Education Week - November 9, 2016 - 14
How has the way you teach reading changed because of technology?
especially in the 8th grade standard, but technology is
For Leu, though, the key failure of the reading standards is that they don't ever specifically require students to read online. As Leu explains, there are two
kinds of digital reading: offline and online. Offline
reading can happen on a computer or e-reader but is
really not much different from print reading. The text
is read from top to bottom without much interactivity. Online reading involves novel skills
such as using search engines, clicking on
hyperlinks, and evaluating different websites' credibility.
"In the reading portion, [the common core] did not use online or internet or some reference that would
specifically point to the online context," he said. "When you use a term
like 'digital,' it can be an e-book.
Most people interpret text in relation
to their prior knowledge, and most
educators' and classroom teachers'
prior knowledge is strongly influenced
by offline text."
the standards be outdated as soon as you print them,"
she said. "The formats keep changing."
But the standards do get at the skills needed to navigate social media, Pimentel said. "We definitely deal
with the credibility and accuracy of sources, and that
becomes really important when students read social
media and blog posts," she said.
Writing Meets the Mark
fo r E d
Certainly, plent y of tech-sav v y teachers
and schools are incorporating online reading
while tackling the standards. But as William
L. Bass, the innovation coordinator for
instructional technology, information,
and library media for the Parkway school
district in Missouri, points out, plenty are
not. "Some [school and district] administrations
went very literal and very direct, and in those cases,
digital tools are seen as an add-on-it's nice to get
to if every student in your class is on grade level,"
he said. "Ultimately, we missed an opportunity because we didn't discretely put those things in [the
But Pimentel argues that the standards give students
the foundational skills they need to be good digital
readers, even without being too prescriptive about incorporating online reading. "If we teach students to
read closely, pay attention to what people are saying,
ask questions about it, think about who the author is-
that would be the most critical part of what we want
to make sure students are doing as they become more
competent in digital literacy," she said.
For example, an area of digital literacy that the standards don't directly address at all, Pimentel points out,
is social media.
"We did have discussion about it. ... It's challenging
when you're dealing with technology and not having
| Education Week * November 9, 2016
The common-core standards for writing,
on the other hand, are more blunt in their
requirements and do contain explicit
mentions of the online space.
Writing "does a pretty good job,"
said Leu, who is also the director of
the New Literacies Research Lab at
the University of Connecticut. "At
least they used the term 'internet,'
and to me, that's the critical issue."
Anchor Standard 6 in writing says
students should "use technology, including the internet, to produce and
publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others." And Anchor Standard 8 says students should "gather relevant information from multiple print and
digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information
while avoiding plagiarism."
In writing, even the youngest students are asked to
"explore a variety of digital tools." The grade-level
standards tend to say "print and digital" sources for
writing, rather than giving educators an out by saying
"print or digital" as they do in reading.
The speaking and listening standards also refer to digital tools more explicitly. Anchor Standard 5 says students
should "make strategic use of digital media and visual
displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations." Third graders are asked to
"create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems,"
and high school students are asked to "make strategic
use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual,
and interactive elements) in presentations."
The standards themselves aside, a major concern
among digital-literacy experts about the transition
to the common core is that the tests aligned to the
standards don't require real online reading. And as the
adage goes, what gets tested gets taught.
"There's still a huge gap between assessment and
the kinds of digital literacies and online literacies we
know are important and that we need to be teaching
children," said Dalton of the University of Colorado.
For the most part, the tests, while administered on
computers, don't ask students to click on hyperlinks
"I don't know if the
way I teach reading
has changed, but
are bigger for kids;
so just embedding
all that into the
Third grade teacher, Indian Run
Elementary School, Dublin, Ohio