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App Helps California Teachers Stay Current With Standards

Smartphone users can keep up-to-date with core math and language standards in California schools.

A new Web application is giving teachers and parents easier access to the math and language standards used in California K-12 schools.

Called the California Common Core State Standards Web app (eStandards), the program allows smartphone users to quickly find and view the state overviews of what students should learn at each grade level. Developed by the Sacramento County Office of Education, officials hope the app will assist teachers in applying the standards to their lesson plans.
Sue Stickel, Sacramento County deputy superintendent of schools, said most people do their research on handheld devices, so it only made sense to put the California Common Core Standards online in a way that was convenient for everyone.

“If I’m working with a group of teachers and it’s ponderous for them to do the search work, the next steps of planning probably don’t get done as well, because I’ve had to expend a lot of time just doing the search,” Stickel said. “This way that gets done at a glance and it allows you the additional time to do thoughtful planning with your colleagues or on your own.”

Released on Jan. 13, the eStandards app features four categories:

•    English Language Arts;
•    Mathematics K-7;
•    Mathematics 8; and
•    Mathematics 9-12.

Users choose a category, type in keywords and search for the subject-matter standards they want to know more about. The program can also be a helpful resource for parents who wish to better understand how the state outlines what material their children should be learning.

Alyson Willey, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, who is currently student teaching, said she heard about the app in one of her classes and has already put a shortcut to it on the home screen on her iPhone.

She explained that there have been some significant changes to the standards recently, so having a quick way to look them up would come in handy.

“It could be a useful tool to be able to check-in on the standards,” Willey said. “Especially when I’m out and about at a coffee shop doing a lesson plan.”

EStandards is free and currently only available on the Web. But an enhanced version of the program is being developed and optimized for iOS and Android devices and will be available later this year.

Stickel said that features planned for the stand-alone smartphone app will include the ability to email a colleague, retention of search history, a way to bookmark standards and a sharing function so information can be sent to others.

“I was just in a room of educators today and I have to say probably two-thirds of them were using tablets,” Stickel added. “This is what they use now. This is what the convenience is.”