Common Core Standards (CCS) are developing across America. Common Core Standards are coupled with a new generation of assessments and putting an end to the practice of establishing 50 different state measurement tools.
In March 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors “to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving , critical thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity.”
Almost every state has already chosen to adopt the CCS in math and English which will be required for the 2014-15 school year.
So, how does technology blend in with the CCS? From what I’ve read about the new standards, technology would be a way to execute them within a K-12 college or career-based program that ties into real-life applications. This is important since the standards are career, professional, and college-based, all incorporating various technologies.
At the classroom level there is lots of technology going on in teaching, learning, assignments, and reports. For example, creating small group presentations on rocks and minerals might include a variety of media options for classes or cluster groups. The menu of technology integration can include:
- A video presentation through www.DiscoveryEducation.com
- Creating a www.voki.com with a character communicating a message
- Cartoon creation sites such as: www.toondo.com and http://www.pixton.com
- Videoconference with a Museum, Zoo or friend anywhere in the world with Skype or a more
- robust system like Polycom, Tandberg or Life Size that can view entire classrooms
- Utilizing an Interactive White Board to demonstrate content, possibly incorporating an avatar such as www.xtranormal.com, www.storybird.com or www.wordle.net
- Digital story telling using www.animoto.com or other digital software
- Incorporating pictures and videos into Power Point presentations helping students to communicate their research, messages, concepts, and essays.
Many schools are incorporating these and other technologies within their daily classrooms to reinforce and support the Common Core Standards. These standards incorporate resources that are online and very interactive with students. Students can collaborate on projects utilizing a variety of free Internet applications such as Google Apps or other collaborating software. More teachers are learning about Web 2.0 resources and benefit from hands-on training or through on-line classes.
Teachers are incorporating new and engaging technologies that also support higher order reasoning and writing skills, showing what students know through creative presentations. Technology ties together a variety of standards including science, English Language Arts (reading, writing, communication) and literacy through the synthesizing of information while collaborating with other students. Technology enhances cross-curricular instruction and encourages collaboration among students. It becomes a useful tool to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners in the classroom.
Through my work with teachers at both public and private schools, I understand their hunger to learn technologies that can support differentiated instruction. Overcoming obstacles such as booked computer labs, or restrictive filtering system can be a challenge but is not insurmountable.
Arnie Duncan, Secretary of Education stated “This new generation of assessments combined with the unprecedented development of common college and career-ready standards is a game-changer in K-12 education.” The move to a more rigorous education across the nation must include technology integration to enhance instructional effectiveness. Incorporating a variety of technologies will help drive student achievement when weaved into these Common Core Standards:
- An articulated curriculum
- Emphasis from fiction to nonfiction in reading and writing.
- Emphasis on reasoning and problem solving skills.
- Focus on teaching content through the standards for mathematical practice.
- Compare what is taught in high school and what colleges expect.
Teachers need support, resources, tools and time to make adjustments in their instructional strategies to assess student growth and progress. Every school district must make a commitment by providing the necessary professional development for teachers in areas such as: Web 2.0, Interactive White Boards, Google Apps, Streaming Video and Videoconferencing. Technology continues to be implemented to:
- Utilize student data to identify student growth
- Revise curriculum and standards
- Review reward and remuneration structures
- Build technical skills of teachers and principals
- Assess student learning
- Establish policy documents
- Link e-courses to Common Core Standards
In closing, technology is a tool of Common Core Standards and will allow a student in Ohio to be measured against the same standard of success as a child in Arizona. It allows parents to review and maintain contact with teachers through school intranets and more on-line communications with school leaders. Most importantly, it will lead to growth in student learning through differentiated and integrated uses of voice, video and kinesthetic teaching methods; appealing to various learning modalities of students.