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Column: Digital convergence at the KCSD
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Shane Robbins

You may be hearing leaders from across our school district use the term “digital convergence.” I would like to discuss what that means for our students and our school district.

Digital convergence is a term used to describe the fundamental shift from the traditional classroom toward a modern learning environment that provides teachers the tools and resources to deliver instruction in a manner that is meaningful and engaging to today’s students. In other words, this describes changing the learning environment to better reflect what students will experience once they graduate from high school.

When America was in the middle of the Industrial Age, our classrooms were set up to model the work environment of that time. The classroom was very uniform (rows of chairs and desks) with the teacher in front of the class. As technology continues to permeate our society, it has changed work environments. It is the rare occasion that students will have jobs where there is not a high level of collaboration necessary for them to be successful. Where it was once linear, the work environment is now “flexible” in design as to encourage teamwork and collaboration.

Tsunami ARVR Chief Strategy Officer Naresh Soni identified a collaborative work environment as essential for productivity in business: “(T)here is nothing like collaboration among professionals to propel a company forward. Consider today’s knowledge worker: He or she creates, makes products in quantity and quality and then distributes those products to the end user or customer. The front end of that process (creation) has grown very complex. To build a great product, it is essential to put members of the team with diverse skills from different geographies in a single room where they can directly share their ideas or designs.”

In education, this means that the teacher is no longer the “sage on the stage,” but rather now the “guide on the side” to foster and encourage collaboration. This is not to say that a teacher will never be in front of a class delivering instruction anymore; on the contrary, that is only a part of what he or she does to support learning for all students.

In order to prepare our leadership and teachers with the tools necessary to provide a modern learning environment, we have partnered with a group called Modern Teacher. This organization has developed a research-based methodology, the Digital Convergence Framework, to support school districts in their transition.

The framework is housed in an online platform that enables districts to address and track key steps and milestones in a unified way across the entire organization, aligning six key drivers: 1) instructional leadership, 2) instructional models, 3) digital ecosystem, 4) modern curriculum, 5) professional learning, and 6) community.

These drivers are designed to provide the district with a framework that will lead our work of quality continuous school improvement. We will have access to a network of schools that are dedicated to providing students with the very best experiences to ensure future success. Per our mission statement, the Kershaw County School District will empower and challenge all students to become productive members of a globally dynamic society. We believe our digital convergence initiative, combined with a focus on student outcomes as well as providing an environment where students can learn necessary soft skills, will propel us forward.

Please feel free to contact me with questions about our district; my email address is shane.robbins@kcsdschools.net. Citizens can also contact me through the “Ask the Super” link on the homepage of the district website at www.kcsdschools.net.