By CUE Member and Guest Blogger Kristy Andre @kristyandre2
There seems to be a shudder when we mention the words “Common Core,” yet this is where we are going in education. Common Core often gets paired with iPads, which can lead to additional confusion for teachers. The misconception is that if we have an iPad, then suddenly the mystery of Common Core is solved. However, in reality, using an iPad can lead to new questions such as, how do I pick an app to teach Common Core? How am I going to learn all these apps? Which apps are the best? Or, which apps are free?
Instantly we think we need to find a content specific app for everything. I need an app for fractions, an app for the periodic table, an app for reading comprehension. Really, that’s not the case. Instead, try shifting your thinking to content creation apps rather than content-specific apps. Content creation apps are those that can be used across the curriculum. Choosing too many apps can be overwhelming and hard to keep track of. My advice is to pick 10 of your favorite apps and use them in any subject area.
When planning a Common Core lesson first pick a topic, theme or unit that students will be studying. This is where I am very passionate about Project-Based Learning. What is nice about PBL is that you can cover many standards all within the same unit. From there I consider the 4 Cs. Thinking about incorporating collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication will help narrow your focus when it comes to picking what technology you will use for your lesson.
After you’ve selected the topic, theme or unit to use for you lesson, the next step is to choose which apps to use. Apps like Popplet, Google Apps, Subtext, Book Creator, or Explain Everything are great for teaching collaboration because they are all apps that allow students to work together on a certain project. These same apps can be used to show critical thinking, creativity and communication. Students can collaborate on a thinking map using Popplet that can be shared on a classroom blog or a learning management system. Students can publish a book together on Book Creator that can be shared through Google Apps or published in iBooks or iTunes U. Explain Everything can do just about everything. The students can collaborate together by creating a video that explains all that they have been studying. The video can then be uploaded to YouTube to share out with the world.
iPads and Common Core are linked so closely together because the iPad is a great tool that helps integrate the Common Core standards effortlessly. As you kick off your school year with your iPad in hand, think about one app that can be used in a variety of ways and start there. Try using that app for a few weeks and see how the students use it and what can be done with it. If you’re a seasoned veteran with the iPads then try app smashing to keep your lessons fresh and engaging. Whether you are new to iPads or you’ve been using them for years, picking content creation apps will help ease you into teaching with the Common Core.
Kristy Andre is a Digital Learning Coach in the Tustin Unified School District. An educator for 10 years, Kristy has taught in elementary and middle school settings, including teaching in South Africa for two years. She is an ISTE 2014 Emerging Leader and a Google Educator. She is passionate about integrating technology into the classroom and coaching teachers on how to do this effectively.