Why Maury County’s Education Technology Revolution is Significant

By John Carver, Maury County Public Schools Chief Digital Learning Officer

Everything is changing.

Across the country, classrooms and learning will look much different. Textbooks with paper pages will be replaced by devices; teachers will be able to utilize tablets and digital chalkboards; quizzes and exams will become easier to track. Lessons will become more interactive, transforming students from passive to active learners.

In Maury County, the technology revolution isn’t coming—it’s already underway. As you’ve likely already heard the news coverage, or while attending Wiring the Classroom: Empowering Students through Technology, Maury County’s schools are pioneering the way for education technology.

As the chief digital learning officer for Maury County Public Schools, I’ll be overseeing our digital integration efforts. Most notably, the district is implementing DIPLOMA (Digital Integration, Plan for Learning Mobile and Accessibility), a program that will eventually place a digital device in the hands of every student and teacher. This 1:1 movement—one device per person—has commenced, with the ultimate goal for MCPS to become the premier 1:1 district in the state.

The significance of our technology revolution in Maury County isn’t the simple act of buying devices— it’s the vision and implementation. We’re not just giving every student a device; we’re inspiring and empowering them.

The 1:1 movement is a revolution because it’s a change in the culture of learning as teachers are an impetus for learning with technology becoming an integral part of the curriculum.

In Technology Integration for the New 21st Century Learner, Nancye Blair explains that developing a culture immersed in technology involves making the needs of the 21st century learner a priority, deliberately empowering teachers to innovatively craft digital learning experiences and a shared vision and unique plan for students and teachers.

The change we will see through this vision and culture is an expanded access to content, collaboration in knowledge creation and feedback to students, teachers and parents that is faster and more granular. Connecting every student, every classroom, every school, learning becomes more real world, project-based and hands-on.

The end result is that Maury County will produce digitally literate students with 21st century skills prepared for 21st century colleges and 21st century workplaces.

This goes beyond devices and the internet. MCPS students are benefiting from STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Math) instruction that will further allow students to unlock workplace success.

A majority of high-paying jobs will be in STEAM career fields—and these jobs are growing. By 2018, one in 20 jobs will be STEAM related.

MCPS is at the forefront of the STEAM movement. Schools across the country have implemented the STEAM model, but MCPS  has the first K-12 STEAM campus in the nation at Mt. Pleasant. STEAM instruction enables schools to break out of the industrial-age teaching model of listener and lecture and instead empowers students to be the next generation of creators, thinkers and problem solvers through project-based and experiential learning.

On April 13, Mount Pleasant students had the opportunity to discover STEAM career paths at the Maury County Public Schools and Junior Achievement STEAM Summit. The immersive style of the summit enabled students to be involved in science, technology, engineering, art and math without even knowing it.

The DIPLOMA program and STEAM integration are both in support of the MCPS Keys to College and Career Readiness and the district’s commitment to “unlocking potential for all students.”

As Maury County continues this transition in the education environment and culture, we ask students, parents, businesses and members of the community to support this empowering transformation—a transformation that goes beyond academics and can benefit our local workforce, economy and community.

In the months and year ahead, we look forward to sharing more news from this exciting endeavor. Stay tuned as Maury County’s schools blaze a successful path to technology integration.