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Common Core Update

Products Enhance Common Core Implementation

As Common Core implementation begins, education publishers are creating products that align with the standards and take advantage of technology that elicits student engagement.

“Technology, used effectively, can help all students meet and exceed the rigorous learning goals embedded in the Common Core by providing access to tools and resources that personalize instruction and creating rich, engaging and relevant learning environments,” according to a statement from the International Society for Technology in Education.

And such products offer transformation beyond the regular curriculum to personalized learning, with content that adapts in real time to individual learners. “The days of consuming content are over,” says Patricia Coryell, senior vice president of editorial publishing at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). “Moving forward, content is going to be ‘experienced’.”

And new Common Core-specific products take advantage of interactive technology. For example, HMH’s Journeys Common Core curriculum for elementary reading includes whiteboard lessons, e-textbooks, and online student and teacher collaboration to enhance literacy, Coryell says. And Pearson’s WriteToLearn program is a web-based literacy tool that gives students real-time, automated feedback on reading comprehension and writing skills.

The medium is the message for school systems that have invested in technology infrastructure and are offering Common Core programs digitally, as students learn the content and the delivery mode simultaneously, says Jeff Livingston, senior vice president of education policy at McGraw-Hill Education (MHE). For example, MHE’s My Math program includes an online component that allows students to download apps and play games to make abstract ideas more applicable.

Publishers are also using assessments created by the Smarter Balance and PARCC consortia to develop programs to simulate testing, so students can have a hands-on experience before the assessment. For example, ODYSSEYWARE, an online curriculum provider, recently released the Common Core Assessment and Remediation Tool, one set of assessment tools and instructional materials that help teachers identify student competency levels and remediation lessons. “The idea of the Common Core is to have students that are prepared for success in college and their careers,” Livingston says. Though many Common Core products are also offered in print, “any student who gets to college without a working knowledge and comfort with technology is behind.”