Common Core Standards are now used in 47 states. This movement represents a pretty big shift in K-12 school governance, which typically is managed at the state level. The Common Core Standards establish national criteria and benchmarks for teachers. These standards have a huge impact on the English & Language Arts classroom with many of the standards applicable to writing and reading.
In the past, the use of technology was more of a check box, and all teachers weren’t required to check it. With Common Core, technology takes on a more prescribed role in the classroom, opening doors for many fresh and creative ideas.
Beyond the Blog
Blogging isn’t a new phenomenon. Common Core pushes teachers to think beyond the blog. The idea is not simply to incorporate technology, but to encourage students to think critically and even make complex decisions. If students are required to do a class project, use blogs as a way for them to compile and organize their research. And don’t stick to simple words on a screen. Common Core specifically encourages the use and creation of multimedia so have students play around with videos and images. Doing so will get students to begin thinking about the decisions they make, and you can use the blog to watch their progression.
Sharing is Caring
Of course, this sounds like something that should be restricted only to kindergarten students, but people of any age share just about anything today. What people share in the digital age says a lot about them, and in the classroom sharing can be a magnificent tool. With tools like a social wall, you can empower students to share their thoughts, ideas and their work with their peers. Help them work through joining the digital conversation while they learn how to identify what is shareable content and what content is best left alone.
Talking It Out
Similar to blogging, discussion boards aren’t really new to the classroom, but they’re still ways discussion boards can have a powerful impact on student learning. Use discussion boards to encourage students to make decisions and justify them. What makes them feel so strongly about something and what research do they have to back it up? In addition to encouraging critical thinking, discussion boards are a great way for students to defend their ideas. Encourage students to respectfully disagree because a little conflict can transform the classroom into quite an interesting learning environment.
English classrooms are typically not the most exciting. Either a student loves it or can do without it. English teachers have done amazing jobs at being creative through the years with poetry, journaling and even plays. Now, by combining technology and Common Core standards, there are even more ways to get creative and refresh some old ideas in the English classroom. You likely already have some great ideas. Now all you need is the technology.