The Common Core and Digital Skills Development
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a rigorous and comprehensive set of expectations for the educational progress of students that have been adopted by school districts all over the United States. The phrase “college and career readiness” is one of the phrases that is associated with this document. It is of the utmost importance that, as we get our students ready for life after school, we incorporate digital tools into our lessons and help them make connections to technology they will encounter outside the classroom.
Students of all ages require practise utilising technology and the development of digital skills that are versatile enough to be utilised in a variety of contexts. If we truly want children to be prepared for college and careers after high school, schools need to take deliberate and strategic steps to incorporate technology tools into the teaching process.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) provide very specific guidelines for how students are expected to use technology in relation to various subject areas. These standards also give educators the leeway to incorporate a wide variety of instructional methods and materials into their classrooms. The Common Core State Standards can be addressed, the needs of their students can be met, and opportunities to strengthen digital skills can be provided if teachers make the appropriate decisions.
Students are expected to be able to “[i]ntegrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally,” according to the English Language Arts (ELA) Anchor Standards of the Common Core (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2). Outside of the classroom, students are subjected to a barrage of different forms of media. They have to become experts in the strategic application of this information as well as the evaluation of its value. I was a classroom teacher, and as part of my job, I would share multimedia clips with my students to assist them in making sense of the information, and I would hold them accountable for the material that was presented. One of the strategies that I utilised in order to develop a reason for viewing multimedia content was to utilise graphic organisers for the purpose of synthesising the information that was presented in BrainPop videos. When analysing a video, you can have students support a claim and “go back to the minute” in the same way that they would “go back to the paragraph” when analysing a short text. This is similar to what they would do when analysing a short text.
“[m]ake strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations,” is another expectation placed on students (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5). Learners of all ages should be able to understand the meaning of multimedia as it is consumed by them and recognise the power of visuals as it is used by them in their own work. Students have access to a variety of tools that can assist them in the creation of digital media. Your students might create graphs using Numbers for Mac or a step-by-step tutorial using the screencasting app Explain Everything, depending on the assignment that you give them.
Students’ writing abilities can be improved by using digital tools, regardless of whether they are working on an informative report about ecosystems for their science class, an argumentative essay for their social studies class, or a tutorial about fractions for their math class. The anchor standards for writing require students to “interact and collaborate with others, as well as produce and publish writing using technology, including the Internet” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6). Teachers who are looking for ways to support instruction based on the Common Core with technology have a number of options available to them in the form of kid-friendly publishing tools. Adobe Slate and Book Creator are two powerful publishing apps for tablets that can be customised to accommodate various forms of writing, such as narrative, opinion, and explanatory writing.
Students are also expected to “gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism” according to the Common Core Standards (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8). It is imperative that students, both inside and outside of the classroom, acquire the skill set necessary to read from digital devices such as smartphones, laptop screens, and tablets. Because of this, schools are required to incorporate both printed and digital texts into their lesson plans in order to create a healthy balance. I would connect a variety of informative texts to QR codes for my fifth grade students, so that they could scan the codes with their iPads and access the information. There is an abundance of high-quality digital text resources available to students of all grade levels. In my classroom, we utilised Scholastic News and Time For Kids, and I would highly recommend looking into both of these resources.
Teachers are able to modify their lessons to meet grade-level-specific standards while also integrating technology in a thoughtful manner. This is in addition to the ELA Anchor Standards that were discussed previously. Courtney Pepe, another Apple Distinguished Educator, is currently teaching at the A. Harry Moore School in New Jersey, and I had the opportunity to pay her a visit earlier this month. By integrating various technological tools into their standard methods of teaching, educators can better cater to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as well as the requirements of their students who receive low-incidence special education services. I had the opportunity to observe students as they developed their counting and sequencing skills by using a programmable Sphero to move from one number to another as they moved around their classroom. Students demonstrated interest in and concentration on the mathematics skill at hand while using their digital literacy to engage with the content.
The Common Core provides learning expectations for students that are flexible enough to be adapted to a variety of different types of classroom settings. Teachers are in a unique position to assist students in the development of digital skills and to integrate technology while also attending to the requirements of their students. The thoughtful incorporation of technology into each day’s lessons is an absolute necessity if we truly want our students to be prepared for success in both college and the workforce.