Why use technology in Social Studies?

Why use technology in Social Studies?

As a teacher of Ancient Civilizations I spend a lot of time discussing the development of technology over time and how these technological advancements changed the way of life for human society.  Yet, I still find there are educators in my field that don’t see the value of students using technology in the classroom to illustrate concepts, to create presentations, and to learn content.  In the following blog, I will discuss the many advantages of using such technologies sin the classroom to increase productivity, locate information,  and to excite student learners.

In the content of social studies there is the quandary for any educator to keep up with the adding and revision of history with new evidence being discovered and new history being created.  It is a challenge to condense this information in to a short time for students.  As Marzano has taught us, one of the best practice of teaching is to assess your students prior knowledge.  To administer pre-assessments and hand score them is very time consuming.  There is, however, technology out there that can aid in expediting this process.

Once prior knowledge is established the curriculum can be compacted.  These tools can also be used for formative and summative assessments throughout the year as well.

Keeping up on current events can be a challenge for both educators and students alike.  One way is to use Google Scholar to create a search of professional articles.  When new articles surface you get an e-mail updating you on the current research.  For students they can use the following sites to follow news sources of interest to them.

As educators, we can provided our students with starting points for research in our content area.

The following are from Integrating Educational Technology Into Teaching by M.D. Roblyer & Aaron H. Doering:

Democratic and Republican Parties

http://www.democrats.org

http://www.gop.com

U.S.Congress

http://thomas.loc.gov

The White House

http://www.whitehouse.gov

Census in Schools

http://www.census.gov/dmd.www/teachers.html

Ellis Island Records

http://www.ellisislandimmigrants.org

As a teacher of ancient history, I find that I don’t use these particular sites when having students locate information in my class.  Other sites I have them refer to are as follows.

www.historychannel.com

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/

http://www.khanacademy.org/

http://www.britishmuseum.org/

http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia

When students are creating a research project in my class, I have them complete their work using Microsoft Word, GoogleDocs, or Pages.  Which application they use depends upon device availability and their comfort with a specific platform.  The benefits of students using a word processing program is that it is easier for students to make revisions.  If students are using Google Docs then they can share their Doc with the teacher and receive comments and feedback real time right in the doc itself.  Several students working on a group project or presentation can also simultaneously collaborate on one document at the same time.

For multimedia presentations, students can use Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Presentation, Movie Maker, & I Movie.

Students can use the following software to create digital timelines or view premade interactive timelines to aid with sequencing of information.

Students can create digital stories using the following resources.

One of my favorite sites to use in class is Google Earth.   It can be used for teacher directed instruction, self-paced learning, or student created tours.  As a teacher of Ancient Civilizations, I find that World Heritage give me the ability to have my students stand in places virtually,  where we couldn’t ordinarily go on a real life field trip.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6 ed.). Pearson.

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