Technology and the Common Core: No Longer an Option, But a Necessity

By Lori Elliott, Ed.D.

What does the Common Core have to say about technology? A lot more than anyone may realize, especially those who haven’t read the document from start to finish.

A Close Reading

Basically, the Common Core does not treat technology as a separate strand of content. Rather, technology expectations are entrenched throughout the entire Common Core—from the College and Career readiness to the standards. In fact, technology is addressed over 40 times in the standards.

So, exactly what does the Common Core say about technology? Taking the time to closely investigate the CCSS document may hold some surprises for teachers who are still teaching the way they were five years ago and who think technology is an “extra” but not a “must have.”

Here are a few examples of what they will read:

  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MPS: “Use appropriate tools strategically.”
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.7: “Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.”
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.7: “Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

A New Mindset… and a Plan

With the Common Core, many things have changed. Students are required to interact and collaborate—and teachers are required to facilitate those activities. There is more emphasis on informational text. Rigor and a student’s ability to explain their thinking is newly important. Content is integrated across the curriculum instead of segmented. No longer are teachers only responsible for what students must know. They also are responsible for what they must do to be college- and career-ready.

Using technology and digital resources throughout the entire learning process will help students and teachers achieve these new expectations. But technology and digital media must be used strategically and capably. It’s more than throwing in a PowerPoint® presentation or a few games for students to play. An app—like Educreations or Pic Collage—can’t be a one-shot thing. The technology must take student thinking to the next level. It must allow them to demonstrate their understanding of new concepts. It must get students ready for the real world. To do that, teachers need a plan.


For a more detailed look at how to plan for effective, technology-based instruction in your classroom, check out SDE’s webinar Technology Is the Ticket to Common Core Success! by author and educational technology expert Lori Elliott, Ed.D.

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