Two years ago, the Westerville City School District started following a five-year Learning and Teaching Roadmap with expectations to drastically change how students were learning and preparing for their adult lives.

Two years ago, the Westerville City School District started following a five-year Learning and Teaching Roadmap with expectations to drastically change how students were learning and preparing for their adult lives.

As this venture continues, it's exciting to see how the roadmap has the potential to accomplish things we, as educators, previously thought unattainable.

We're at a very interesting time in education. Pedagogy and reasonably priced technology now allow us to provide instruction on an individualized, customizable level.

I have the benefit of working at Hawthorne Elementary School, one of the schools that has been the tip of the spear for this movement.

Our school's leadership team is establishing a culture of collaboration and innovation that allows educators to try new ideas and engage students in a supportive environment. This has begun to foster a community of forward-thinking educators whose students are learning in amazing ways.

One challenge Westerville educators remain aware of is the need to prepare students for careers that do not yet exist. New technology allows us to work on the fundamental attributes necessary to be successful in any field. These include critical thinking, pride in work, self-challenge, ownership of self-improvement, time management and collaboration with peers and superiors.

I have had the opportunity to see students collaborate on math concepts and social studies curriculum with classrooms across the United States. What I find more impressive than the ability to connect students across the globe is how seamlessly technology can connect students across the room.

Teaching students time management skills and ownership of self-improvement allows them to personalize a learning plan that meets their academic needs at the just right moment.

Seeing two students on opposite ends of the same room collaborating on a presentation, while managing their time to stay on their personally generated daily schedule, is an amazing thing.

Students now enter the school with an excitement and thirst for learning because they no longer are expected to learn a predetermined topic at a predetermined pace.

Technology has not made the educator's job easier or less time-consuming. I see daily how much time and effort our teachers invest to master this new technology and squeeze out every ounce of potential it has for our students.

Educators are working to create systems that allow students to engage with curriculum in more productive and efficient ways.

Today's teacher must be able to identify the needs of every learner and then match them with the information, resources and interventions that will be most engaging and yield the greatest results for that student.

As students progress, teachers are tasked with constantly changing and modifying the tools they use to keep them engaged and advance their learning.

Our fourth-grade team at Hawthorne, as Phase 1 Power Users, does a wonderful job of this. They have created a program that engages students in a mastery learning module while providing additional benefits for the individual learner. Namely, as students work at a level and pace most appropriate for them, they also receive support and enrichment for areas in which they may be struggling or excelling.

Students are provided accounts that make their digital files and other online resources accessible whether at school or home, because we quickly realized that learning and mastery of curriculum cannot be confined to the school day.

Our "Power Learners" have had wonderful results with this model and set an educational bar for our younger learners to meet. These classrooms were highly coveted by last year's third-grade students who were looking to become Power Learners themselves in fourth grade.

That is the motivation we want all of our learners to have when they think of coming to school and preparing for their future.

Chris Poynter is an English as a Second Language teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School in the Westerville City School District.