I’ve been participating on the Minneapolis Public Schools Technology Planning Steering Committee. The committee has adopted the Leapfrog Paradigm and leapfrog thinking into its planning. Leaping frogs are showing up in presentations, and leapfrog is becoming a metaphor for creativity in the district. The committee’s work has, however, thus far focused on discussion on the use of technologies to promote its vision to advance student achievement and improve staff productivity. I think MPS can still do better. Leapfrogging can allow the district to lead in achievement, productivity, and meaningful knowledge production.
Here are five quick thoughts on what I believe MPS can do to reinvent itself and thrive as an institution:
- Commit to leadership in the reinvention of education in Minneapolis, the state, and in the world. The technology planning group can be the catalyst for this new orientation toward global leadership.
- Total success is possible. Do not set any goal too low, and do not be afraid to set any goal too high. Set big, hairy, audacious goals –but, make sure to align them with a Noble Quest in a broader leapfrog strategy.
- Don’t worry about breaking the rules. Bypass them. Better yet, leapfrog them! The disruptive change required to revolutionize MPS requires a new set of rules on a new playing field.
- Collaborate! Advances in communications technologies and socioeconomic globalization now means that MPS competes with the world in creating meaningful education. Rather than compete, why not leverage technologies and resources available to build global-reaching partnerships and collaborations?
- Forget about planning for the 21st Century. It’s meaningless to continue to plan for educating in the 21st Century. We’re already here. We need to start planning for the 22nd Century –and reassess our goals and priorities today based on where we need to be in the future.
That’s my two cents. I hope that these ideas will help to build a new MPS that is vibrant, edgy, hard-charging, and value-creating for Minneapolis, the state and the world.