibertySchools_LEADS_PilotThe pilot is composed of three groups. The first group, at Liberty Junior High School, features one team of students who will use laptops during instruction in three of their core-curriculum classes. In the second group, students in one class at each of the four high schools have been checked out laptops and will work in a blended classroom environment with both traditional and electronic instruction. The third group of high school students has enrolled in an online course through the Clay-Platte Online Consortium. By moving teachers and students to a more technology rich learning environment within the school day, Liberty education leaders are hoping to figure out the best way to transition their schools to be more reflective of our current world and future so they can better serve their students.

I give my family a hard time on this blog (still waiting for you to become a signatory Dad!) but my grandpa, former aerospace engineer for NASA and TSC Signatory, said it best during his expanded learning time Aha! moment. After he signed on, he wrote me an email that said, “I’ve had time to digest what it is you do. I fear that we are falling quickly behind other countries when it comes to innovation. There’s a national security issue here. Without redesigning how we educate our students in regards to time and technology, we won’t have the home grown talent required to keep the United States on top. Keep it up kid.”

Now if he could only master the concept of “Reply All.”