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.
Using the of Humans of New York photoblog concept, the exemplar lesson plan described in this article incorporated technology and the replacement, amplification, and transformation framework to modify a traditional social studies lesson on the American Civil War into an engaging and inquiry-based lesson. Students researched individuals who lived during the American Civil War and created their own digital storyboard of Humans of the Civil War. This lesson idea uses available technology to engage students in more meaningful instruction that goes beyond lectures. Doing so allows teachers to transform their lessons using technology in authentic ways that help students become more active agents in their learning. This lesson requires students to make strategic decisions about what is important to know about historical figures and how best to tell their story while also learning about the war.
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.
This paper presents web research strategies for teachers and students to use in building Dramatic Event, Historical Biography, and Influential Literature wiki pages for history/social studies learning. Dramatic Events refer to milestone or turning point moments in history. Historical Biographies and Influential Literature pages feature historically prominent people, both real and fictional. As teachers and students research these topics, they practice accessing and assessing online information while expanding web research and digital literacy skills. They discover how the interactive capacities of wiki technology present people, events and literature in multimodal ways that engage students in deepening history learning. The paper includes sample event, biography, and literature pages hyperlinked to Resources for History Teachers, an award-winning open educational content wiki maintained by the History Teacher Education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. These model wiki pages incorporate primary and secondary materials, multimedia resources, and multicultural topics for teaching and learning. Students and teachers can use these model pages to construct their own wiki pages tailored to local and state history/social studies curriculum.
The microblogging service Twitter offers a platform that social studies educators increasingly use for professional development, communication, and class activities, but to what ends? The authors drew on Deweyan conceptions of participatory learning and citizenship aims of the field as lenses through which to consider social media activities. To determine how and why social studies educators use Twitter, 303 K-16 self-identified social studies educators were surveyed in this study. Results from respondents suggested that they valued the professional development experiences afforded by the platform, but were less likely to utilize Twitter for communication or class activities. Themes and examples that point to ways social studies educators use Twitter are described to provide insights for educators aiming to use social media professionally. Questions are also raised concerning whether social studies educators have missed opportunities to use social media to connect across racial and cultural boundaries and for civic purposes.
Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are increasingly prevalent in U.S. classrooms. Yet, little is known about how this tool is being used to teach social studies. This case study through classroom observations, interviews, and student focus groups examines how two fifth-grade teachers use t he IWB to teach U.S. history. The data indicate that when the teachers were observed utilizing an IWB in their social studies instruction, they shifted away from the student-centered instructional practices observed when they did not use the device. Their IWB-centered instruction was teacher centered, utilizing the device predominantly for projection. This trend is likely due to a lack of confidence in how to integrate the IWB technology with social studies pedagogy, as well as a perceived lack of ready-made social studies materials for the IWB. Hammond and Manfra’s (2009) giving-prompting-making model of technology-based social studies pedagogy was used to frame the teachers’ instructional practice.
This article advances a continuing line of inquiry into the potential of digital educative curriculum materials to support teachers’ development of professional teaching knowledge. Instead of standalone levers of change, the educative curricula in this study were featured resources within a novel professional development approach. The qualitative, design-based research experiment asked, “Can sustained, collaborative professional development experiences with digital educative curriculum materials help in-service social studies teachers develop professional teaching knowledge?” Following a 13-month study, none of the six participants fully adopted the promoted wise practice pedagogy, problem-based historical inquiry. However, findings suggested that sustained, collaborative experiences with digital educative curricula helped teachers in this study begin to articulate and demonstrate tenets of problem-based historical inquiry (e.g., purposeful student-inquiry grounded in recurring societal concerns, structuring classroom events to promote historical thinking). The authors proposed three features to strengthen future teacher-support efforts: dynamic experiences modeling wise practices, digital curriculum designed for collaboration, and expert mentors to help facilitate learning.
In this article, the authors describe a case study approach used to examine the complexities and contradictions of ways teachers perceive and implement technology in a seventh-grade social studies class. The participants in this qualitative research study were a 13-year veteran social studies teacher and the student intern who worked with this teacher during a year-long professional development school experience in a culturally and economically diverse middle grades school. Using interviews and classroom observations, the authors portrayed the beliefs and practices of the two participants in relation to their views of technology and its uses in the classroom. The findings support and deepen current literature and suggest that, although teachers believe that technology can be used to help engage students in thinking critically to promote self-regulated learning and improve literacy skills, such beliefs do not always come to fruition in actual classroom practice.
This essay is a response to both the “Guidelines for Using Technology to Prepare Social Studies Teachers” published in this journal by Hicks, Lee, Berson, Bolick, and Diem (2014) and the rejoinder by Crocco and Leo (2015). The author agrees with Crocco and Leo’s assessment that removing the principal regarding science, technology, and society is concerning, though for different reasons. The technology guidelines should include an examination of the nonneutrality of technology, including the psychological and social effects of technology, as part of this principle. This approach could foster more competent decisions regarding the implementation of digital tools in the social studies curriculum.
In Hicks, Lee, Berson, Bolick, and Diem (2014), the authors revisited and revised a series of principles focusing on the preparation of social studies teachers for using digital technologies in the classroom, originally presented in the inaugural issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (Mason et al., 2000). This commentary aims to extend dialog associated with the updated guidelines, through an enhanced discussion of each of the four revisioned principles within the context of time, technology, and teacher education. The authors’ efforts to more effectively guide the preparation of social studies educators in the utilization of technological applications in more useful, efficient, and appropriate ways is readily apparent and appreciated.
The inaugural issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education provided a series of guidelines for using digital technology to prepare teachers in the fields of social studies, math, English and science. In this paper, the authors reflect upon, revisit, and rethink the original guidelines for using digital technologies to prepare social studies teachers in an effort to facilitate theoretical and practical discussions that may, once again, serve as a foundation from which to approach the preparation and development of social studies teachers over the next few years.
Martorella’s “sleeping giant” is awakening via geospatial tools. As this technology is adopted, it will transform the history curriculum in three ways: deepening curricular content, making conceptual frameworks more prominent, and increasing connections to local history. These changes may not be profound and they may not be sudden, but they will come as geospatial technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous and easy to use. Each of these three predicted transformations is described and illustrated, and implications for teacher education programs are addressed.
This exploratory study looks at how a sample of preservice teachers and historians read visuals in the context of school history. The participants used eye tracking technology and think-aloud protocol, as they examined a series of online primary source photographs from a virtual exhibit. Voluntary participants (6 students and 2 professional historians) were recruited at a bilingual Ontario University in fall 2011. From this group, the authors used a purposive sampling of three participants who represented the novice-intermediate-expert spectrum and whose results displayed typicality among other participants with similar educational backgrounds.
In order to revisit Martorella’s metaphor of technology as a sleeping giant this paper analyzes data collected over multiple years in order to provide a portrait of how preservice teachers make sense of and choose (if at all) to integrate digital technologies within their internship classrooms. Findings indicate that in the Commonwealth of Virginia, within our data set, the sleeping giant is awake (technology is being used), but in the hands of our preservice teachers it is a myopic traditionalist who is the “servant” to the “master” of standards-based assessment.
The year 2012 marked the 15th anniversary of Peter Martorella’s (1997) short but influential article, “Technology and the Social Studies—or: Which Way to the Sleeping Giant?” The College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies marked its anniversary with a symposium reflecting on the article and its aftermath. In 2014, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Social Studies Teacher Education will publish articles by social studies researchers who describe the evolution of technology integration in the field of the social studies and future research in this area.
In his 1997 article “Technology and the Social Studies – or: Which Way to the Sleeping Giant?” Peter Martorella made several predictions regarding technology resources in the social studies. Through a 2014 lens, Martorella’s Internet seems archaic, yet two of his predictions were particularly poignant and have had a significant impact on social studies instruction: the phenomenon of “computer as data gatherer” (p. 513) and a “new generation” of the Internet that would become more interactive (p. 512). This paper highlights the literature in these two areas, beginning with a focus on the vantage point from which Martorella was writing. The paper also describes the learning potential inherent in more recent technological developments, particularly mobile technology devices, and the degree to which they are currently being used in K-12 social studies.
More than 15 years ago, Martorella (1997) asked what has now become a seminal question in the field of social studies and technology; that is, “Which way to the sleeping giant?” (p. 511). He suggested a number of roles that technology can play in the social studies classroom. Although these roles are certainly relevant in 2014, the roles of computer (as well as other digital technology tools and resources) as a means to deeper engagement with content and as a means for students to share their understanding in rich, divergent ways have emerged as two of the more robust opportunities for technology in the social studies. In these 17 years researchers have begun to explore ways in which technology can support disciplined inquiry in the social studies—particularly in terms of engaging students in historical thinking and providing students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of social studies skills and concepts through the creation of content. In this piece we trace efforts to engage students in these two learning opportunities for technology in the social studies.
The emphasis on technology in preservice teacher education has become more important with the introduction of new standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (2013). Despite continual efforts by teacher education programs, many social studies classroom teachers still do not effectively integrate technology into their instruction. This article considers the nature of teachers’ resistance to such integration, as well as the state of technology in classrooms today, in light of the new national standards. Additionally, this article addresses how teacher education programs may more effectively prepare preservice social studies teachers to use technology in the classroom by examining one university program.
This paper reports on a design experiment of web-based curriculum materials explicitly created to help social studies teachers develop their professional teaching knowledge. Web-based social studies curriculum reform efforts, human-centered interface design, and investigations into educative curriculum materials are reviewed, as well as examples of previous efforts to develop educatively scaffolded teaching resources. Three teachers piloted the materials created by the authors, and their experiences are described. The authors then make recommendations for the design of future educative curricula.
This mixed method study examined teachers’ ratings of 37 field-tested social studies lesson plans that incorporated digital primary sources through a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program for K-12 teachers. Each lesson, available in an online teaching materials collection, was field-tested and reviewed by at least three teachers other than the lesson’s author. The analysis illustrates that the majority of lessons (70%) utilized PowerPoint to show primary sources and pose questions to students about the primary sources examined. Qualitative analysis identified key factors that impacted lesson implementation and teachers’ analysis of student learning. This study raises several implications regarding the design and purpose of lesson plans available online for integrating digital primary sources into P-12 teaching, as well as the design and content of professional development whose purpose is to prepare teachers to integrate digital primary sources in their teaching.
This qualitative case study explored the collaboration between students in two social studies methods courses at different universities. The authors used technology to connect preservice teachers from teacher education programs that differ in terms of geography, size, and type of university. Using archived data from the courses, the authors found that the intercollegiate collaboration enhanced the students’ methods experience by expanding learning opportunities through communities of social studies practice. Specifically, students had overall positive perceptions of the value of the collaboration, learned new teaching strategies and educational technologies, and also learned from multiple social studies methods instructors. The implications of these findings for social studies methods instructors and students, particularly at small colleges/universities are discussed. The paper includes identification of obstacles to implementation and recommended future lines of research in using technology for intercollegiate collaboration in social studies teacher education.
The purpose of this study was to examine a group of fifth graders experiences, beliefs, and opinions during the construction of digital historical agent profiles. This research study examined a project in which students were engaged in the learning of historical content and were asked to convey information about the life of someone from the past through the medium of the present and future using a social networking profile page. The profiles were constructed while examining American Revolutionary period content, which included a primary focus upon historical agents from this time period. This study was constructed to gain a better understanding of how students engage critical historical thinking skills through investigating and developing conclusions about the history and lives of historical agents while utilizing technology. It was found that authentic historical inquiry was achieved, historical thinking primarily occurred at a novice level, and students engaged with the technology and found the creation of a digital historical profile to be a more interesting way to convey their knowledge of the content.
New social technologies offer new opportunities for creating online communities of praxis in the preparation of preservice teachers. In this design research study, 22 preservice teachers in a social studies methods class conducted online class discussions inside the National Council of the Social Studies Network Ning, a social network for social studies educators. These preservice teachers engaged in series of reflective dialogues blending theory and practice—the hallmark of praxis—with their classmates, with other preservice teachers from around the country, and with practicing social studies educators from around the world. They also expressed a strong intent to engage in professional learning networks and communities of praxis in the future, although the Ning was ancillary to these intentions. These findings both hold promise and offer crucial guidance for other teacher educators. When implemented with attention and intention, online social networks provide promising opportunities for students in teacher education programs to engage in networked communities of praxis that can provide opportunities for colearning throughout a teacher’s career.
This mixed methods, multiple-case study explored middle school social studies teachers’ instructional use of digital technology at three suburban middle schools in a large Florida school district. Findings from this study indicate that the participant teachers viewed technology integration as being beneficial for their students’ future success; however, their practice did not reflect this professed importance. The participant teachers largely used available classroom technology for teacher-centered activities, including information gathering and presentation. Few teachers in this study utilized available technology for student-centered instructional pedagogy. Findings from this study suggest that a single-cause explanation for why teachers do or do not integrate technology into their teaching is insufficient. There appear to be multiple factors influencing the teachers’ practices, including access to and functionality of technology, teacher attitude toward and comfort with technology, and teaching philosophy and pedagogical practice.
In this qualitative case study the authors explored secondary social studies preservice teachers’ abilities to discern the digitized primary resources available to them for historical thinking instruction. The emerging analysis highlights the development of these young teachers’ knowledge and understandings of digitized resources as they relate to historical thinking via a pragmatic meter and their pedagogical content knowledge. Using the teacher cognition scholarship of Shulman (2004), the study suggests that the preservice teachers’ enumerated knowledge sources are vital in tracing teachers’ decisions.
Video games are increasingly popular with youth though scarcely evident in schools. Serious video games, or those that simulate the real world, motivate players, require decision-making, and encourage student learning about an issue, have the potential to educate students about global issues. Global education, given its heritage as an experiential, contemporary, and issues-centered education, would seem to be an ideal point of entry for such serious video games since their educational aims are one and the same. This study examines teacher reflective experiences with serious video games that have a global orientation. Findings are clustered around data categories, including skepticism about pedagogical value of video games, openness to global learning available through this medium, and tensions between representational complexity and realism. This study contributes to what is known about teacher thinking in relation to the pedagogical use of video games, particularly those focused on global content, and includes implications for teaching and research.
Due to the paucity of software in subjects such as history, it can be difficult for teacher educators in countries with small education markets to provide a vision to trainee teachers as to how they might integrate information and communication technology (ICT) into their teaching. This article discusses how this problem has been surmounted through the development, production, and evaluation of a series of multimedia CD ROMs on themes within Scottish history, which through their use in schools provide trainee teachers with exemplars of how ICT can enhance teaching and learning. These multimedia CD ROMs employ a wide range of primary historical sources now central to the teaching of history. The location, selection, collation, and management of primary sources place added expectations on teachers and trainee teachers. Multimedia can help in the management and organization of primary sources, but to be truly interactive, trainee teachers must see new technology as more than an information repository. Multimedia nurtures knowledge and skills when it is used to allow students to examine the past through a combination of primary sources and learning tasks embracing authentic learning. The article discusses these themes in the context of schools in Scotland, but the underlying principles and conclusions have a wider application.
This article focuses on the use of digital primary sources to teach historical perspective to preservice teachers. Discussed here are the experiences of 90 elementary education majors during their inquiry-based elementary social studies methods course. A variety of digital primary sources were used to teach historical perspective and to model teaching strategies for use in elementary classrooms. The preservice teachers indicated that their experiences were positive, that digital sources had great potential for elementary classroom use in providing students with multiple perspectives, and that they gave the teacher an opportunity to make history real, challenge assumptions, and foster inquiry, as well as help the students to understand the content more clearly.
In this study, the authors examined the intersections between technology, pedagogy, and content through two social studies teachers’ development from preservice to in-service teaching. Qualitative data were collected during their teacher education programs, student teaching experiences, and 5 years into their in-service teaching. Teacher narratives illustrate the connections between technology, pedagogy, and content in these teachers’ social studies classrooms. The researchers note the complexity of technology integration and recommend that teacher educators support and promote opportunities for continuing education and professional development in teachers’ growth of technological pedagogical content knowledge.
In the current state of social studies education, field trips are being cut from many schools’ curriculum. While not a true substitution, today’s technologies provide some opportunities through virtual field trips (VFTs) to simulate these experiences, engage students in knowledge production and disciplined inquiry, and have interactions with the dedicated staff members from these historic sites. Many of the current VFTs, however, fall short of this goal and instead serve as an updated form of a content delivery model, with little interaction or student engagement in historical issues. This article describes research on field trips, hybrid distance learning models, and virtual field trips in the social studies and other areas, as well as a critical case study of one of the most prominent and long lasting virtual field trips, Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip program. A model for future social studies VFTs and ways to integrate these VFTs into authentic social studies instruction are developed. The case study revealed a number of key issues that arise in the development and execution of VFT programs, and the ensuing VFT model should be helpful for teachers and VFT developers.
GeoThentic, an online teaching and learning environment, focuses on engaging teachers and learners in solving real-world geography problems through use of geospatial technologies. The design of GeoThentic is grounded on the technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) framework as a metacognitive tool. This paper describes how the TPACK framework has informed the authors’ design endeavors and how a set of assessment models within GeoThentic can be used to assess teachers’ TPACK.
Technological pedagogical content knowledge (now known as technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge, or TPACK) has become a widely referenced conceptual framework within teacher education. It provides a common language to discuss the integration of technology into instruction (Koehler & Mishra, 2008) and builds upon the concepts of pedagogical content knowledge (Shulman, 1987) and teacher as curricular “gatekeeper” (Thornton, 2001a, 2001b). This paper describes a three-part pedagogical model—giving-prompting-making—to explicate the relationship between pedagogy and technology within the social studies classroom. This model is intended to enhance the TPACK framework by providing a clear and intuitive comparison between social studies teachers’ pedagogical aims and their choices with technology. The giving-prompting-making model can be used to guide social studies teacher education students to make the most appropriate use of technology.
This paper describes strategies used by the authors to assist preservice social studies teachers with understanding and applying models and practices for effectively integrating technology into their future classrooms—thus, strengthening the link between technology and pedagogy (or technological pedagogical content knowledge). Efforts with preservice teachers described here have been informed by the authors’ successes assisting in-service teachers with understanding how technology can empower inquiry-based teaching practices in social studies classrooms, as well as efforts to more fully integrate technology into the overall teacher education programs at the authors’ institutions.
This study examined work samples and reflections of 223 elementary and secondary preservice teachers in a graduate teacher education program. The 5-year study addressed two questions: (a) To what extent did preservice teachers integrate technology into their instructional planning? (b) To what extent did K-12 students use technologies as a result of preservice teachers’ instructional designs? In addition to addressing these questions, the data from 344 preservice teacher work samples and 151 preservice teacher reflections were examined through the lens of the National Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Teachers (ISTE, 2000) and National Educational Technology Standards for Students: The Next Generation (ISTE, 2007). Findings indicated 85% of preservice teachers integrated technology skills and knowledge in instructional practice with their K-12 students. Approximately 50% of the work samples and reflections documented K-12 students’ use of technology in the areas of creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, and research and information fluency. There is little evidence that K-12 students used technology to support critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making.
A range of electronic resources, including video-based instruction, are used to promote cybersafety to young people at school. This evaluation analyzed seven distinct programs that use electronic media in Internet safety initiatives in schools. The findings highlight emerging evidence on successful approaches to engage children in assessing risky cybersafety situations, developing appropriate management techniques, and practicing responsible decision making online. Based on the prevention effectiveness literature and the tenets of behavior decision theory, a rubric was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of online instructional materials in teaching ethical behavior in digital environments. The rubric demonstrates that high quality cybersafety resources are based on a coherent theoretical framework, integrate multiple program components, and allow for skill rehearsal.
Young people today consume large amounts of information through various media outlets and simultaneously create and distribute their own messages via information and communication technologies and massively multiplayer online gaming. In doing so, these ‘digital natives’ are often exposed to violent, racist, or other deleterious messages. Additionally, these digital citizens must navigate issues of information security, privacy, and identity theft. Because efforts to control access to information and exposure to these risks are fraught with difficulties, the most effective way to safeguard students and young citizens is through education. Children and youth need instruction on the application of skills for critical analysis and ethical decision making as citizens in a digital world.
“We need a clear citizens’ vision of the way the Net ought to grow, a firm idea of the kind of media environment we would like to see in the future. If we do not develop such a vision for ourselves, the future will be shaped for us by large commercial and political powerholders” (Rheingold, 2000, p. 6). If the online environment is not considered as substantially different from the offline one, social studies educators run the risk of applying preconceived notions not only of citizenship, citizenship education, freedom of expression, and commercial and public space to the online environment, thus, limiting its potential and young people’s preparation for it. To prepare young people for online civic participation, A publicly supported virtual laboratory of democracy should be created that enables young people to become socialized to an online civic society and to learn how to act—in a civic manner—upon issues of importance to them and the larger society.
In a study investigating the effects of student engagement in inquiry learning through the development of Web sites, nearly every student reported having enjoyed the project, and the majority scored an A or B for their project grade. However, neither enjoyment nor high achievement on this performance task necessarily translated into high scores on the unit test. Therefore, this paper explores why success in a technology rich inquiry environment did not translate to measurable changes in student learning. Results demonstrated that students were not accustomed to this type of pedagogy and that the assessment did not match the task.
Two current themes in social studies education — the inclusion of technology and the emphasis on “doing history” — intersect with the use of Web-based or digital primary sources in the classroom. Digital libraries make these resources available to students and teachers interested in accessing rare primary documents in order to study the past. One such digital library, Documenting the American South (DocSouth), offers teachers and students the ability to download firsthand accounts related to United States and southern history. This research study focuses on six social studies teachers in an attempt to understand the extent to which they use DocSouth resources in their classrooms. These interviews reveal great potential for teachers to use DocSouth in their classrooms since both they and their students have the requisite technology skills, teachers already use the Internet to plan instruction and for research, and most importantly, part of their perceived goal for teaching history is to present multiple perspectives. Although these teachers find DocSouth a valuable resource, they are limited in their use of the digitized primary sources by the standard course of study, content requirements, time constraints, and equipment issues. Suggestions are given for ways DocSouth can help teachers circumvent these hindering factors in the classroom.
The past decade has witnessed a proliferation of state standards and their associated tests in public schools in order to hold schools, teachers, and students accountable for learning outcomes and achievement. In this qualitative study of eight world history and world geography teachers, the degree to which the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) influenced the use of digital primary source materials was examined. The SOLs had a negative influence on digital primary source use because of the large amount of material to be covered for the test, the focus of the test on fact-recall, and the intense pressure noted by the majority of teachers for their students to pass the test. Each finding, as well as its implications, is discussed.
In 2002 the members of the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI) framed seven conclusions relating to handheld computers and ubiquitous computing in schools. While several of the conclusions are laudable efforts to increase research and professional development, the factual and conceptual bases for this document are seriously flawed. The NTLI members’ failure to address market forces, teacher agency, and sociocultural influences on schools and instruction perpetuates harmful myths about educational computing and makes successful integration of handheld computers less likely. The author argues for a more realistic, holistic, and teacher-friendly approach.
In March 2002, members of the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI) met in Charlottesville, Virginia to discuss the potential effects of ubiquitous computing on the field of education. Ubiquitous computing, or “on-demand availability of task-necessary computing power,” involves providing every student with a handheld computer—a situation with enormous repercussions for education and teacher education. Over a two-day period, participants engaged in intensive discussion of the issue of ubiquitous computing and developed seven conclusions. This paper, written by the representatives from social studies organizations, seeks to examine the specific implications of these seven conclusions for the field of social studies education. The paper discusses the concept of ubiquitous computing and the impact this technology shift may have on social studies curricula, teacher preparation, software development, and research agendas.
Using technology to enhance student learning in social studies has become an important area for discussion and study within the field of social studies education. Handheld devices are one of the recently emerging technologies. This article describes an initial study of the TI-83 handheld device in the education of preservice social studies teachers. In particular, this study examined data collected from one group of preservice teachers to determine how they viewed the TI-83 handheld device and how they used the handheld technology in their social studies teaching. Data was collected from surveys, interviews, lesson ideas, and observations. Some findings suggested that the design of the tool and the programs for it played a strong role in the preservice teachers’ views of and uses of the tool in lessons.
With the importance of imagery in our culture and the increasing access to both digital images and the tools used to manipulate them, it is important that social studies teacher educators prepare preservice teachers to provide their students with opportunities to develop a critical lens through which to view images. As we strive to encourage the development of effective citizens, the critical examination of images can be an effective vehicle to help students critically evaluate a variety of sources. This paper examines historic and more recent trends in image manipulation and provides an initial framework for discussing the current issues surrounding photo manipulation in the media. Descriptions are also provided of exercises in image manipulation focused on perspective in the social studies.
This study considers the enrichment of social studies methods through the integration of videoconferencing in a telecollaborative format. The purpose in developing this study was threefold: (a) to describe the perspectives of teacher candidates while participating in a telecollaborative social studies methods course experience, (b) to determine in what manner videoconferencing could enhance a methods course, and (c) to determine if telecollaboration could be successfully and seamlessly integrated within the course. Following a review of the literature, the program is described and teacher candidate perceptions are shared. Findings reveal limitations and challenges for social studies methods instructors. Suggestions for future telecollaborative experiences are provided.
The purpose of this study was to compare the use of WebQuests with traditional instruction. Specifically, the study examined the end-of-unit exam scores for students who completed a WebQuest on the Texas Revolution and those students completing a poster activity. Both of the instructional activities were implemented as additional enhancement to close the unit. Results indicated that the control group, or those students completing the poster activity, scored higher on the end-of-unit exam than did the experimental group, or those students completing the WebQuest activity. A discussion of the possible reasons for this difference, practical implications of study and using WebQuests in the classroom, and directions for future research are included.
This paper, which won a best paper award at the 2004 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, is a report of findings related to the introduction of technology in a course, entitled Women of the World, in a master’s degree program in the teaching of social studies. Recent academic research and journalistic commentary have pointed to a gender gap in technology use. The authors address this problem by infusing technology into an interdisciplinary course focused on women’s lives within a global context. By employing technology to teach innovative curriculum dealing with the status of women worldwide, the course attempts to motivate students, most of whom are women, to use technology in teaching. This strategy has succeeded by linking digital technology with powerful social studies content that holds considerable relevance to future teachers’ professional and personal lives.
This case study analyzes the pedagogy of one US history teacher as he prepared students for active and effective citizenship through multicultural democratic education in an underresourced alternative public high school. In particular, the paper examines his practice and focuses on his incorporation of educational technology (the Internet, multimedia technology, and word-processing applications) to achieve his pedagogical goals while teaching in a school with significant technology resource constraints. This study found that through the use of technology his practice stressed critical thinking, critical and multiple perspectives, and data manipulation skills that enable his students to work with information both in and out of school. This paper also encourages educators to proceed with caution in incorporating educational technology to promote multicultural democratic education given the continued existence of the “digital divide” and underresourced schools.
To ascertain the current status of Holocaust knowledge and attitudes of prospective teachers and to inform the development of a web-based educational resource for teachers of the Holocaust, an exploratory analysis was conducted at a public university in Florida. Data were obtained from prospective teachers (N = 464) who completed a knowledge test, a survey related to bias toward traditionally marginalized groups, and a multicultural affinity scale. Statistical analyses were conducted to examine potential group differences for gender, race, age, and college major. No statistically significant differences were found for the knowledge test or students’ bias toward marginalized groups. On the multicultural affinity scale, statistically significant results were obtained for gender and race. Results from this study can serve to guide the curriculum of teacher education programs as well as the development of resources such as the website, Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust.
Many teachers struggle with motivating students to learn. This is especially prevalent in social studies classrooms in which students perceive social studies as boring (Schug, Todd, & Berry, 1984; Shaughnessy & Haladyana, 1985). This article advocates the use of technology in social studies as a means to motivate students by engaging students in the learning process with the use of a familiar instructional tool that improves students’ self-efficacy and self-worth. The potential that technology has to motivate students is discussed as it relates to expectancy-value model of motivation which focuses three areas of motivational theory (Pintrich & Schunk, 1996): value (students’ beliefs about the importance or value of a task), expectancy (students’ beliefs about their ability or skill to perform the task), and affective (emotional reactions to the task and self-worth evaluation).
What is GIS and why incorporate it into teacher education? This article introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology as a viable interdisciplinary technology application with implications for teacher education. Two models illustrating the incorporation of GIS into teacher education are described; one from a large, public university, the other from a small, private, four-year college. Each model represents first steps toward GIS integration in teacher education. The two settings are not unique, but because neither institution houses a Geography department, the integration of GIS has fallen under the purview of the teacher education program. As GIS is incorporated into schools and into teacher education, these models may offer options for similarly configured institutions lacking departments of geography.