The Common Core State Standards are picking up steam and racing closer to reality every day. Are you feeling the increasing pressure to upgrade your technology programs in preparation for what’s ahead?
Many district technology leaders are feeling that pressure acutely, and that is why we dedicated this issue of the magazine to examining the challenges schools are facing as they try to determine what technological measures they need to put in place in preparation for the standards.
The reality is that many districts are not ready for the technological demands of the common core, which call for having online testing in place by the 2014-15 school year. That school year may still feel relatively far off to the average student or teacher, but for educational technology leaders, who appreciate that upgrades do not happen overnight, it is daunting. And that is especially the case in districts struggling to make financial ends meet.
Some districts “are panicked about getting ready for it, but some are not even in a place where they know enough to be panicked yet,” says Ann Flynn, the director of educational technology for the Alexandria, Va.-based National School Boards Association. “I won’t say they’re in denial, but it’s going to be a real challenge for a lot of districts.” (See “Are You Ready?”.)
Of course, ignorance is not bliss, especially in the current K-12 atmosphere, where accountability is center stage. School district technology leaders need to take an honest inventory of what they have versus what they need to meet the technology demands of the common core. Then they need to be realistic and strategic about what they can put in place with the resources available, working creatively with their states and other districts to make it happen.
It will be a bumpy and imperfect journey over the next two years. But there is a silver lining: The demands of the common core are opening the doors for schools across the country to take a hard look at their technological infrastructure and how they use digital tools for learning.
And this hard look will undoubtedly create the kind of pressure that can lead to better ideas for how technology should be used in schools.
A version of this article appeared in the October 17, 2012 edition of Digital Directions as Ready or Not, Here They Come