Vol.#14: Technology and the Common Core [2]

In my previous post on technology and its role in the Common Core curriculum a couple of months ago, I described an integrated approach. Tech should be infused in the instruction, while the content is the educational objective. However, upon further reflection I worry that I under-emphasized a seismic shift in this curriculum as it relates to technology. Namely, that Common Core also expressly states technology as part of the curriculum. This is to say, technology IS now an overt educational objective and not merely a by-product.

For example, on page seven of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts document it states:

Students who are College and Career Ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Language: “…use technology and digital media strategically and capably. Students employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use. They tailor their searches online to acquire useful information efficiently, and they integrate what they learn using technology with what they learn offline. They are familiar with the strengths and limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use those best suited to their communication goals.”

This gives a picture of a capable student as one who knows how to acquire and communicate facts, not one who has memorized them. Our children live in a world where they hold the entire sum of man’s knowledge in the palm of their hand. They will (rightly) find a quiz about the dates of World War II rather a waste of time.

Further, there are five ELA K-5 and ELA 6-12 College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards that explicitly state technology in the standard:

Reading: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Standard #7    Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. (ELA K-5 on p.10 & ELA 6-12 on p. 35)

Writing: Production and Distribution of Writing Standard # 6   Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others. (ELA K-5 on p.18 & ELA 6-12 on p. 41)

Writing: Research to Build & Present Knowledge Standard #8   Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. (ELA K-5 on p.18 & ELA 6-12 on p. 41)

Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration Standard #2   Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.  (ELA K-5 on p.22 & ELA 6-12 on p. 48)

Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas Standard #5   Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations. (ELA K-5 on p.22 & ELA 6-12 on p. 48) (all my emphasis)

This means is that while some teachers’ contention that technology is “those other teachers’ ways of teaching, but just not for me,” may have been okay in the past, it is simply unacceptable with the new Common Core curriculum. We can no longer delude ourselves into thinking we are preparing our students for the world in which they will inherit if we deprive them of cutting-edge technological skills.

Ironically, one of the best places for these reluctant educators to reach out and get help putting technology into his/her classroom is, well, online. There’s a Common Core Tech Wiki  and a Technology Integration/Common Core Livebinder with resources to explore the connection of this curriculum and to use in your classroom. Amy Mayer’s Fried Technology website is wonderful (the image below is from her) and I’ve mentioned my love for educatorstechnology.com before as one of my faves.

For a short, bulleted list of what the Common Core’s goals are for students using technology, see Catlin Tucker’s list in “11 Tech Tools to Teach the Common Core Standards“. I’ve just discovered her website, which has some wonderful resources, webinars, and more related to blended learning and literacy.

What school administrators need to know is that their classroom observations will not should not look the same. Also, teachers need their support, in whatever form at your school that may need to take, be it Professional Development, trying “Educational Smackdown” at your staff meetings, or providing new resources.

What politicians need to know is that funding for technology is a basic necessity, not a luxury. Period.

In closing, from the same Common Core document on p. 48:

“New technologies have broadened and expanded the role that speaking and listening play in acquiring and sharing knowledge and have tightened their link to other forms of communication. The Internet has accelerated the speed at which connections between  speaking, listening, reading, and writing can be made, requiring that students be ready to use these modalities nearly simultaneously. Technology itself is changing quickly, creating a new urgency for students to be adaptable in response to change.” (p.48, my emphasis)

Technology Education itself is changing quickly, creating a new urgency for students teachers to be adaptable in response to change.

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4 thoughts on “Vol.#14: Technology and the Common Core [2]”

    1. Very good insight…especially about how technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will replace those who do not!

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