Friday, November 9, 2012

Information Trumps Technology in the Common Core

While educators all over America are trying to wrap their heads around the Common Core, there is one word that may come as a surprise: INFORMATION.   We've heard all about writing, text-based answers, text complexity, evidence from the text and more.  The one word I haven't heard touted much (outside the library world) is INFORMATION.  

If you search the ELA standards, you will find that the word information appears 243 times.  That can be discovered through a simple PDF binocular search on Internet Explorer. 

[Tagxedo created with the ELA CCSS Standards}

I hear some colleagues trying desperately trying to embed technology into their lessons as they believe that is the magic formula for fostering 21st Century Students. -- But, technology alone will lead them no where.   Technology without information is a bit useless.  We use technology to: find information, communicate information, evaluate information and amass information.  Likewise, information without technology is dull, archaic (dare I say), and difficult.  My question is, why are we not hearing teachers and educators stress the word information?  We see districts with a 5 year technology plan, they post bonds to upgrade technology across the district, but where is the 5 year information plan?   

Technology in the CCSS is only mentioned 24 times in the ELA CC Standards. Information is mentioned 243 times.  That's a ratio of 10:1.  Following that formula, we should hear people talk about information ten times more than they focus on technology?  Technology alone wont build College and Career Ready students.  Information and technology work together to prepare students for the future.    

So next time you ponder what to do with technology, consider the following essential questions:

  • What information can my students communicate with technology? 
  • What information can I embed into this project?  
  • Can my students access information to synthesize, critically? 
  • Are my students information literate as well as tech-savvy? 
  • Am I asking my students to JUST find information? Or, have I asked them to do anything with that information?  Synthesize?  Create? Debate? Transform that information into a position, problem solve,  etc,?  
Please see my article in this month's School Library Journal for additional insight into this discovery.  
(If you liked this post, you may also like this previous post: click here)


  1. Hi Paige,

    This is a great post. Those who get lost in technology for the sake of using a shiny object are completely missing the point. Those who integrate technology seamlessly are those who use it for a purpose that enhances the learning by reaching beyond the four walls of the classroom to find information for an authentic purpose, to interact with primary sources, and connect with people -- that's all about the information.

    However, for those who think about information the way we did in the 20th century, that too misses the point. When I was in school, good students were those who merely found a good nibble of information (like a great quote or something on microfiche), and we were tested on the information we remembered. However, with information at our fingertips today, that is moot. So, it must be about what we do with the information. It's about pushing to the higher levels of Bloom's or towards more depth of knowledge, and doing something authentic with that information. It's about doing something original with that information.

    I worry that those who don't understand the power of 21st century learning, are hearing that Common Core is a "back to basics" movement, which is more about rote memorization than actually engaging in the information and grappling with the content.

    On the other hand, the point you are making here is very powerful about those who think 21st century learning is about the shiny object; instead of connecting (with others and information), collaborating (with others about information), creating (new information or a new perspective/spin on old information), critically thinking (about information), curating (the information), and communicating (about the information).

    Thank you for your post.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

  2. Hi Paige! So glad I stumbled on to your blog. Sharing this post with admin to validate the need for librarians and tech integrators to work together.

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    1. Well thanks, Calvin for your encouraging words!

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