Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. This unprecedented movement, which ensures students are educated consistently across zip codes, realigns K-12 curriculum to better prepare our students for life after high school. While some educators may see this as a passing fad, many others see the great potential of the standards, which requires us to raise the rigor of our instruction.
One of the keys for successful implementation is collaboration. While the organization of the standards does encourage collaboration within and across grade levels, they also foster collaboration across schools, districts, and even states. Educators are encouraged to share ideas, materials, resources, assessments, and more as states all move toward implementation. While collaborating within a school or even district may be a normal practice, collaborating across schools, districts, regions, and states is uncharted territory.
As more schools and districts move toward implementation, online learning communities may be the best platform to host conversations among educators. The following, as compiled by Education Week, are a few good starting points for districts as they develop such learning communities:
- Blogs: As educators implement the Common Core, there are bound to be questions that arise. Through blogging, teachers can share successes, failures, suggestions, experiences, frustrations, and then some. Blogs are a great place for teachers to share experiences and, thus, begin those collegial conversations.
- Wikis: Wikis are websites that provide an online workspace for users. Within a Wiki, users can share documents, and other users can simultaneously work on those shared documents. As schools and district begin to develop curricular materials, Wikis may be a good space for collaboration on those materials to occur, even when physically collaborating is difficult.
- Social Media: Educators can go to places such as Twitter and Facebook to get the most recent news and research on the Common Core. Teachers can follow other teachers, organizations, online journals, etc. of interest, and when noteworthy information is shared, it can be retweeted or shared on Facebook for others to see.
- Google Docs: Similar to Wikis, Google Docs are places to virtually work on shared documents. The main difference between Google Docs and Wikis is that the collaboration that occurs in Google Docs can be managed more privately.
Successful implementation of the Common Core relies heavily on collaboration. Through online learning communities, teachers may be able to maximize the power of collaboration by spanning the country.