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Hidden Common Core skills students need to learn…and how to learn them


School experts say these Common Core tools can teach students the digital skills they need to learn

common-core-student-skills As schools across the country begin to implement Common Core, assessments are asking students to use digital skills that many still need to learn. According to one school district, it’s knowing what these skills are, the online tools available, and in what grades to implement them, that will make students Common Core-ready.

“If you look at the Common Core requirements closely, there are minimal technology requirements for every student,” said Tamra Hogue, supervisor of instructional technology and media services for Bay District Schools in Panama City, Fl., during the FETC 2014 presentation “Common Core: Cool Tools for Your School.”

Beyond knowing how to respond to an online prompt during computer assessments, prompts that often use Microsoft Word icons without instructions, students also need to complete Common Core requirements by creating “brochures” or “video presentations.”

(Next page: Common Core’s technology skills requirements)

“For us as educators, we need to understand it’s not just about an app,” said Rhonda Sumpter, instructional specialist for technology at Bay District. “Students need to know how to seamlessly integrate technology into their work and we need to be able to guide them in their technology options. It’s not about recommending an app, it’s about knowing which tools can help them reach the digital skill level they need.”

According to the technology specialists at Bay District, the minimal technology requirements grade-by-grade include:

  • K-1: Read and produce writing with visuals using digital tools; collaborate.
  • 2: Add audio recording to speaking/listening tasks as well as K-1 skills.
  • 3: Produce and publish using technology, keyboarding and visual displays.
  • 5: Add multimedia (audio, visuals) to reading, writing and speaking.
  • 6-8: Writing—multimedia and visual media, using credible sources and formal citing (MLA, AP, Chicago)
  • 9-12: Use hyperlinks; display information in flexible and dynamic ways; strategic use of digital media including text, graphics, video, audio; and interactive elements such as blogs and wikis.

To help students develop the digital producing, collaborating and personalizing skills they need to succeed with Common Core, the specialists at Bay District developed a list of Common Core tools, distinguished by grade level and skill, that will aid educators in teaching critical digital skills.

Common Core tools for digital skills

K-2 skills: digital storytell, collaborate, animate, keyboard, online note-take and organize, create podcasts and audio, blog, and use interactive tools for writing.

K-2 highlighted tools: Storybird, Voki and Picle (digital storytelling). Aurasma (podcasts/audio); and kidblog (blogging).

A full list of tools for the full list of skills, as well as detailed examples, can be found on Bay District’s Livebinder FETC 2014 presentation, located here.

3-5 skills: All skills included for K-2, plus multimedia.

3-5 highlighted tools: Tools, which have been upgraded in features to cater to older children, include Voki and Prezi (digital storytelling); Blendspace (collaboration); Face Talk (animation); and QR stuff (multimedia).

A full list of tools for the full list of skills, as well as detailed examples, can be found on Bay District’s Livebinder FETC 2014 presentation, located here.

(Next page: More grade-by-grade skills; PD)

6-8 skills: All noted for previous grades, plus presentation, social bookmarking and annotation, conversion tools, research, and web design.

6-8 highlighted tools: Wordle (digital storytelling); Google Docs (collaboration); Thinglink (interactive tools for writing); Easybib and Son of Citation (research); and Weebly and Google Sites (web design).

A full list of tools for the full list of skills, as well as detailed examples, can be found on Bay District’s Livebinder FETC 2014 presentation, located here.

9-12 skills: All noted for previous grades, plus social media.

9-12 highlighted tools: Tools previously listed for other grades can now expand in functionality for older students. Google Docs (collaboration); Weebly and Google Sites (web design); and Edmodo (social media).

A full list of tools for the full list of skills, as well as detailed examples, can be found on Bay District’s Livebinder FETC 2014 presentation, located here.

Outside of online tools, the experts of Bay District emphasized that the delivery of professional development is critical in getting the full use out of these tools.

“The organization of technology professional development is arranged around the Common Core language and instructional shifts,” explained Hogue. “For example, instead of Storybird being offered in isolation, training should be offered for digital storytelling tools.”

Bay District also implemented TOSA (Teachers on Special Assignment for Technology), which offers job-embedded coaching for teachers, administrators and students.

For more information on TOSA, Common Core tools, or students’ digital skills, contact Bay District @baytech2 on Twitter, or email tosa@bay.k12.fl.us

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