Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Getting to the Core with Digital Tools


So, what do the Common Core State Standards and digital tools have in common? No—this is not a joke nor is there a punchline coming your way, although some probably wish there was. In reality, these buzz words represent two concepts that can no longer be dismissed/ignored in today’s educational landscape. Yep—like it or not, teachers (who else, right?) are going to be responsible for meeting these newly adopted standards—objectives that now include digital components requiring students to demonstrate knowledge through the use of technology.

For example, in the English Language Arts Writing strand students in kindergarten are expected to explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers while high school seniors should be able to use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback including new arguments or information.

Uh, huh—for real! And for all of those teaching at grade levels in between those years—you guessed it! There are benchmarks for your students to meet as well, a scope and sequence of skills if you will. So, no you cannot escape this shift, especially because a separate set of standards called “technology” does not exist. Instead, digital skills are blended into the standards as a whole; therefore, regardless of content area or grade level, all teachers will be expected to share the burden of arming students with this know-how.

Not sure how to wrap your mind around the blend of these two concepts? Then for starters, check out the StategicTechUse Wikispace, a must-see resource jam packed with a variety of digital tools suggestions that can be used to meet technology requirements found in the following areas: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening and Language.

In addition to the tools, there are also some informative and useful Quick Guides related to the CCSS  as well as examples and links to a number of instructional strategies that can be integrated into classroom activities.

A shout out to my colleagues Stevie Kline (Intermediate Unit 1) and Lori Cermuga (Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit) for creating and sharing this valuable info at the Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC) Professional Learning Opportunity in January 2013.

Classroom Connection:

Use the StategicTechUse Wikispace as a resource to help you venture into the deep dark world of getting to the core with digital tools. And while you’re at it, I bet you’ll even teach your students a bunch of real world skills they need to thrive in a ever-changing global economy.

BTW—I created the image for this post using Spell with Flickr. Check out my article about how to utilize this “cool tool” in the classroom here.

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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