Integrating unfamiliar technology in the classroom often requires ample technological resources and professional development. However, these resources are often not available. This case study of qualitative data combined with pretest or posttest student data illustrates how one pair of coteachers autonomously planned for and implemented a digital tool for persuasive writing into their fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms without external supports. Findings revealed the decisions teachers made to integrate the tool into their social studies curriculum and what influenced those decisions, implementation, and student outcomes. Within the context of this case study, the authors provide suggestions for teachers to improve student learning when integrating technology in the classroom. Future research is also discussed.
In this qualitative study, the authors analyzed the participation of preservice teachers in a discipline specific Twitter chat known as #sschat. Findings indicated that preservice teachers found value in the chat when they shared resources with practicing teachers, had resources shared with them, and built professional networks. However, there were instances when the preservice teachers felt like they contributed little to the chat because they did not have extensive teaching experience. Additionally, the preservice teachers expressed dissatisfaction with using Twitter as a platform for educational related chats. The authors concluded that the utility of such chats outweighs the negatives and provide guidelines that teacher educators should consider before asking their preservice teachers to participate in such spaces.
This study sought to develop an understanding of current practices by professionals in the field to best prepare future social studies educators in the usage of technology. A quantitative investigation examined the usage and perceptions of educational technology by 398 grades 6–12 social studies teachers from across a Mid-Atlantic state. A researcher-designed survey instrument explored teacher adoption of technology, sources of acquired skills, usage frequencies, perceived effectiveness, and barriers to integration. The study revealed personal trial and error as the most likely way to acquire new knowledge. Document creation applications such as Google Docs were the most commonly used Internet-based technology and were perceived as most effective. By better understanding educators’ use of technology in the field, teacher preparation programs may design more effective curricula. It is recommended that future research be conducted on a multistate basis to investigate technology integration in social studies classrooms at each grade level to best prepare future teachers for when they have a classroom of their own.
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.