I’ve had a LOT of traffic on a Google Document that I created last year while exploring the Common Core State Standards. At the time I created it I was looking for a way to impress upon the teachers in my district that technology standards are now for the first time being embedded within the content standards (at least here in Michigan). Previously, the technology standards were published by the state separately from the core content areas, which created a convenient excuse for many teachers to basically say “well, they aren’t my concern, because they aren’t in my standards.”
Walking carefully away from that statement (which I know is far over-generalized), I wanted a positive way to show the teachers I work with where technology is being asked to be integrated within their instructional practice. For better or worse, all educators at the K-12 level are now responsible for ensuring that technological tools, student publishing and collaboration via the web, and many other technology-based instructional practices happen within every classroom.
I decided to start by pulling every single Common Core Standard related to technology (including the College Readiness and ELA in Science, History, and Technical Subjects standards) from the 180+ pages of the Common Core that have been published. You can find the link to those below, but what was more fun was taking a bird’s eye view of the Common Core standards using Wordle, which I posted last school year. I present them again below without any markup or annotations.
High Frequency Words in the Common Core State Standards
High Frequency Words in the Common Core State Standards related to Technology
While this is certainly not a definitive look at how we should be using technology throughout our instructional practice, it is interesting to note that the words “produce, publish, writing, and collaboration” are quite prominent in the Common Core standards related to technology. This could suggest the shift towards a growing acceptance that students should be narrating and sharing their learning with forms of media beyond just pencil and paper. The internet, computing devices (including graphing calculators and other technological aides), and various forms of collaborative software are now being expected to be a regular part of a teacher’s “toolbox” for instructional activities.
For the production and distribution of writing alone, every level of K-12 is mandated by the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards to do the following:
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
That one simple line is listed for both the K-5 and the 6-12 levels, and is one of the most straight forward guidelines for what teachers should be doing, as a bare minimum, with student writing. More specific requirements of that standard are repeated in the Writing Standards for each grade level starting in grade 3, as well as the Writing standards for Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects at the 6-12 levels. I won’t even get started with all of the technology related standards found deeply embedded within the Math standards. It’s not about just using technology and the internet as a resource anymore, it’s about adapting, infusing, and transforming instructional practice at every grade level to acknowledge that digital tools and the internet are here to stay as an integral part of student learning.
If you’d like to explore the list of technology related standards in the Common Core documents, feel free to click the link below to view the Google Document I created, and please share with others!
Just for starters, I want to compliment you on the use of Wordle as a graphic in this circumstance. It truly gives a clear perspective as to how the action words of these standards overlap.
I just started my first year teaching Social Studies (used to teach math) and my district has yet to adopt Common Core Standards, but are in the process. As a Social Studies teacher, we are being introduced heavily to the CA standards and the talk of my colleagues is constantly about how they should not be responsible, despite the obvious overlaps. The feelings are likewise for my CA counterparts who are being asked to find ways to incorporate SS curriculum. Adding yet another group of standards like technology would cause an even greater stir than the CA ones, but after looking directly at your comparisons, it seems like it plays a vital role for student success. My colleagues often sound just as hesitant as you have described yours to be, so my question to you is how did your colleagues handle the information? It seems like it would be cause for relief, at least from my view, as it shows me I can integrate without sacrificing my content. This information is something I hope to share with my colleagues, so I am hoping to prep myself for possible reactions.
I think it would be interesting to see how often these exact same words pop up across all parts of the Common Core. It seems as if these standards really are giving us the opportunity to teach for life skills if we use them properly, as the real world does not work as segregated subjects!
Welcome to the teaching profession, Nicole! I’ve been talking a LOT about Common Core with teachers in my district and either people haven’t been vocal about the “it’s not my business”, or they’ve been quiet around me 🙂
Either way, I’d say any teacher who is willing to state openly that critical thinking, reading and analysis, technology, and ELA comprehension within their content area isn’t their concern is either A) ready for burn out and needs a chance to recharge or B) has lived through some awful implementations of technology and ELA across the curriculum. When it comes to the technology integration, I’m of two minds. It’s certainly not the role of every teacher to show students the mechanics of technology tools and apps, but you would be hard pressed to convince me that the semantics of using the technology within our content areas isn’t our jobs.
The beauty of the Common Core (and it’s not all beautiful) is that teachers are being asked to have common ELA, Tech, and process skills applied in their classrooms, giving students a better sense of how everything is connected, not in isolated silos. We have some teachers here in my district in Science and Social Studies who aren’t paying very close attention to the Common Core yet as they only have a handful of standards covered in the College & Career Readiness, but I’ve found that’s a great way to start, as they get the benefit of being “eased” into this whole thing as their content standards won’t be published for at least a few more months or longer.
I hope you’ve been having a great first year, regardless of anything your colleagues might be negative about 🙂
I’m not sure yet what role Physical Education will have with the Common core Standards but I do believe I use a lot of these standards already in my lessons. Basically, we need to point out or define exactly what standards we are addressing in the lesson. I think it’s going to take time before every teacher is on the same page with their team and what they are trying to achieve with each class or lesson. What I worry about is if we are going to get rid of the standards in the next five or six years and come up with a new title or concept of teaching.
There are still some holes with the Common Core, namely in the area of the arts and physical education, but I suppose it’s alright since it’s designed to be “core” subjects. I’m hoping that with such a large initiative, we can finally see most states start to just slowly refine the standards through the partnership, and avoid the whole “replacing the standards” wholesale that many districts have experienced in the past.
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