As we take the reins of the Contemporary Issues in Technology and Social Studies Teacher Education, we would like to thank the executive board of the College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA) for the confidence they have shown in vesting us with this responsibility. We also would like to use this initial editorial to express our vision for the journal and our role in promoting high-quality research related to social studies, teacher education, and technology use.
It is widely accepted that technology integration throughout education has not been achieved. There are complex reasons for the mixed record of integration, and researchers such as Cuban (2001) have provided historical analyses of these reasons that have significant contemporary implications. One of these implications that we find most compelling is that much reform, including technology integration, has been imposed on teachers and classrooms from above rather than emanating from teachers’ perceived needs or classroom context.
The pressure to integrate technology in social studies classrooms comes from the federal government (Anderson & Becker, 2001), school boards and administrators (Warren, 2001), parents, and the business community (Bromley, 1998), as well as from many teacher education programs (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002). There is also an assumption in much of American society that, since technology has become ubiquitous in communications, business transactions, and many people’s personal lives, it should also have a central place in classrooms (Hodas, 1993). This assumption is in conflict, though, with the job expectations for teachers, who have in recent years been under considerable pressure to increase student achievement on paper-and-pencil standardized tests (Grant, 2006). These apparently competing goals have too infrequently been shown to be compatible in such a way that teachers see sufficient benefit to their students and to themselves to be on the cutting edge of technology integration.
As editors, we see one purpose of the journal as bridging that gap. Not necessarily pointing toward student achievement on standardized tests, but helping the research community and practicing teachers interested in research-based practice to better understand the connections between instructional practices using technology and student achievement.
Our role as editors is to facilitate the dissemination of research to the communities of researchers and practitioners. In other words, we will work to make findings relating to technology use in social studies teacher education related to K-16 practice available to those who can apply the findings to further research or to instruction. These findings may come from empirical work or from theoretical pieces that seek to synthesize empirical work and provide new perspectives on educational issues.
A significant aspect of this work is our belief that all research is based on assumptions about students, schooling, and education generally. Clarifying the theoretical bases for particular research choices (e.g., research questions, site and participant selection, and analytical frameworks) is, we believe, an important part of research in this field that is too often missing from the technology research literature (Roblyer, 2005).
An initiative that our predecessors, John Lee and David Hicks, pushed and which we will continue to support is using the affordances of the online journal site to provide authors with the opportunity to include nontext materials in their submissions. We believe that as the technology tools become more user friendly, authors and journal consumers will see considerable benefit from audio, video, or graphic data and analysis included within published articles. The article by Peter Hillis in this issue provides evidence of the effectiveness of the use of multimedia materials in clarifying and deepening understanding of research findings.
We see several ways that our joint editorship will contribute to the journal. We have each conducted empirical research on technology use in K-12 classrooms, but our research foci are sufficiently different to provide a broad perspective on the field. Dr. Swan has continued her K-12 focus, developing a significant body of research working with teachers on a day-to-day basis as they seek to integrate digital video technologies into their social studies courses (Hofer & Swan, 2007, 2008; Swan & Hofer, 2006; Swan, Hofer & Levstik, 2007; Swan, Hofer, & Swan, 2010). Dr. DeWitt’s focus has shifted to teacher education and includes work both on the impact of technology use on preservice teachers’ professional development (Seo, DeWitt, & Byk, 2009) and the theoretical bases for technology integration (DeWitt, 2006). These complementary research strands will contribute to our ability to evaluate article submissions and to develop a strong reviewer base.
Reviewers are the heart of any successful academic journal. We would like to thank the distinguished scholars who have agreed to serve on the Editorial Review Board. We look forward to their contributions and extend our sincere thanks to those whose past service has contributed to the strong record the CITE Journal has established.
Anderson, R. E., & Becker, H. J. (2001). School investments in instructional technology. Irvine, CA: Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations.
Bromley, H. (1998). Introduction: Data-driven democracy? Social assessment of educational computing. In H. Bromley & M. W. Apple (Eds.), Educational computing as a social practice (pp. 1-28). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
DeWitt, S. W. (2006). It is not only about the computers: An argument for broadening the conversation. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 6(2). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol6/iss2/socialstudies/article2.cfm
Grant, S. G. (2006). Measuring history: Cases of state-level testing across the United States. Greenwich, CT.: Information Age Pub.
Hodas, S. (1993). Technology refusal and the organizational culture of schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 1(10).
Hofer, M., & Swan, K. (2007). [Reprint] Standards, firewalls and general classroom mayhem: Implementing student centered research projects in a social studies classroom. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 7(2). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol7/iss2/socialstudies/article1.cfm
Hofer, M., & Swan, K. (2008). Technological pedagogical content knowledge from the ground level: A Case study of a middle school digital documentary project. Journal of Research and Technology Education, 41(2), 179-200.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2002). National educational technology standards for teachers: Preparing teachers to use technology. Eugene, OR: Author.
Roblyer, M. D. (2005). Educational technology research that makes a difference: Series introduction. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(2). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol5/iss2/seminal/article1.cfm
Seo, K. K., DeWitt, S. W., & Byk, A. (2009). Electronic journaling: Uniting technology and reflection. Ohio Social Studies Review, 45(1), 43-50.
Swan, K., & Hofer, M. (2006). Digital campaigning: Using the bill of rights to advance a political position. The Social Studies, 97(5), 208-214.
Swan, K., Hofer, M., & Levstik, L. (2007). And Action! Students collaborating in the digital directors guild. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 19(4), 17-20.
Swan, K., Hofer, M., & Swan, G. (2010). Measuring the impact of digital documentaries in a high stakes testing environment. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2010. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education.
Warren, M. D., Jr. (2001). Embracing the information age: A report by the Task Force of the Michigan State Board of Education. E. Lansing, MI: Michigan State Board of Education.