Many (most?) of us in the country are preparing for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Students will all utilize technology to take the SBAC. We are submitting data about our readiness in terms of the technology twice a year in preparation for implementing the actual assessment in the 2014-2015 school year.
At a recent in-service in our supervisory union devoted to work on the Common Core, one sample task from the SBAC was shared with educators. In that task, students need to click on a link that takes them to a video. Once there, they should watch the video, pausing it when necessary to navigate back to the assessment to respond in their own words to various questions. They would then continue as often as needed to go back and forth between the open-ended questions and the video.
To me, the embedded basic technology skills include navigating between windows and tabs, starting, stopping, and pausing video, and typing their responses directly on the computer without drafting on paper first. That means a comfort level with keyboarding or at least knowing where the letters are on the keyboard, so that the response they’re typing is not stymied by the act of typing.
Teachers who saw this example task worried about our youngest students (3rd/4th graders) being comfortable enough with the technology so that it didn’t impede their completion of the assessment task. What do we need to do to help prepare them and when do we start? In kindergarten?
I ask, how do we help all of our students gain comfort with these basic technology skills, in addition to those I don’t know about yet, in an authentic manner? We don’t want to have students practice these skills in isolation, just to prepare them for the assessment. That feels like teaching to the test.
Image credit, Creative Commons/flickr http://flic.kr/p/41xp8a by cc511