As controversial as the Common Core State Standards are, they do provide a clear benefit: They present a prime opportunity for educators to bring their classrooms into the digital age.
To date, 43 states have adopted the Common Core, which means the standards will apply to nearly 90,000 public schools, 2.3 million teachers and 46 million students. Fortunately, as the infographic below shows, Common Core's increased emphasis on the use of digital learning tools will help bring U.S. classrooms into the digital age, where their students already live. According to Project Tomorrow's 2013 Speak Up survey, a majority of both middle and high school students have access to broadband in their homes, and even more have personal smartphones. Students are comfortable using these tools, and educators can leverage that knowledge to get them engaged in school.
That engagement also leads to increased achievement. Research shows that access to technology improves student learning. In one study, teachers saw more engagement, better independent work and an increase in project-based learning. Schools that implemented 1:1 tech initiatives were particularly effective at increasing learning outcomes for special needs and low-performing students.
But mere access to technology is not enough. According to the ISTE Standards, the use of digital tools in the classroom must be grounded in thoughtful pedagogy. It is technology's capacity to allow for differentiated and personalized learning, formative assessment, and a shift to higher-order skills, such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, that makes it a true game changer for education.
This focus on pedagogy is what makes the ISTE Standards a useful framework for students, teachers and leaders to apply as they implement the Common Core and embrace digital age instruction. Take a look at the infographic below to see how using both sets of standards together leads to greater student achievement and learning outcomes.
Need help implementing the Common Core and the ISTE Standards in your classroom? Check out Project ReimaginED, a new social learning community where you can collaborate with experts and educators from across the country on learning activities that align with both sets of standards.
Sarah Stoeckl is a senior project manager in the ISTE Standards Department. She worked as a writing and literature teacher before becoming an administrator, writer and project wrangler.