The Common Core is
more than just the latest set of standards to follow. It represents a major
shift in the way we teach and the way students learn.
It's no longer enough to work from a pre-determined set
of knowledge and skills all students are expected to acquire. To truly meet the Common
Core, we have to teach students to dig deeper, think bigger
and apply what they learn to real-world
"I think it's really about the way we're approaching our job as
teachers," said Paula Don, director of educational technology for the School
District of Philadelphia. "Rather than just pouring the facts in and making sure
kids know how to multiply and divide, we can be facilitators in helping them
apply and learn those skills in a real-world context so it has
Fortunately for educators who are working with the ISTE Standards
for learning and teaching in the digital age, the Common Core State
Standards emphasize many of the same
skills we're already teaching with
technology, from problem solving and critical thinking to creativity and
collaboration. In her webinar on "Connecting the ISTE Standards with the Common
Core," Don demonstrates how educators can use the ISTE
Standards as a blueprint for developing the media literacy and analytical skills
required to achieve the Common Core.
Media literacy represents an important area where the two standards
overlap. The ability to locate, evaluate and use media in all of its forms will
play a pivotal role in student success — as will the ability to apply
traditional literacy skills to a digital
She offered the following suggestions for taking media literacy to
the digital realm:
questions that provoke higher order thinking.
The word "analysis" appears frequently in the Common Core
standards, across almost all subject areas. Memorizing and reciting — the way
many of us learned about historical documents like the U.S. Constitution and the
Gettysburg Address — have given way to the ability to analyze and
So instead of having students memorize parts of the Constitution,
for example, teachers might take them on a deep dive into the Bill of Rights,
connecting history to what's happening today and analyzing the how document's
relevance has shifted over the decades.
"Rather than having the kids learn the facts and give them back to
you, it's about crafting open-ended questions and having the kids do more
research and analysis, come up with their own hypothesis, and come up with
evidence to justify their answer," Don said.
how search engines work.
In a digitally powered world, search engines have become our
information gatekeepers. As students increasingly conduct research via Google
searches, they need to be able to evaluate and analyze the sources they find
An important component of teaching media literacy is helping
students understand how search engines operate, Don
"When people understand how the algorithm works, they'll look a lot
more critically at what they find online and not necessarily go to the top
result that comes up in a search," she said. "Search engines are manipulating
our access to information. What does that mean for us in a democratic society?
Those thinking skills are so, so critical."
Are you ready to redesign your curriculum to meet the
Common Core and ISTE Standards? Join the Project
ReimaginED community to collaborate on updating education for the digital