Dr. Shawn K. Smith

K-12 Education

The transition to personalized learning goes beyond any single person or initiative. It calls for districts to engage in a synchronized movement of people and solutions from every corner of our education system. It calls for Digital Convergence.

Digital Convergence is the combination of five major drivers of work to effectively adopt technology in our school systems for better measurable outcomes.

Thought Leader | K-12 Education


Dr. Shawn K. Smith is a national leader on issues surrounding digital education and pedagogy and is currently serving as President of Modern Teacher. He is compelled to preserve education’s rich heritage and support America’s teachers and leaders as they transition traditional classrooms into modern learning environments.

As a rare book collector, Shawn has one of the world's largest private collections of John Dewey’s writings. Shawn has authored three books: Teacher as Architect: Instructional design and delivery for the modern teacher, The New Agenda: Achieving personalized learning through digital convergence, and The Shape of Change: The Continued Journey of the Digital Convergence Framework. He has appeared on both Discovery and Learning channels as well as various radio, web, and podcast programs.

Formerly Shawn was a teacher, principal, and Chief of Schools for 15 years in school districts in Illinois and California. Shawn holds degrees from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin (bachelor’s degree, elementary education), the California State University, San Bernardino (master’s degree, middle school education), and the University of Southern California (doctorate degree, urban education policy and leadership).

Dr. Shawn K. Smith's extensive research and experience in the field continues to inform his thought leadership. Today, he collaborates with more than 100 school districts across the country to help them overcome challenges with technology integration. In his role as President of Modern Teacher, he works beside some of today's most innovative and prominent leaders to challenge the status quo and find new, better solutions.


Modern Teacher partners with districts and other organizations to support the transition from traditional classrooms to modern learning environments. Modern Teacher is an educational technology company designed to provide a research-based methodology for Digital Convergence in education, and it has created a technology-enabled solution to support districts in leveraging today’s tools across K-12 classrooms. Modern Teacher has assembled a network of like-minded professionals dedicated to supporting teachers in today's highly connected, digital world.

The National Council on Digital Convergence brings together industry leaders and influencers beyond the National Network, bringing perspectives to the Conference beyond those of district leaders engaged in the Digital Convergence Framework. The National Council will facilitate Conference Sessions and deliver the State of the Industry Report on Digital Convergence.

Dr. Smith confirms what many of us have thought, but few have been so succinctly able to articulate: Our education system remains the last frontier in technology adoption precisely because of the mental models, status quo, and complex dynamics that inhabit it. What Dr. Smith offers is a systematic process for shifting from the analog world to the digital one and therefore ensuring teachers and students capitalize on the promise of technology offered decades ago. Our students' future success relies on this shift occurring.

--Dr. Peter Gorman, President and CEO, Peter Gorman Leadership Associates Former Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Broad Prize Winner National Council on Digital Convergence

The Shape of Change


The Continued Journey of the Digital Convergence Framework

A how-to for scaling personalized learning

Across the country, a fundamental movement continues to take shape as school districts embark on the journey toward the personalized, modern learning environment. New champions begin to emerge and promote the transition. Instructional models evolve to accommodate unique profiles for individual learners. Curriculum changes to offer authentic learning experiences. Digital resources become integrated and connected. Professional learning programs prepare school-based leaders, instructional coaches, and teacher cohorts to lead and support the shift toward the modern classroom. The conditions are set for the modern learning environment to scale. And the next phase begins.

In The Shape of Change, Dr. Shawn K. Smith identifies the common experiences districts face as they enter Stage 4 and 5 of the Digital Convergence Framework. While districts take a unique path in the Framework, Dr. Smith identifies the common patterns that drive and detract from progress. Using these common patterns, district leaders can diagnose the barriers preventing progress, while gaining immediate action items to move forward.

This personalized learning book teaches educational leaders how to:

• Anticipate and understand the changing conditions in the district in five key areas
• Use change management strategies to scale the modern learning environment
• Establish a proficiency model for school-based leaders, instructional coaches, and teachers
• Set goal cycles to organize, measure, and recognize progress in manageable phases
• Sustain momentum toward personalized learning through Digital Convergence

The Shape of Change extends the work of The New Agenda to give district leaders and stakeholders a road map for working through the Digital Convergence Framework as the modern learning environment becomes institutionalized and teachers become “champions” of twenty-first-century teaching and learning. Download an excerpt of The Shape of Change here.

More from Shawn Smith


In The New Agenda, Dr. Shawn K. Smith–a former Chief of Schools and educator who now consults school systems across the country–discusses the work of Digital Convergence, a fundamental movement to transform teaching, classrooms and K-12 learning for the modern age.


The newest edition of Teacher as Architect explores the most pressing needs in today's classrooms, and offers educators the tools and skills they need to succeed in the current digital learning environment.


The Cognitive Growth Targets Questioning Flipbook serves as an instructional tool for K-12 educators seeking to personalize learning in the modern classroom.


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