Digital Writing & Common Core

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Last night I wrote a short post about the importance of all text in the Common Core ELA Standards.  However, as I was driving to work today it dawned on me that many educators are likely not aware of all of the places where digital text and digital writing can be found in the standards.  Digital writing is no longer an add-on.  It’s not a PowerPoint you just slap on the end of a unit if you have time.  Digital text is a critical part of being literate in the 21st Century.  I should add that even though the standards are aften referred to as “Common Core English Langauge Arts Standards” their full name is “The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.”  So, if you’re a history or science teacher these apply to you too now.  Pay attention! Literacy development is everyone’s responsibility.

This summer, as part of our Summer Institute at Area 3 Writing Project I found myself regularly referring to the importance of digital text in the ELA CCSS document.  However, I could tell by the blank looks on some of my colleagues faces that they we’re really sure what the heck I was talking about.  The linked document, which has also appeared on the NWP Digital Is website, was my attempt at calling out some of the areas where digital writing or digital text appear in the standards.  The document highlights the six anchor standards were digital text most prominently appears and shows the progression of that particular standard over four grade levels (Kindergarten, 4th, 8th, and 12th).  I have to admit that one of the most interesting grade level standards comes from Reading Informational Text Standard 7

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.”

Which starts in Kindergarten with…

” With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).”

Builds in 4th grade to become…

” Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.”

Adds evaluation in 8th grade…

” Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea”

And ends in 12th grade with…

” Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or a problem.”

I picked this standard, because while it seems fairly simple on the surface, when one starts to consider the professional learning and access to technology for it to be effectively taught, it’s clear we have much work to do.  If you are interested in technology, literacy, and writing please take a moment to look over the Common Core ELA Standards.  It’s powerful tool that will help to guide a future work. You might even start with this document.

Joe

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