- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Proposed revisions in state language arts standards would require deeper thinking from Nebraska students and would reflect the impact of digital technology and social media, a state Education Department official says.

Tricia Parker-Siemers, the department’s language arts director, said the revisions would require students “to do deeper thinking and to explore that thinking either verbally or in writing and to support their thinking with research and facts.”

The revisions would update the 2009 standards for kindergarten through 12th grade, spelling out what skills students must master in reading, writing, listening and speaking, the Lincoln Journal Star said (http://bit.ly/1mXu4t9 ). The Nebraska State Board of Education on Tuesday approved releasing the proposals for public feedback.

The proposed revisions encourage teachers to focus on in-depth work.

“Sitting and writing for 45 minutes is tough,” Parker-Siemers said. “It’s about teaching (students) stamina, teaching them to stop and reflect and go through the processes we go through.”

Many of the revisions and additions came at the advice of higher education officials who reviewed the 2009 standards and suggested changes that would help ensure students were “college or career ready.”

That would mean students wouldn’t need remedial courses in college, said Donlynn Rice, the Education Department’s administrator of curriculum and instruction.

“With the cost of higher education, it’s kind of travesty that kids have to take one to two courses before they even count,” Rice said.

Another focus of the updates is strengthening standards on the use of digital technology and social media. Officials want to ensure digital learning is an integral part of language arts and not a separate subject.

“We want them to start seeing it as a tool and not as an event,” Parker-Siemers said.

The revisions address “digital citizenship,” requiring students to use technology safely and responsibly. They address plagiarism, the proper citation of sources and identification of credible online sources.

“We want students to understand intellectual property is intellectual property,” Parker-Siemers said. It’s OK to use a variety of sources, she said, but they need to be properly credited.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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