How to Prepare Your Students for College

Jen Boyle from the BEC PD Department

A New World of Technology—in Classrooms, Around the Globe

The clock is ticking.


Everyone, from Kindergarten teachers to high school teachers, hears it­—loud and clear. In this era of markedly different standards, shifts in core content, and high stakes tests, the bar for our students and for us as educators is significantly higher. The goal: ensuring students are college ready, career ready, AND new world ready.


So, how do we best prepare our students for college?


Our students have grown up in a brave, new, digital world—so we look first to technology as a key part of the answer.


Why Use Technology in the Classroom?

Harnessing the power of technology by truly integrating it into our curriculum enhances instruction, enriches guided practice, and ignites independent practice. With digital gradual release, students practice and apply skills necessary for literacy in a 2.0 world.


Technology holds huge promise, but has it delivered?


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gets it entirely right, going directly to teachers to define the promise of technology. Check out Teachers Know Best for more information.


How Do We Use Technology in the Classroom to Maximize Learning?

Buried under an avalanche of edtech resources, where do we start with tech-integrated instructional planning?


Dr. Matthew Koehler and Punya Mishra, researchers at Michigan State University, developed TPACK: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. TPACK is a framework for technology integration to guide planning and implementing best practices while meeting standards. Want more information? Check out this aptly titled video: TPACK in 2 Minutes.


Consider the crossroads of technology: we must intentionally partner devices, hardware, and software with content (the “what”) and pedagogy (the “how”) of education.


From there, all we need to do is find a useful technology product—or products—that purposefully use this approach to assist educators with literacy instruction. THIS is the promised land of college-readiness for all students.

To get started, we’ve outlined some resources below.


Useful Resources to Integrate Technology Into Your Curriculum

For literacy, Benchmark Universe delivers this tech partnership, engineered with pre-curated content, including highly customizable ePosters and eBooks to greatly increase student engagement and motivation.


How will this next generation learn? Sal Khan, among the earliest edtech innovators, figured out a powerful piece of the answer, focused on the powerful potential for disseminating information via video. For more information, I recommend The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined.


Continuing this same theme, addressing the needs of this generation, Benchmark Universe makes it easy and efficient for users to embed YouTube videos (and other multimedia!). This means targeted background building like never before, conducting research, webquests or other lesson extensions— right at the point of use for you, instructionally, or at the point of need for your students.


ePosters provide short, sharply written mentor texts designed specifically for your think-alouds to model navigating grade-level complex text. They are built to mentor students through strategic thinking at two levels: metacognitive and text-dependent. With this content knowledge base and strategy focus, your students are ready to move into precisely leveled texts for guided and independent practice.


Wouldn’t it make sense to provide filters with leveling systems, by letter and number level or Lexile AND be able to match students with the exact practice they need by filtering for text-dependent comprehension strategies? Yes! Benchmark Education thought so, too. So, these exact filters make it efficient to locate and assign eBooks in a pedagogy-aligned website.


Want to know how your students are actually processing texts—the holy grail of embedded formative assessment? Benchmark Universe allows you to do exactly that, bringing close reading to life with eBooks designed so students can take close reading notes on each page, even pages we add, so they can extend to webquests, virtual fieldtrips via hyperlinks, and much more.


Technology offers a universe of unlimited possibilities. But this promise is best delivered when content and pedagogy drive technology integration to prepare our students for college, and to the new world of technology beyond!

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