Technology in the Social Studies Classroom
Becoming a teacher can be a daunting task. A new teacher has to take in a lot of information ,which can be overwhelming. There are many different things to remember including the different sets of standards teachers needs to consider when creating lessons. A normal lesson plan in a methods course can possibly include content standards, curriculum standards, Common Core State Standards, and standards related to 21st Century Learning. Fortunately, these different sets of standards do not need to lead the teacher all over the place to be attainable. There are several points of overlap. The goal of this chapter is to create a framework for prospective social studies teachers that makes the relationship between the standards, the technology, and their teaching more approachable.
Standards guide teaching. They provide structure and ensure that everyone is on the same page. There is not one set of standards that covers everything though. Curriculum standards provide a framework for what needs to be taught. The relevant standards in social studies are the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) standards. They have applications in any social studies course. Not every theme appears in every course though. They are organized thematically:
- Time, Continuity, and Change
- People, Places, and Environments
- Individual Development and Identity
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
- Power, Authority, and Governance
- Production, Distribution, and Consumption
- Science, Technology, and Society
- Global Connections
- Civic Ideals and Practices
Content standards guide WHAT should be taught. Content standards can look very different depending on the course. The standards used in a US History class are totally different from the American Psychological Association(APA) standards used in an Introduction to Psychology or AP Psychology class. However, various NCSS standards themes could have relevance in one course or the other (or both).
Common Core State Standards address skills. The skills include reading, writing, speaking & listening, language, and mathematics. Reading is broken down further into the skill categories of Literature, Informational Text, and Foundational Texts. Common Core also includes a strand for History/Social Studies:
- Reading History
- Writing History & Science
This chapter focuses on reading history, writing history & science, speaking and listening, and language in relation to the social studies classroom.
The ISTE standards reflect what students should know and be able to do in the digital age. ISTE, or the International Society for Technology in Education, updated the student standards in 2016. The last revision was in 2007. The 2016 draft identifies the following skills as essential for our students to master:
- Creativity and Innovation
- Communication and Collaboration
- Research and Information Fluency
- Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
- Digital Citizenship
- Technology Operations and Concepts
Whereas standards guide teaching, technology is a tool to use in our teaching. They can be used to communicate, for research, or for assessment. (make connection between standards and edtech). The table below organizes the information by Standard-Skill-Category-Tool. For example, Speaking & Listening is an anchor standard category set in the Common Core State Standards. Evaluation is a skill identified within the Speaking & Listening anchor standard. Survey tools can be used for evaluation. Google forms can be used for evaluation. Students or teachers can create survey tools to be used to evaluate different items ranging from primary source documents to the credibility of websites for research.
|National Council of Social Studies|
|NCSS Standards||Research & Exploration||Content||CNN|
|Common Core State Standards|
|Speaking & Listening||Collaboration||Google Apps|
|Evaluation (Information & Points of view)||Survey tools||Google Forms|
|Adapt speech/language to context|
|Publish work with||Publish
|Teacher Skill||Assess||Assessment tools||Kahoot|
Choosing Technology Tools
It is more effective to discuss technology tools by category when having conversations about classes as opposed to immediate and specific lessons. There are several reasons for this. Tools change. Let’s look at the skill of communication in the form of a class presentation as an example3. PowerPoint was the major player for a very long time for class presentations. I still see them done very often. I still remember when Prezi came out. Many people got excited about this alternative. There is also Google Slides which has visual similarities to PowerPoint but with more collaborative qualities. After a while, Prezi started to fade, but now we can add Adobe Spark, Haiku Deck, etc. Having students explore presentation tools is also a great learning opportunity for both teachers and students. Students can strengthen their ability to evaluate and critique available tools. Plus, teachers may learn about tools that they were previously unaware of.
Effective use of technology can open endless possibilities for learning. The following guidelines can help facilitate proper implementation technology in teaching:
- Use technology to improve student learning, not just to use it. Refer to the SAMR model as a guideline for educational technology implementation.
- Research or test different tools in a category before committing to one.
- Then find what works for you. Too much technology in the classroom can create clutter.
- Be willing to make mistakes.
- Create a true learning environment. Be willing to learn about different technologies from your students and they will be more open to learning from you.
Teacher Resources & Tools
Who to Follow on Twitter:
@JoshuaElliott3– Learner, educator, passionate about edtech, Assistant Professor and Director of Educational Technology and Secondary Education at Fairfield University
@Catlin_Tucker-Google Certified Innovator, International Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Blended Learning Expert & Bestselling Author
@GCouros–The best educators change the trajectories of those they serve. Through learning, teaching, writing, & speaking, I continue to aspire to this.
@ClassTechTips-Dr. Monica Burns, #EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, Author of #FormativeTech + #ScannableTech, Speaker + PD facilitator, Adjunct, ADE firstname.lastname@example.org
The following tutorials were created by Fairfield University Educational Technology students to provide user-friendly tutorials. They can be used a resource for finding strategies and ideas for the classroom.
EDPuzzle: Make Any Video Your Lesson: Dana Stradinger
Assessing Student Growth with Google Forms: Scott Dempsey
Educational Technology: Tools, Tutorials, and Trials: Hiliary Basset
How To Make an E-book Using Google Slides: Jennifer Brown
Google Docs: Kayla Stevens
Google Classroom: Lauren Korres
Infographics in the Classroom: Elizabeth Bouvier
Slack: Clint Boulton
Prezi for Education: Kate Delli Carpini
Go Class: What is it? Why is it useful?: Greg Foschi
Bookopolis: Lineth Angel
Using Windows MovieMaker in the Classroom: Sr. Lauren Zak
Desmos Graphic Calculator Tutorial: Amy Christofer
Answer Garden: Lauren Urrico
Moby Max: Melvin Campbell
Google Forms Assessment: Valeria Leardini
Providing Parental Feedback Using Class Dojo by Joshua Giannone
Remind 101 Infographic by Caitlin Diver
Brain Breaks in the Elementary Classroom by Chelsea Vrabel
Socrative: Assessing Student Learning through Mobile Technology by Gregory Lico
Schoolology: Connecting People, Content, and Systems to Fuel Education by Victoria Lowrie
Building Creativity in the Classroom using The Arts and Technology by Jennifer Geaney
TodaysMeet: An Effective Technology to Enhance Student Learning by Molly Zarookian
Class Dojo video tutorial by Stephanie Geehan
How to: Wiggio by Megan Conners
No Red Ink tutorial by Angela Sammarone
Collaboration, Communication, and Information Literacy by Tricia Goulet
Technology for Teachers: Communicating with Parents by Allyson McGrath