Integrating Technology Into the Social Studies Curriculum Lori S. Crum EDTECH541
“ Do we really need to buy the textbook?
It’s so expensive!”
“ Can’t you just summarize it for us?”
“ Would you just tell us what parts will be on the exam?”
“ It was so long and so boring. I couldn’t get through it!”
Quotes like these indicate that many of our students do not want to take the time to read their social studies textbook.
Methods of Learning
Below is a list of different methods of learning. The percentages listed represent the average amount of information that is retained through that particular learning method.
Lecture = 5%
Reading = 10%
Audiovisual = 20%
Demonstration = 30%
Discussion Group = 50%
Practice by doing = 75%
Teach others / immediate use of learning = 90%
We need to incorporate teaching methods that promote the highest rates of information retention.
Teaching with the Constructivist Learning Theory, http://www.ndt-ed.org/TeachingResources/ClassroomTips/Constructivist%20_Learning.htm
Tool Software/Technology Cover It Live, Skype, Filmmaking
Cover It Live
Cover It Live is a publishing tool that allows users to instantly publish their blog posts, which allows it to serve somewhat like a chat room. Every comment must be approved by a teacher. Cover It Live energizes discussions and motivates students to master social studies material. Other people from around the world can also join in. Teachers have used Cover it Live to blog about everything from readings out of the textbook to President Obama’s inauguration.
Skype can be used for learning about other states and countries. If you want to learn about a country, why not just ask the people who live there about it? The information they provide will be more real and true than what you'll find on the Internet. Skype is a way to communicate with people all around the world.
Instead of just reading about history, have students recreate historic events on film. Students can add a director's commentary over the video, highlighting different parts of the event. Teachers can keep the DVD and use it as an instructional tool the following year. The best way to learn is by having students construct their own knowledge instead of having someone construct it for them. (Teaching with the Constructivist Learning Theory, NDT Resource Center)
Internet for Instruction/Tutorials Social Studies Alive!, Animated Atlas.com, Social Studies Skills Tutor, Scholastic Online Activities and Interactive Learning
Social Studies Alive! America’s Past
Social Studies Alive! tutorials help students master the subjects in America’s past by allowing them to check their work, track their results, and improve their scores by retaking each tutorial.
Animated Atlas portrays large chapters of American history quickly by animating maps and geographic features. Growth of a Nation is a free, ten minute movie which depicts the geographic history of the United States from 1789. The timeline is interactive.
US History in 50 Seconds
Online activities in social studies covering American History and culture, geography, news and world history. Organized by grade level and subject. Scholastic Online incorporates audio and visual elements along with interactivity.
Social Studies Skills Tutor
Social Studies Skills Tutor offers tutorials in geographic literacy, visual analysis, critical thinking and reading and communications. Very cool audio and visual tutorial on using cartographer’s tools.
Benefits of Teaching in Tutorial Context The tutorial requires active participation by the student. Learners must become engaged with the course content in order to process and build on it, and more importantly to express their own understanding of the topics discussed. Students who are too shy or culturally disadvantaged to participate fully in class can thrive online, where they have time to construct their questions and answers and don't have to compete with confident peers for attention. For international and non-English speaking students, these online discussions allow time for reading the contributions of others, rather than trying to understand accents and spoken language in real time. http://teaching.unsw.edu.au/tutorials
Productivity Software Google Earth, Dipity, Capzles
Teachers can utilize Google Earth to highlight important geographic areas in the teaching of social studies. In a history class, educators can create a sequence showing how armies moved from place to place during a war. A quick tour of the important buildings in our government would be a possible use for a government class. Demonstrating land forms and geological features are practical applications, in addition to its obvious use as a map tool in a geography classroom.
Capzles is a great way to create timelines but a little more difficult. Events can contain images and descriptions, and Capzles allows for files and media to be added to the timeline. The background of the timeline can be customized, and a music playlist can be added. Other users can work on a Capzles timeline if the timeline is set to public, if the are invited as a friend, or by creating a group login.
Dipity is a digital timeline that allows users to enter events, descriptions, images, video, and locations. The resulting timeline can be viewed as a linear display, a flipbook, a list or even geographically through a Google map application. Dipity timelines are embeddable and also allow for the use of social media. In addition, Dipity timelines may be done collaboratively if you make your timeline public or create a group login.
The Power to do More Productivity tools allow students to do something that was not possible without technology and then to share their results with others. In contrast to traditional software that encourages linear procedural processes, tool software is open-ended. Productivity tools include word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, and telecommunications software. Pisapia, John. Teaching with Technology: Productivity Tools.
Interactive Software Webquests, Games
The Flames of Rebellion
The Flames of Rebellion is a strategy/war game playable by two users on the internet or at one computer. Players choose either the British or the Colonials as they simulate the Revolutionary War. The object of the game is to take control of all thirteen colonies. To achieve this goal you can produce ships to blockade enemy trade and participate in naval battles, recruit armies forcibly take enemy land, and appoint your military aids such as Washington or Cornwallis to lead your men to victory.
In Argument Wars , you try out your persuasive abilities by arguing a real Supreme Court case. The other lawyer is your competition. Whoever uses the strongest argument wins. Cases include:
Brown v. Board of Education New Jersey v. TLO Texas v. Johnson Miranda v. Arizona Snyder v. Phelps
Students are thrust into the everyday hustle and bustle of a century ago. They find themselves enslaved in an antebellum town, or caught up in a strike in a Massachusetts textile mill, or riding the rails in the Depression. American Dynasties is a set of computer games that conveys the vibrancy of American history to secondary-school students. Each game portrays an important moment in U.S. history – such as the run up to the Civil War in 1855, the riots around the Stamp Act in 1765, or New England labor unrest of the early 1900s. Players assume the roles of a diverse cast of characters, each representing someone from a different economic, racial or ethnic background living at that time. Players face challenges and decisions that their character might have faced, and see the consequences. As they journey through a day in their character’s life, players will face difficult choices, moments of joy and sadness, exciting adventures, and plenty of colorful incidental characters to keep them company. American Dynasties is aligned with secondary school state and national history standards.
You and your family have decided to leave your home in Missouri for the promises that await you in exciting Oregon. Your spouse and five children have been preparing for the long and arduous journey through the Oregon Trail. Along the way, you will discover what life is like on the trail – the hardships, dangers, and daily activities involved in pioneer living. You will meet other pioneers who will one day become quite famous, and encounter Native Americans who live on the foreign soil. You have been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to chart your journey and upon settling in Oregon, create an informative travel brochure for others making the westward adventure. You will need to include information on what the journey was like, how you traveled, the reasons for which you made the journey in the first place, the famous pioneers you encountered along the way, the Native American tribes you met, and a map of the Oregon Trail with the main landmarks and forts pointed out along the way. Finally, you will discuss what life has been like since settling in Oregon County.
Why History Games? Games and simulations are increasingly seen as worthy of academic study and application. Games can not only engage, but they can help develop analytical and critical-thinking skills. They also provide creative possibilities for differentiated learning. Today there is a whole range of free and fee-based games and simulations to provide creative opportunities for students to hone their knowledge and understanding of historical events and characters.