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The Technology Demands That the Common Core Standards Make on All Teachers

By Cameron Pipkin

I’ve been asked a few times in recent weeks about the Common Core and its relationship to technology. Generally, there have been two questions:

  1. What does the Common Core have to say about technology? Does it make technological demands of teachers and leaders?
  2. How can technology help administrators and teachers to implement the Core? What are the best tech resources available?

I’ll do my best to answer these questions based on the research I’ve done, but as always, I’ll rely on my readers to help me out. Comment below if I’ve missed something or gotten something wrong.

1) What does the Common Core have to say about technology? Does it make technological demands of teachers and leaders?

The truth is, the majority of the Common Core Standards are technology agnostic. They focus on what students need to be able to do by providing learning targets to help kids reach college and career readiness by grade 12. How teachers move their students toward these targets is left up to schools and the individual instructor, which, to me, is one of the strengths of the Common Core. As long as students are able to perform the standards, teachers can use any instructional method.

This means that if you’re using technology in the classroom now, there’s no need to change. You’ll be able to continue to use many of the lesson plans and teaching techniques that you’ve developed over your career. If this includes the integration of technology, then all the better for the students you teach!

Having said that, there are a few explicit technology related requirements that the Common Core Standards make:

  1. ELA and Content Area Anchor Standards:

History and Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA Literacy Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

English Language Arts

Speaking and Listening

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.


  • CCSS. ELA-Literacy.CCRRA.W6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing to interact and collaborate with others.
  • CCSS ELA-Literacy.CCRRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.

Writing Across Curriculum

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  1. Math Practice Standards

CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5 Use Appropriate Tools Strategically: Mathematically proficient students consider the available tools when solving a mathematical problem. These tools might include pencil and paper, concrete models, a ruler, a protractor, a calculator, a spreadsheet, a computer algebra system, a statistical package, or dynamic geometry software. Proficient students are sufficiently familiar with tools appropriate for their grade or course to make sound decisions about when each of these tools might be helpful, recognizing both the insight to be gained and their limitations. For example, mathematically proficient high school students analyze graphs of functions and solutions generated using a graphing calculator. They detect possible errors by strategically using estimation and other mathematical knowledge. When making mathematical models, they know that technology can enable them to visualize the results of varying assumptions, explore consequences, and compare predictions with data. Mathematically proficient students at various grade levels are able to identify relevant external mathematical resources, such as digital content located on a website, and use them to pose or solve problems. They are able to use technological tools to explore and deepen their understanding of concepts.

  1. Mathematics Content Standards


CCSS.Math.Content.7.G.A.2 Draw (freehand, with ruler and protractor, andwith technology) geometric shapes with given conditions. Focus on constructing triangles from three measures of angles or sides, noticing when the conditions determine a unique triangle, more than one triangle, or no triangle.

Expressions and Equations

CCSS.Math.Content.8.EE.A.4 Perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation, including problems where both decimal and scientific notation are used. Use scientific notation and choose units of appropriate size for measurements of very large or very small quantities (e.g., use millimeters per year for seafloor spreading). Interpret scientific notation that has been generated by technology.

  1. Common Core Assessments

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)

Testing for SBAC will be done digitally, using computer adaptive testing technology.  Based on student responses, the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment. For example, a student who answers a question correctly will receive a more challenging item, while an incorrect answer generates an easier question.

Optional computer adaptive interim assessments will provide a more detailed picture of where students excel or need additional support, helping teachers to differentiate instruction. The interim assessments will be reported on the same scale as the summative assessment, and schools will have the flexibility to assess small elements of content or the full breadth of the Common Core State Standards at locally-determined times throughout the year.

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)

Like SBAC, PARCC assessments will be conducting digitally. Unlike SBAC, however, PARCC assessments will not use computer adaptive testing technology.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I answer question #2: How can technology help administrators and teachers to implement the Core? What are the best tech resources out there?



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