Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CCSS, Smarter Balanced, and Renewed need for Tech Skills

Yesterday I designed a lesson for the student I tutor using Frolyc and tried to align the activity with a Common Core 5th Grade standard.  Overall I'm not sure how I feel about the new standards, but if the flexibility is really there for teachers to interpret and teach the standards as they see fit then it wasn't as daunting an experience as I thought it might be.

One thing I noticed while facilitating the Smarter Balanced training test last week was a renewed need for basic tech skills such as typing.  When I first started teaching 16 years ago, classes rotated through the computer lab and one of the tasks they worked on was Type to Learn.  Eventually labs closed or usage was reduced due to budget cuts.  With the arrival of the CCSS and Smarter Balanced testing students will need tech skills, including keyboarding skills, in the short term to successfully complete the tests and in the long term to attain technology based jobs in the "real world."  I know typing was pretty much the most useful skill I acquired in high school and I think one of the main skills that is going to help students feel successful on the Smarter Balanced test is having a good grasp of keyboarding skills.  Many of the students voiced that the most difficult part of the test was having to type longer passages. 

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