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Daily Dish: Technology Facilitating Common Core Learning in the Classroom

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October 16, 2015 04:52 pm

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In THE Journal, Lisa Manross, a district personalized learning coach in Georgia, discusses her role in helping to transform her district into a personalized learning district. The schools are choosing their own path to personalized learning, whether they are going to be a blended learning, project-based, or service learning school, etc. Manross was brought in to aid with the transition because she created a web-based individual math and science curriculum “map” based on the Georgia Common Core Standards, and implemented this blended learning program into her classroom. As a result, she notes how students took ownership of their learning and stepped up to help other students who were struggling.

In Ohio, one district implemented a blended learning program for Common Core math. In eSchool News, Gina Piero, student achievement coach at Worthington School District, says: “The program, we felt, enabled our educators to integrate technology into our classrooms and gain access to the resources they need to assist students in engaging in higher order thinking to achieve deep understanding and mastery of math skills and concepts that are at the heart of the Common Core.” This approach is working for the children, according to a study that measured the difference in growth and achievement of students using the program compared to those who did not. The results showed that 53 percent of tested students improved as much or more than the virtual control group, and 59 percent met or exceeded individual progress goals.

When it comes to Common Core and technology, The Hechinger Report asks, Can students learn the Common Core through gaming? This article explores how games, which are increasingly being utilized in the classroom, can align with the standards, noting that certain games stand out when it comes to the standards’ emphasis on deeper conceptual understanding in math and formulating arguments in English. The piece gives examples of teachers working with game designers to incorporate elements of the standards into the game, and how the best games help kids to solve problems and work collaboratively, but cautions that games should be part of a bigger learning system instead of standing alone.

EdSource reports on the “Open Educational Resources” movement, a growing campaign in California to make educational materials available online and free of cost. The article shows how the movement is gaining support in classrooms across the U.S. as teachers and school districts are looking for materials that align with the Common Core State Standards. Lisa Petrides, founder of Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), a nonprofit that is a leading champion of the movement, says:  “We strongly believe that education should be a free and accessible human right.” She is working so that school districts do not have to commit to buying costly textbooks and materials that quickly become out of date. Since the roll out of the Common Core State Standards, the popularity of free online materials has expanded dramatically, the article notes, and according to Petrides, “There has been more adoption of free, online resources by schools in the last year than in the entire last decade.”

And, as we referenced yesterday, states have been purchasing new materials and textbooks to better align curriculum to the new academic benchmarks, but have had trouble choosing the materials that deliver “the most bang for the buck.” A new study from the Center for American Progress finds that “higher-quality products tend to cost less…and in some cases the most expensive curriculum is among the least effective and the least expensive is among the most effective.” Yet, due to a lack of research on curriculum effectiveness, states and local districts have difficulty making informed decisions about which instructional materials will benefit students the most.

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