:: Superintendent's Notebook - April 2012
The world is changing, and Edmonton Public Schools is changing with it. We're dedicated to helping students live up to their promise in a time when the possibilities for learning, progress and innovation are virtually endless. One of the ways we're building a foundation for their future success is by ensuring they develop 21st century literacy skills.
We recognize that literacy doesn't just take the form of reading and writing anymore. Literacy now involves acquiring a wide range of skills and abilities across all subject areas. In classrooms today, teachers are assisting students in developing their knowledge by grounding them in many different kinds of learning. These experiences are designed to prepare them to live, work and thrive in the new millennium.
When I visit schools, I'm constantly impressed by how dynamic, fun and exciting these experiences truly are. It's a remarkable thing to see how our learners, from the littlest Kindergartener to the senior in high school, are becoming fluent in digital technologies - navigating laptops, netbooks, SMART Boards, iPads, iPods and Google Docs with such ease and finesse. These tools are the way of the future and signal how education is transforming and evolving with the times. They're allowing students to further their learning and to show what they've learned in new, interesting ways.
As Superintendent, I feel digital literacy must exist to support, and not replace, the excellent teaching strategies we've used for decades to help youth develop their language, critical thinking, creativity, leadership and social literacy skills. In an age where access to information is so readily available with two clicks of a mouse or a few swipes of a fingertip, it's more important than ever that we help students analyze information for its merit, significance and value. We also have a responsibility to open their eyes to how interconnected the world really is and facilitate their growth as socially conscientious citizens who care about giving back and contributing towards the greater good.
I'm proud of how our District is providing a strong, responsive 21st century learning experience for our students. Every day, I know that they are being challenged in mind, body and spirit and exceeding their own expectations of what they can accomplish. Perhaps what is even more inspiring, is that they continue to exceed ours.