Aug 14 2013
Data Center

Schools Face Tech Overhauls in Preparation for Common Core

The new curriculum standards are forcing to schools to invest in ed-tech or risk falling behind.

Change is coming to a K–12 school near you in the 2014–2015 school year, and the clock is ticking for schools to quickly assemble the necessary technology to support the new initiative. The Common Core State Standards program has seen widespread acceptance, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

With the deadline looming, more schools are making Common Core preparations a top priority. A recent CDW•G survey found that 83 percent of public school district IT professionals surveyed cited Common Core as one of their top three IT priorities.

On the heels of this survey, a recent article in InformationWeek highlights some of the challenges that schools face with overhauling legacy technology ahead of Common Core’s rollout.

Superintendent Robert Kravitz of the Englewood Cliffs, N.J., school district shared some of his IT pain points with Common Core:

"Our curriculum matched, but our tech didn't," Kravitz told InformationWeek Education.

Kravitz said technology was lacking "everywhere, from devices to servers and switches to storage to the network to broadband and bandwidth."

There was some modern technology in the schools, Kravitz said. For example, all classrooms were equipped with interactive whiteboards. The problem, though, was that teachers had not been trained on the technology so the boards remained underused or unused altogether.

Keeping teachers up to speed on the latest technology is a key component of making Common Core work. That’s why the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) released a statement in July affirming the need for ongoing professional development.

“The price tag on the technology infrastructure needed to implement the Common Core is high — in the billions of dollars. It’s critical that schools and districts leverage that investment to improve learning outcomes for students,” said ISTE CEO Brian Lewis. “For that to happen, educators and students must have a firm foundation in the skills required to be digital teachers and learners.”

While some schools are racing to meet the Common Core deadline, others already have a head start. Monique Flickinger, director of instructional technology at the Poudre School District in Colorado, spoke with EdTech at the annual ISTE conference about how teachers have already begun implementing technology-centered Common Core standards into their curriculum.

"We've gone one to one in the last two years, so all of our students in grades 3 through 11— following year after that will be 12th grade — have their own piece of technology,” Flickinger says. “And so teachers have taken these new units of instruction that have been tied to the new Common Core standards and have found ways to integrate technology into each of those units."

How is your school district preparing for the technology requirements of the Common Core? Let us know in the Comments.


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