Lone Tree – The world has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, with the American economy evolving from a heavy focus on manufacturing and agriculture to one dominated by digital technology. According to the National Education Association, the U.S. system of education has not kept pace and is failing to prepare students to solve the greatest challenges of the day. Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Colorado Denver, agrees, saying that schools need to adapt—and fast.
McLeod has worked with school districts, K-12 schools, colleges and universities around the world to help them assess where they’re falling short in producing future-ready students and make essential adjustments in their school systems. “We live in a global innovation society, but the majority of the schools in the U.S. meet the needs of an industrial society that no longer exists,” he says.
On June 15, 2018, McLeod will deliver a full-day workshop in Lone Tree at the University of Colorado South Denver, titled, “Our World is Changing. Is Your School Future-Ready?” He will cover the six relevance gaps between schools and society—including information literacy and new forms of learning—as well as the four big shifts that he sees certain “deeper learning” schools making—cognitive complexity, student agency, authentic work and technology infusion.
“The first step in making change is recognizing that many schools are comfortable with the status quo model of education,” McLeod says. “It’s what many of us grew up with, but it is clear that there are big gaps between the skills needed by today’s workforce and the skills students are being taught in school.”
Workshop participants will also review the 10 building blocks that leading schools are implementing to design meaningful learning experiences for their students. The goal, McLeod explains, is for school leaders to develop a sense of urgency about the need for change.
This CU South Denver workshop will be the first of a six-part series. Future Leadership Academy workshops will delve into the action steps that leaders can take, including the inception of project- and inquiry-based learning, empowering uses of technology and implementing blended learning models. McLeod will teach one workshop a month from October 2018 to March 2019.
McLeod joined CU Denver in August 2016. He is the founding director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, the only academic center in the country dedicated to the technology needs of K-12 school administrators. He spent his prior academic career at the University of Kentucky, Iowa State University, and the University of Minnesota. McLeod received the 2016 Award for Outstanding Leadership from the International Society for Technology in Education and recently published his latest book, Different Schools for a Different World.
“As a faculty member, researcher and consultant, my focus is always transformative school environments,” says McLeod, who has studied hundreds of pioneering schools and leadership practices. “There will always be funding challenges and state standards to work with, but the key is inserting innovative learning methodologies into traditional programs. Schools that are willing to put in the effort can get there and learn from one another to ensure students are building 21st-century competencies.”
Our World is Changing. Is Your School Future-Ready? runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, June 15 and is open to superintendents, principals, school board members and any other education leaders. Registration is $159 and space is limited.
Sarah Erickson (CU South Denver)
Kyla White (CU South Denver)