Monday, January 16, 2012

CCSS & Technology


Being a high school teacher and as we, high school teachers, are preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards, I have realized how disappointed I am in the lack of emphasis on technology. In each grade level there is only one small strand in regards to technology. For example, in the 11-12 grade area on both the writing standards and literacy standards for the other core-academic areas, the technology strand states the following: "Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information" (www.corestandards.org). This standard is extremely vague. Look at what the current grade level content expectations have to say regarding technology (www.michigan.gov/mde):
  • CE 1.5.2  Prepare spoken and multimedia presentations that effectively address audiences by careful use of voice, pacing, gestures, eye contact, visual aids, audio and video technology.
  • CE 1.5.4 Use technology tools (e.g, word processing, presentation and multimedia software) to produce polished written and multimedia work (e.g., literary and expository works, proposals, business presentations, advertisements).
Not only are there two standards instead of one, but the standards from the grade level content expectations are a little more extensive and in-depth. So, are schools going to lose their focus on technology as a form of introducing literacy when they switch from content expectations to state standards? Also, what really is "technology"?

I did not realize how much this lack of detail as to what students need to master before graduating high school bothered me until reading Because Digital Writing Matters by Danielle DeVoss, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks. I have a secret passion for technology. I love incorporating technology because I truly believe that students, more specifically high school students, rely on technology, whether they really know it or not. From cell phones to laptops to iPod touches, students are constantly enveloped in the world of technology. If students do not have the opportunity to be exposed to how technology can be used for the purposes of learning and improve their writing, I fear that students will go through their high school lifetime being illiterate in writing and technology.

In Because Digital Writing Matters, DeVoss, Eidman-Aadahl, and Hicks state that writing instruction for today's students "requires [the teachers] to consider what new skills and dispositions students might need for the digital age" (11). However, if there are no specific guidelines for teachers, how are teachers expected to know what type of technologies should be introduced into the classroom?

This is what frustrates me with the Common Core State Standards. The standard on technology seems unclear to me as to what the expectations are for the both the teachers and students. Being that I love technology, I would constantly be using it. However, would a teacher who is not as acquainted and comfortable with technology use it less often or maybe not even at all? How would this impact the students' education in regards to digital literacy and the fact that digital writing is currently the new way of learning? I really enjoy the input from DeVoss, Eidman-Aadahl, and Hicks, but how can it be stressed to all teachers that they should have this same mindset on technology and digital writing?

2 comments:

  1. I'm not really sure how high school teaching works, but I wonder if maybe not having specific guidelines could actually work out as a positive thing in some way? In a college teaching environment, not having many specific guidelines allows instructors to have more freedom in class - such as deciding for themselves whether they want to use a wiki, or a blog, or teach students to use Powerpoint, or to use no technology at all. For me, that can be kind of rewarding, because it means I can always try out new things! Do you think it could work that way in K-12 education at all?

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    1. This is Aylen from class, by the way. I don't know why my name is showing up differently all over the place! ...Sheesh!

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