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 an education futurist and national leader on issues surrounding digital education and pedagogy, and is currently serving as chief executive officer of Modern Teacher. Shawn also sits on the board of The Futures Institute, an organization dedicated to providing global insights on complex local problems. 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, Smith has one of the world's largest private collections of John Dewey’s writings. He is the author of 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 the Discovery Channel and TLC as well as various radio, web, and podcast programs.

Prior to founding Modern Teacher, Smith was a teacher, principal, and chief of schools for 15 years in school districts in Illinois and California. He holds degrees from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin (bachelor’s degree, elementary education); 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 chief executive officer 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

Wisdom and Influence

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Mastering the Digital Convergence Framework

The US public education system finds itself at a crossroads. Two decades after classrooms became connected online, the traditional education model can no longer deliver the American dream. Only by establishing modern learning environments can school districts serve their most important purpose: equipping graduates with the skills needed to compete in the twenty-first century. For district leaders, this critical transition means overcoming a status quo a hundred years in the making.

In Wisdom and Influence, bestselling author Dr. Shawn K. Smith explores the most advanced challenge and solution for educational leaders trying to institutionalize the modern learning environment. The book explores the enduring quest toward twenty-first-century education, calling on leaders to navigate the often-murky waters of power and influence in the Digital Convergence Framework, while offering readers guidance on how to accomplish this feat.

The final sequel to The New Agenda and The Shape of Change, the book explores the most advanced challenge and solution for educational leaders trying to institutionalize the modern learning environment, completing the collective body of work that is Digital Convergence.

More from Shawn Smith


In The Shape of Change, Dr. Smith identifies the common journeys school districts take as they personalize learning in K-12 education. Using these common patterns, district leaders can overcome challenges and better understand effective solutions.


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 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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