Common Core Standards – and the blend of technology

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.

 

 

 

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Teaching and Learning Paradigm Shifts

Teachers guide and facilitate learning based on their knowledge of both the content area and the craft of teaching. Within the classroom, they create meaningful learning experiences and they encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning. Teacher professionalism is the sum of what teachers do – both inside and outside the classroom to orchestrate student learning, contribute to the art and craft of teaching, and influence educational policymaking.

Videoconferencing, steaming video, podcasting, weblogs, e learning and multi-media integration enhances teacher professionalism to overcome the barriers of time and distance to collaborate on professional issues. Teachers can retrieve information from local and on-line databases to plan lessons and use computer-based multimedia to make more stimulating classroom presentations. Skepticism is not new to education. Emerging technologies are often viewed with fear and resistance. Just look at some of the history surrounding educational change.

Skepticism is not new to education. Emerging technologies are often viewed with fear and resistance. Just look at some of the history surrounding educational change.

“Students today can’t prepare bark to calculate their problems. They depend upon their slates, which are more expensive. What will they do when the slate is dropped and it breaks? They will be unable to write.”
– Teachers Conference, 1703

“Students today depend upon paper too much. They don’t know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?”

– Teachers Association, 1815

“Students today depend upon store-bought ink. They don’t know how to make their own. When they run out of ink, they will be unable to write words or cipher until the next trip to the settlement. This is a sad commentary on modern times.”
– Rural American Teacher, 1929

“Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away! The American virtues of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Business and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries.”
– Federated Teacher, 1959

You can usually look at a group of students and their teacher and know when the educational process is working. The atmosphere’s just right — and that’s because good learning environments often have certain key elements in common.

Modes of Learning

These learning elements, alone and in combination, can be enhanced by technology. In some cases, technology even makes them happen as in developing interactive distance learning. weblogs, podcasting and e learning opportunities.

Active learning is a strategy for education in which the students take personal responsibility for how and what they learn.

When students are active learners, they become involved in learning rather than being audiences for instruction. Active learners create and produce as they learn. They’re engaged in work, try out new ideas, and gain understanding by constructing their knowledge from the world around them rather than acquiring it through memorization.

Teachers create an active learning situation by assigning a complex topic and helping the students to identify the resources they need to investigate it. Then the students, rather than the teacher, explore and organize the information to be learned. As the students work with the information and identify and interpret the main ideas, the teacher facilitates their learning. As one teacher stated, “I’m more like the guide on the side than the sage on the stage.”

Cooperative learning is a strategy for education in which students work in groups to achieve shared goals.

Teachers create cooperative learning environments by establishing groups, helping students to determine group goals and teaching students cooperative learning skills. Principles of cooperative learning include distributed leadership, heterogeneous interdependence and group autonomy.

Interdisciplinary learning is a strategy for tying together traditionally separated school subjects.

Teachers often work together to create the environment for interdisciplinary learning. At the high school level, teachers from different departments may collaborate on interdisciplinary projects or classes. For example, History and English teachers, or Science and Mathematics teachers, may team-teach courses. At the elementary level, teachers may take a thematic approach, which is inherently interdisciplinary. Individual classes, groups of classes or the entire school may do projects based on specific themes, and at any level, teachers may make instruction interdisciplinary by focusing two or more traditional subject areas on a real-world problem.

Individualized learning is a strategy for meeting the diverse needs and learning styles of students.

Students learn in different ways, at different speeds and at different times. Some students learn easily by reading, some by listening and watching, and some by hands-on experience. Some students may be visual learners in one area and auditory learners in another. In addition, developmental issues and preferences affect how – and how well – students learn.

Multi-Media Integration

The incorporation of multi-media into teaching and learning has become one of the most practical ways to emphasize the lessons that are being conveyed and for students to be able to actualize and process information. Multimedia utilizes equipment such as: videoconferencing, digital cameras, digital videocameras, scanners, laser printers, laptops, whiteboards, streaming video, document cameras, audio podcasts and web sites.

Often times, multiple screens or monitors are used in multi-media learning studios. Students can incorporate a video clip into a power point presentation or stream that same video to the desktop or classroom monitor. A student can put any text on the document camera to emphasize his or her concept and then return to the class or instructor camera seamlessly, making the technology appear invisible.

Summary

In the past, schools have been places where people in authority decided what would be taught, at what age, and in what sequence. The new technologies provide students access to information that was once under the control of teachers. Interactive Distance Learning instills an excitement and enthusiasm to engage learners in sharing knowledge and experiences while at the same time encompassing unique content and guest lecturers into classrooms and for the professional development of educators.

For learning to be optimally effective, it should not be hindered by the often artificial barriers that have been created around it. Media plays an important role in breaking down such barriers. The development of information and communication technologies, particularly interactive distance learning, streaming video, and podcasting are some of the conditioning factors of the emergence of the knowledge society. Education in this 21st century means maintaining high standards, integrating technology into curriculum, alternative forms of assessment and better professional preparation.

Protect You and your Kids on Facebook

Facebook is the premier social network being utilized by individuals on a regular basis. It is not only being utilized by children but adults are getting into the act as well. It is being used to promote relationships, discussing parties, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and even to play games. Photos are posted, and often there are unintended consequences and risks that could endanger you, and children. These risks include identity theft, hurting college prospects, job prospects and even overspending.

Facebook is a tremendous resource for identity thieves who search pages for data they can use to apply for loans and credit cards. Scammers try to get personal details by sending quizzes or games with keystrokes collecting malware attached. If your child is using your computer, your data is also at risk.

  • Make sure you, children or students do not post their full birth date or address.
  • Set your privacy settings to “friends only” and not “friends of friends” which increases the number of individuals that can view a page
  • Keep your PC’s anti-malware software up to date

About 25% of schools polled by the national Association for College Admission Counseling stated they utilize social networking sites to research applicants. Also, 45% of employers now use sites like Facebook to research candidates and find content that can dismiss a prospect.
Make sure you let students and your children know what will make a bad impression such as photos, postings related to sex, drinking or disparaging comments.
Review your child’s Facbook page periodically, with his/her permission and urge them to remove inappropriate posts and “untag” him/her in unseemly pics.

Approximately 43% of teens using social networks spend money on the sites, often to buy virtual items or advance in a game. For example, a Facebook credit could cost 10 cents but with many transactions, you don’t notice how much is being spent. Kids can charge credits to a mobile phone number or to a Pay Pal account if they know the password.

  • Scrutinize your bills, and never store your PayPal password.
  • Remind your kids they need to have your permission to bill purchases to you.