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Educators learn digital strategies for implementing Common Core


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Photo by Alexis A. Goring. Pictured third from left, Renee Henderson, instructional technology specialist for Prince George’s County Public Schools, learns strategies for implementing Common Core State Standards to better engage her students on July 29 at Discovery Education’s Common Core Conference.

Photo by Alexis A. Goring. Pictured third from left, Renee Henderson, instructional technology specialist for Prince George’s County Public Schools, learns strategies for implementing Common Core State Standards to better engage her students on July 29 at Discovery Education’s Common Core Conference.

Published on: Wednesday, August 07, 2013

By Alexis A. Goring

Prince George’s County educators gained hands-on experience using digital media and educational technologies to improve classroom instruction and student achievement last week.

The teachers participated in an interactive Common Core Conference on July 29 and July 30 in Silver Spring. The Discovery Education conference provided teachers with instructional strategies they can immediately implement to integrate the Common Core State Standards Initiative into their classrooms.

“The moment that I heard about this conference, the fact that Discovery Education was hosting a conference for educators really thinking about how to utilize and make their resources active and classroom-ready, I wanted to book my ticket right away,” said Maggie Beattie Roberts, a staff developer and literacy consultant with The Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. “It feels like a really important conference that takes the resources curated by Discovery and really helps put them in the hands of teachers and practitioners in active ways.”

During the workshop, teachers learned how to use digital media in their lessons and Web 2.0 tools and applications.

“I think one of the most exciting aspects of the Common Core is the push to have kids be in charge of their own learning,” Roberts said. “It feels like it concentrates on giving kids skills to really be in charge of their own learning, whether they’re creating their own writing compositions or discussing literature with their classmates.”

Educators started implementing the Common Core State Standards Initiative into their curriculum and instruction.

“The Common Core State Standards are designed to provide teachers, administrators, students, parents and other stakeholders a consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn for college and career readiness,” states the Common Core State Standards Initiative website.

Changing the way instruction is given in the classroom will not be easy, said Karen Beerer, vice president of professional development for Discovery Education.

“Change and revisions — whatever word you want to use — is always difficult. But, whether it’s Common Core or not Common Core, our students today are growing up in a very different world, and it’s a changing and unpredictable world,” Beerer said. “So, I think this umbrella of college and career readiness is a good thought for us to have, and, really, that’s what the Common Core is about. So, when we think about what that means and what that looks like for students, those are the changes that we all need to make across the nation.”

A number of educators from Prince George’s County Public Schools attended the conference.

Renee Henderson, an instructional technology specialist for PGCPS, said she embraces the change that comes with Common Core.

“I’m excited about Common Core. I think it’s going to be excellent, especially for me,” she said. “I see it as a way for teachers to see that technology is not an add-on, that it is a part of everything that should be included in their curriculum because Common Core provides opportunities and a place for students to use technology to show what they know.”

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