I’m positive about the future of education and you should be too! Schools across the globe are disrupting the traditional educational model through the incorporation of technology into instruction. I can’t help thinking about how perfect the timing of this technological revolution is as it correlates perfectly with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The switch to the Common Core occurring at the same time as this wave of educational technology is as perfect as the combination of Twitter and your PLN. They fit together perfectly!
When each student has access to a device like the iPad, they are connected to the world. This allows our students to explore a topic to a level of deep understanding that is required in the Common Core. Examples of the way technology can disrupt the traditional educational model can be seen in tools like iBooks and iTunes U. With iBooks, students can interact with text by writing notes and sharing those notes with their peers and teachers. They can define unfamiliar words as they read them or even have the pronunciation of those words spoken to them.
With iTunes U, teachers are able to share content with students like never before. These courses contain videos, documents, podcasts, and apps. In our district teachers are creating courses and are finding great success with them in and out of the classroom. There are courses ranging from woodworking to writing. Check them out at Boyne City on iTunes U.
Despite what you think about the Common Core and more federal control over what is taught in schools, the Common Core actually has standards based on the use of technology and for that reason alone, they are a step in the right direction.
The following examples demonstrate how the use of technology in conjunction with the Common Core are transforming the way students learn.
W.1.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
With the guidance and support of their classroom teachers, @Erin Mastin, Boyne City Public Schools have first grade students publishing their writing to a global audience. Our first graders are tweeting and blogging, and through that process are learning that their writing has a purpose and an audience.
RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
Check out this example of a 4th grade student from @RebeccaWildman describing specific details of an event from text in iBooks. This engaged student is describing his thinking to his peers and teacher while using the Ask3 app.
Not that I advocate teaching students how to be good test takers, but the reality of this switch to the CCSS is that it is also coupled with a dramatic shift in the type of assessment our students are going to be taking. In Michigan, our students are part of the Smarter Balanced Consortium. In looking at the sample Smarter Balanced test items, it is clear that our students will have to apply the same deep thinking asked of the Common Core to an on-line assessment. I feel confident that providing iPads to students in a 1:1 format will help them be prepared for this type of testing. Check out what our students are doing with tools like Edmodo.
At the “core” of the common core is the belief that schools should teach content deeper rather than shallow and broad. This is a welcome change for all educators as we’ve known for a long time that the previous hand grenade approach to curriculum has not served our students well. In addition to the examples above, here are a few additional CCSS that relate to the integration of technology. Notice how students are expected to not only obtain knowledge through the use of technology, but more importantly, they are asked to demonstrate their learning through the use of technology and to share that learning with a global community. These are important components to our new educational model and I am personally thankful for the forward thinking individuals that made these important skills for students under the Common Core.
W.4.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
RI.8.7. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
SL.11-12.2. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
SL.11-12.5. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
While at a first glance the Common Core can be viewed as one more thing being done to educators, there is a positive side to this change. It allows educators to teach deeper, it allows us to focus on teaching students how to learn as opposed to remembering, and it provides educators the freedom to take advantage of this technological revolution to transform our teaching practices. The fact that this change is occurring at the same time as the introduction of mobile technology like the iPad is just icing on the cake. Schools adjusting their curriculum in response to the Common Core must give serious consideration to the integration of technology into their instructional model. Not only will the integration of technology allow schools to meet the CCSS, but more importantly it will provide for the deep learning required of our students.