5 Mobile Apps To Help Teachers & Students Adapt To The Common Core Standards
It’s easier to get where we are going if we are all working off the same map. At least that’s the premise behind Common Core, a detailed K-12 curriculum intended to implement a uniform set of academic standards among learners nationwide.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have already adopted the curriculum, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Alaska and Puerto Rico have not yet adopted the Common Core.
Common Core Praise & Criticism
Proponents say the shared curriculum helps teachers focus their classroom instruction with particular goals and outcomes in mind. Having a set of expectations should make it easier for student thrive and for parents and teachers to gauge success.
Critics, however, have voiced concerns over a possible “one-size fits all” approach to learning. Some worry that states might be giving up some autonomy in taking a national approach to education, which has traditionally been a state function.
In general, though, Common Core has drawn praise from both educators and industry leaders. The Common Core “can give all kids a robust curriculum taught by well-prepared, well-supported teachers who can help prepare them for success in college, life and careers,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
“State by state adoption of these standards is an important step towards maintaining our country’s competitive edge. With a skilled and prepared workforce, the business community will be better prepared to face the challenges of the international marketplace,” said Edward B. Rust Jr., chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies.
Whether or not this is true, as states begin to implement Common Core, the education technology community has stepped up to the plate with a number of free or inexpensive mobile apps. Some help teachers understand the curriculum at a glance and make it possible for them to tailor instruction, some help parents guide their children’s practice, and others speak directly to learners with fun and instructional exercises in reading and math.
1. Common Core Standards by MasteryConnect
The Common Core is more than just a broad outline of educational objectives. It’s a detailed program of action with specific aims and goals for every step of the learning experience. As such, it can be a beast to muddle through. This app makes it easier for teachers, students and parents to see at a glance just what the curriculum requires. Sift by subject, age and requirements to get right to the specifics of any given element within the curriculum. This offers a fast and easy way to view the Common Core.
2. Common Core Tracker by Common Core Tracker
Teachers have a new administrative burden when they adopt the Common Core. In addition to tracking student grades and milestones in the usual way, they now must chart those outcomes against Common Core milestones. This $2.99 app helps reduce some of that burden. Educators can easily align their assignments against Common Core standards, then track student scores against those benchmarks. By putting the learning plan and the Common Core standards into a single place, teachers can more easily visualize student progress and can plan lessons according to Common Core elements not yet achieved.
3. Alphabet Zoo by Third Rail, LLC
For the youngest readers, literacy begins with associating letters and sounds. Designed around Common Core competencies, this 99 cent app lets kids ages 2 through 5 play with animals, generating simple sounds in a way that is fun and entertaining. They may not know they are learning, but kids who engage in these simple phonics exercises will be working toward the foundational skills for reading at the kindergarten levels, as defined by the Common Core.
4. Learn Math 1 by Mingoville
On the cheerful island of Mondiso, early learners can acquire Common Core math skills in an array of entertaining ways. In this free app, kids can learn to focus by following simple instructions to stack boxes, shop in the junk shop and play basic board games. It all adds up to fun for kids, while parents can know their young learners are getting an early start on the Common Core math requirements.
5. Scootpad by Scootpad
This app offers both math and language for K-5 according to the Common Core guidelines. The app can be configured for multiple kids, each receiving personalized learning exercises according to his or her abilities. Parents and teachers can track student progress, measuring overall performance in real time and settings targets for proficiency in various topics. The basic app is free, with additional features available in paid versions.
About the Author: Adam Stone writes on education, technology, business and government from Annapolis, Md; iamge attribution ilamontcom