Common Core, Common Tech, and Uncommon Learning

The Common Core State Standards Lifestyle.

With their adoption by forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense, the Common Core Standards will be part of almost all teachers' lives, if not now, certainly within the next few years.

The math and language arts standards have been available for several years, but on April 9, 2013, a companion set of science standards, the Next Generation Science Standards,  developed with the support of the National Research Councill was released. For those of us who believe that technology can engage students and elevate learning to deeper levels, the Common Core is speaking our language.

Consider the following example English Language Arts and Math Standards where technology is specifically identified as a component of literate and mathematical thinking:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.6 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 three pages in a single sitting.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSS-ID.C.8 Compute (using technology) and interpret the correlation coefficient of a linear fit

In addition to concrete examples of technology integration, both the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards support the types of complex, authentic activities that use technology to connect subject-area content to the real world. The standards are relevant for projects in a wide range of technology environments, from a small number of classroom desktop computers to a comprehensive mobile learning program. The following standards are examples of how these standards approach learning and develop 21st century skills:

  • Next Generation Science Standards

K-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.

  • English Language Arts Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9 Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.

  • Mathematics Standards

CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.D.8 Solve real world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths, finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters.

Of course, standards, no matter how good they are, without environments that support them, will have no effect on teaching and learning. Nevertheless, a common language that encourages critical thinking, real-life application, and the use of technology to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems, is certainly a step in the right direction.

More about Technology and Common Standards

The Common Core Standards and Technology

A Prezi presentation describing how technology relates to the Common Core Standards.

Forcing You into the Future
An article discussing the technology implications of the Common Core Standards

In December 2015, Peggy Grant joined our extended network of alumni.