Recently, I had a conversation with colleagues and researchers about how technology in education has changed, which reminded me of the days when I would take my US history classes to a computer lab to play a simulation game called The Oregon Trail. Two students per clunky desktop computer inserted a 5-inch floppy disk into the external drive and waited for the game images to emerge after a few moments of whirring and clicks booted it up. The game provided a digital simulation of the journey that pioneers made to Oregon. It required students to use their recall of content learned in class to move the pioneers through their journey while surviving hunger, storms, and treacherous terrain. Juxtapose that to Minecraft, a cloud-based game that can be played anywhere, introducing learners to the global connections of economy and culture. Unlike the first edtech games, Minecraft provides learners with a virtual environment where they can develop skills for careers such as engineering, architecture, computer science, and commerce. Even more, it facilitates the development of soft skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal communication. Technology has adapted to and facilitated innovation in education.
The evolution of teaching and learning strategies is multi-faceted, and while the pandemic surely accelerated the use of technology in our lives, it also exposed gaps that need to be bridged. In MUSD a clear example of how we are bridging learners for the future of work is our MUSD Innovation Campus and our drive to forge partnerships with business, governance, community organizations, and institutes of higher learning such as SJECCD and SJSU. These collaborations benefit our learners of all ages. A few of the partnerships that are at work now in our schools are:
Our innovation in MUSD is fueled by our collective experiences of these last 29 months and ignited by the promise of what we can accomplish as a community of learners in Milpitas.