Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Aligning Digital Innovation with CCSS?

The impending OOE13 Twitter chat on declaring learning goals for this MOOC on education technology has me a little anxious, but this morning, it has proved to be a motivator to start zeroing in on a couple of goals! One of them is to explore the conflict between Common Core Standards and the vision of technology as vehicle for students to create.

I LOVE the idea of using technology in classrooms to empower students to create. I've read about amazing maker and code camps. I've thought about the metacognitive benefits of students using technology to document and capture their learning. To be very meta now and capture my learning, I'll quote Scott McLeod as he's quoting Gary Stager (who is quoting Piaget and Papert):
Piaget reminds us,“To understand is to invent,” while our mutual colleague Seymour Papert said, “If you can use technology to make things, you can make more interesting things and you can learn a lot more by making them.” (Three Competing Visions of Educational Technology)
This quote sums up the way my vision of educational technology has been drifting. And yet, something wasn't sitting well with me. Common Core.

How can we reconcile one of the three essential shifts for ELA: text-dependent questions and building knowledge form within the four corners of the text?

In my Googling, I came across a PDF: Accelerating Productive Digital Innovation that Supports the Common Core State Standards Common Core State Standards. Unfortunately, it's not currently on the Common Core site, and the mailchimp URL doesn't evoke confidence. But the font/layout, language, and content seems aligned (get it?) to all the CCSS resources I've seen, so I'm going to believe it's legit and has just failed to be well-catalogued on the Internets.

The document continues to promote the emphasis on the text itself:
At the heart of the ELA criteria for grades 3-12 are instructions for shifting the focus of literacy instruction to center on careful examination of the text itself. In aligned materials, work in reading and writing (as well as speaking and listening) must center on the text under consideration. The standards focus on students reading closely to draw evidence and knowledge from the text
And its suggestions for digital opportunities include audio readings of text, questions embedded in the text, and a glossary that defines words in context in the text.

It also states:
Materials use multimedia and technology to deepen attention to evidence and texts. The CCSS require students to compare the knowledge they gain from reading texts to the knowledge they gain from other multimedia sources, such as video. The Standards for Reading 36 Literature specifically require students to observe different productions of the same play to assess how each production interprets evidence from the script. Materials aligned with the CCSS therefore should use multimedia and technology in a way that engages students in absorbing or expressing details of the text rather than becoming a distraction or replacement for engaging with the text.
This seems like a whole lot of student-as-consumer to me. How can we remain CCSS-aligned and encourage the discovery and creation that make digital tools actual forces for improved education?


  1. "How can we remain CCSS-aligned and encourage the discovery and creation that make digital tools actual forces for improved education?"

    Shoot I was hoping you were going to answer that questions for me. I guess we will have to learn together in #OOE13.

  2. Wouldn't that be nice! I'm excited to have something to focus on in #OOE13, and hopefully we will come up with some kind of answer to it.