Blended learning has grown rapidly in K-12 schools and is commonly seen as a potential vehicle to make learning more student centered by providing students with some level of control over their learning pace and path. As a result, blended learning is most likely to have a transformative effect when it is paired with constructivist learning strategies, such as guided inquiry, that emphasize student choice. In the research described in this paper, the authors examined one school district’s year-long professional development efforts to prepare social studies teachers and school librarians to design and facilitate blended learning units. They conducted 11 interviews with six participants and two focus groups with seven participants. Based on their analysis of the interview and focus group transcripts, they found that the professional development was effective at improving participants’ blended teaching knowledge, skills, and perceptions. Participants valued the facilitators’ feedback and modeling. They also found their interactions and collaborations with other participants to be valuable when attempting to apply their learning to their classrooms. Actually facilitating units with their own students resulted in the largest impact on their perceptions of blended learning.
This study employs Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980, 1999) conception of metaphor as rooted in embodied experiences to investigate educational technology discourse in the social studies. The last 3 years of scholarship in the social studies section of the journal Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education is examined for the presence of metaphors used by authors to justify or support their arguments. Five prominent categories of metaphor were identified within the discourse: Manual labor metaphors, construction/building metaphors, mechanistic metaphors, technology as biological life/agent metaphors, and journey metaphors. While it is necessary to use metaphors to understand new phenomena such as digital technologies, results suggest that some of the specific metaphors that were commonly employed may impede a more thoughtful approach to conceptualizing and implementing new technologies. Results also indicate that a deep metaphor of technology as the agent or driver of social progress may underpin a substantial portion of recent scholarship.
Teacher activism is increasingly occurring in online spaces, but the implications for educators are unclear. The authors use the recent Oklahoma Teachers Walkout and the active #OklaEd network to offer an illustrative example of the power and fragility of socially networked teacher movements. They offer eight lessons educators may take from the #OklaEd network and the walkout.
This qualitative case study addresses the need for pedagogical approaches to working with open educational resources (OER). Drawing on a mix of historical thinking heuristics and case analysis approaches, a blended pedagogical strategy and primary source database were designed to build student understanding of historical records with transfer of knowledge to related, contemporary problems. Thirty-seven graduate students tested the five-step strategy as they worked with historical OER on the topic of public health among slaves on 19th-century American plantations. Findings demonstrate the pedagogical strategy supported pattern identification and model building among all students and, for most students, the ability to transfer and use their understanding to inform new problems. Students expanded their understanding of 19th-century plantation life and factors impacting public health. Recommended adjustments to the strategy include added support for content curation, collaborative argument building, and discussion.