What does it mean if my kid's school is using "Common Core-aligned" technology?

In the world of educational technology products (learning apps and games, websites, online curricula, e-textbooks), being aligned with Common Core is a big selling point. The Common Core State Standards are a set of learning guidelines for what kids should know and be able to do in math and English language arts at each grade level. In the U.S., 43 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the DoDEA have adopted and currently are implementing the Common Core State Standards.

If your state has signed on to the Common Core and your kid's school is integrating technology, then it's not surprising that the tech they choose is labeled as "Common Core-aligned." "Alignment" simply means that the learning goals in the technology reflect the goals in the standards. For example, a tablet app that has young kids count objects and write answers using the numbers one through 20 is aligned to one of the kindergarten standards for counting.

However, it's important to note that just because a company claims its product is aligned with Common Core, it doesn't mean it actually is or that it's the best tool for the job. Typically, schools and districts with technology programs have technology directors or instructional technologists on staff who evaluate products and help teachers choose which tech tools are best for the classroom. Common Sense offers a resource called Graphite that can help teachers find great Common Core-aligned tools.

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Parent written by Shannon P.

I'd like a thoughtful and informed answer to this question: what about assessing a technology based educational tool against a non-technology educational tool? It seems obvious to me from other studies that in many cases a non-technology related tool would be better (based on language learning studies on screen and in person, and others), but most of these articles completely ignore this, as though, perhaps, they are funded by technology companies. I'd like very much to see a thoughtful study looking at when to use technology and when not to, by age/grade and subject.