The researchers used activity theory to examine how teachers planned and implemented inquiries in social studies classrooms given the recent publication of the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. This phenomenology used semistructured interviews, relevant documents, and observations as data for the research questions (a) “How do participants design inquiry modules?” and (b) “How do participants teach these inquiries in K–12 classrooms?” Results indicated that designing and implementing social studies inquiries were challenging and worthwhile for the teachers; participants found accessing and using various sources to be a fruitful yet challenging inquiry tool, and appreciated the use of a template to aid in their design process, even while it perhaps limited taking informed action. Participants noted that support was necessary for their successful use of inquiry. This study provides insight into how social studies teachers bring inquiry into their social studies classrooms and points to ways in which teachers can be better supported in this endeavor.
This exploratory study examined the use of 3D technology by teachers and students in four middle school history/social studies classrooms. As part of a university-developed 3D Printing 4 Teaching & Learning project, teachers integrated 3D modeling and printing into curriculum topics in world geography, U.S. history, and government/civics. Multiple sets of data were collected documenting classroom implementation of 3D technology. Seven key insights emerged: Teachers and students initially found it challenging to imagine ways to use 3D printed physical objects to represent social science concepts; students found 3D printing projects were a positive, self-fulfilling way to show their ideas about history topics; teachers and students found the 3D modeling program difficult to use; 3D modeling and printing altered the teacher-as-expert/student-as-novice relationship; 3D modeling and printing changed how teaching and learning happened in history/social studies classrooms; partnering with content and technical experts was an important element of success; and some teachers shifted their thinking about the value of using 3D printing in history/social studies classes. These insights can help facilitate the integration of 3D technologies in history/social studies classrooms.
Windows into Teaching and Learning (WiTL), developed to provide relevant and meaningful technology-mediated clinical experiences in an online social studies methods course, engaged participants in purposefully designed synchronous and asynchronous field experiences to address a lack of summer clinical teaching opportunities. Following a discussion of the challenges of providing clinical experiences, the authors describe the outcomes of a study involving remote partnerships in learning between candidates enrolled in a distance education social studies methods course and mentor teachers employed in middle and secondary schools. Findings illustrated that WiTL exceeded expectations by opening unanticipated opportunities into the profession of teaching, both for candidates and teacher mentors who participated in the study. Participants provided rich descriptions of these experiences, as well as the potential within WiTL, as it progressed beyond being a substitute to a means of transforming observations in both distance education and teacher preparation programs in a traditional university setting.
This study examined the effect of a minimal Web-based GIS experience within a semester-long methods course on enhancing preservice teachers’ dispositions regarding the use of geospatial technologies for teaching. Fourteen preservice teachers enrolled in a senior-level methods course offered in geography and focused exclusively on how to teach geography in K-12 classrooms participated in the study. The findings of the study indicate that Web-based GIS activities had a positive impact on participants’ beliefs, attitudes, and confidence in GST implementation and teaching spatial thinking in their future classrooms.