Sunday, July 28, 2013

Teaching With the Common Core Standards - Book Club - Chapter 8 - Technology and the Common Core Standards

This chapter was one I identified with a great deal. While I wouldn't say that I am a technology wizard, I'm certainly not a techno-phobe. I feel quite comfortable with using technology and have used it in my classroom in a variety of ways. Other teachers I know use it with even greater alacrity and I am amazed at the things they create and share with their classrooms and others. Many of the resources that are listed in this chapter - and there are a good amount - I have had personal experience using and others I have seen or heard others use.

The chapter's authors, Erica C. Boling and Christina Spiezio, bring out the point in the opening lines the fact that literacy goes beyond just the ability to read and write, it now encompasses the ability use these skills while navigating the technology rich world of the 21st century. One of the concerns voiced is that there is a wide gap between the skills that most students traditionally learn in their schools and the skills and knowledge that they will need in higher education, modern workplaces, and even within their own communities.

While there is not a specific standard for technology within the Common Core Standards it is implied that 21st century students to be college and career ready will be literate in a variety of technologies. References to digital media and technology are scattered liberally throughout the ELA standards. Differentiation is made between learn "from" and learning "with" technology and, while both are important, it is felt that learning "with" technology that has been "reflected and embraced" (pg. 154) by the standards. This is showcased by the "call for students to be able to critically analyze and produce various types of media." (pg. 154) Because students are expected to present what they find and create it integrates the speaking and listening standards within the ELA standards. Furthermore this technology literacy is not relegated solely to the ELA standards, but is expected throughout other content areas.

Several classroom vignettes showing the use of technology within ELA classes as well as other subjects are given. The technology showcased in the vignettes are:
VoiceThread ( - a way of capturing stories digitally
Glogster ( - a place for creating interactive online posters
Wikispaces ( - which, while used for a variety of other reasons, can be used as a safe and password protected place for students to publish writing and share work with others online
Voki ( - another online digital recording program which allows a student to create a cartoon character that resembles them (which will "speak" for the student) then record a podcast - in this case responses to class readings - for others to listen to
Google Earth ( - an online interactive satellite globe which was used to allow students to take "virtual" field trips
Creation of student produced videos - the use of a Flip (small, easy to use) video camera was mentioned as well as using Windows Movie Maker to edit the short science videos

Two pages of resources are shared that deal with help in using these technologies and resources where teachers can find out about more technology to use in the classroom. The authors conclude by reiterating the vital importance of embedding the use of technology throughout all content areas to create digitally literate students who will be prepared to interact and succeed in an increasingly digital and technological world.

As a teacher I have used several of the resources mentioned, though some such as video podcasting and the use of a wiki have been ways of disseminating information to students rather than having students actively participate. However, after reading this chapter I am eager to try even more with my students actively involved.

Questions for this chapter can be found in the comment section. Please use the 'reply' function to respond. I can't wait to hear all of your thoughts! Links to the previous chapters' discussions can be found here:

Be sure to check back next Monday, August 5th, when 2 Brainy Apples hosts a discussion about
Chapter 9 - Assessment


  1. How big of a role do you think teaching digital literacy should play in a student's education?

    1. HUGE!
      After all, this is their reality! Unfortunately, they don't always understand HOW to use it, especially for education or knowledge seeking purposes. I think there is a HUGE misconception with teachers with this generation in that we assume these students can just "do it" when it comes to FINDING information, weeding out the trash, and using what they find. Just because my 2 year old daughter can turn on my iPod, unlock it, and find the game she wants does not mean she knows how to use the device to find information.

  2. What are some drawbacks or roadblocks to the integration of technology in schools?

    1. I would say the number one roadblock is funding. Technology is expensive AND high-maintenance. It requires a robust structure to support it (Wifi, printers, ink, paper...) AND it required PD for the teachers to properly understand and use it with their students. However, these are costs that need to be dealt with, because most students are not getting what they need in the way of education about technology.

  3. What kinds of technology or digital media have you tried in your classrooms? What were the positives and negatives about using them? Are there more you would like to try in the future?

  4. How can parents, community members, school/district leaders concerns about the use of online tools be addressed? What needs to be communicated to them about these digital tools?

  5. Any other questions? Thoughts? Brilliant brain storms? Feel free to add them here. :)

  6. Many people take for granted that students have tech resources at home. In our rural area, for the past 5 years, I have had only 4 parents with e-mail addresses. That lets me know that it is imperitive that the students learn tech skills while they are in the school system. We can not assume. My school has been very good about updating our tech in the classroom and I make it available to all my students on the Kindergarten level.