Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Common Core State Standards and Google Classroom

I was recently asked by a colleague to convince teachers that Google Classroom can either help students meet the CCSS requirements, and/or help teachers deliver the best CCSS content. The common core state standards are a set a guidelines for teachers to ensure that what they are teaching is helping to create "career and college ready" individuals who can become effective members of their community. What is an effective member of a community, well that's an entirely different story. The point is, that Google Classroom is simply a tool that can be integrated into teaching. How teachers implement the tool and integrate the common core into their classroom determines whether or not the tool will be effective. Google classroom is a virtual classroom space where teachers create a flipped environment, and provide students with a common place to ask questions, collaborate on school work, hold discussions, access quality content presented by peers or the teacher, and learn how to acquire information from various media sources. This list, hardly skims the surface of what Google Classroom is and can be for teachers. But, the issue at hand is the alignment of Google Classroom to the CCSS.

The common core states the following about technology:

      Students employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing,
      speaking, listening, and language use. They tailor their searches online to
      acquire useful information efficiently, and they integrate what they learn using
      technology with what they learn offline. They are familiar with the strengths and
      limitations of various technological tools and mediums and can select and use
      those best suited to their communication goals.

     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.

Those are only two examples that discuss technology and content skills. If you were to sift through both of those documents in much more detail, you will find the application of technology integrated through most of the standards. So where does Google Classroom fit into all this?

I use Google Classroom as flipped environment to facilitate learning, and help students acquire skills to sift through various media to extract relevant and important information. I also use Google Classroom as a place for students to turn in assessments, receive feedback on assessments, ask questions, receive extra help, and simply share ideas with each other.

So, is Google Classroom a tool that can deliver the common core and/or help students meet the CCSS? Absolutely, as long as the teacher understands the CCSS and understands how to best use these guidelines in their practice to ensure that students are gaining the appropriate skills for the content.  The tool is not replacing the teacher, the teaching is using the tool to help streamline their efforts towards the CCSS.

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