Central Ohio schools are being forced to make changes to better prepare students for the changing job market.
At Dublin's Riverside Elementary School, third grade students are using "new school" smart board technology to tackle "old school" subjects, like math and reading.
"They come in here and they can grab a laptop just as easily as they could grab a pencil," said Franki Sibberson, the school's media specialist. "It changes the way they think about what they can do."
SPECIAL SECTION: Central Ohio 2015
Educators told 10TV's Tracy Townsend that technology adds what teachers are calling a new layer to what it means to be literate.
"We're teaching them these tools and how to use them," said McKenzie Zimmerman, a Riverside Elementary teacher. "They'll have to decide tools to get that message across."
"We just need to teach them how to use it, reminding the same we do with paper and pencil applies to anything we do with technology," said Lynsey Burkins, a Riverside teacher.
School days of decades past included a focus on basics, like reading and writing, with the goal of preparing children for the world of work. Now, the goal is global - preparing children for competition with their peers in central Ohio - and around the world.
The manufacturing jobs that were once plentiful in the region have been replaced by technology jobs. Students need new skills to get the new jobs and educators need new skills to teach them, Townsend reported.
"In five years, I would like to see our city very actively engaged as a learning place for our students," said Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Harris.
According to Harris, by 2015 she would like Columbus to have a 90-percent graduation rate, with nearly all graduates moving on to higher education.
"Whether or not that's a two-year school or technical school degree or a four-year baccalaureate degree, we just know our students are going to need a broader skill set than a high school diploma can bring," Harris said.
Harris calls it a "new" reality, in which the traditional reading, writing and arithmetic have been replaced with rigor, relationship and relevance.
"Information is doubling and tripling at a very rapid pace," Harris said. "We need our students to know what it takes to solve problems, to work together, to work cooperatively."
Today's education majors at The Ohio State University are being trained for the new reality, Townsend reported.
Educators are also tackling the issue with an eye toward the future, in what's called Project ASPIRE, a new program aimed at teaching tomorrow's teachers how to work in so-called "high need" schools where it is often hard to hire and retain quality teachers.
"Most teachers come from middle-class backgrounds," said Sandy Stroot of Project ASPIRE. "Most teachers are white, and a lot of our teachers don't understand what it is for children to grow up in high levels of poverty."
A bachelor's degree in education will be just one path to teaching, Townsend reported. Project ASPIRE will also put experts from corporate giants, including Nationwide and Battelle looking to make a career change in the classroom.
"We hope to be able to work collaboratively with our partners to be able to create a critical mass of teachers who are passionate about urban education and can help us create change within these high need schools," Stroot said.
Project ASPIRE is the result of a multi-million dollar grant from the Ohio Department of Education.
Stay with 10TV News and 10TV.com for continuing Central Ohio 2015 coverage.