Integrating technology into social studies instruction is a complex task that is dependent on a number of factors related to classroom practice. In Volume 7 Issue 2 of Cite Journal Social Studies (http://www.citejournal.org/vol7/iss2/socialstudies/article1.cfm) we present Mark Hofer and Kathy Swan’s research on these issues as experienced by a 5th grade teacher using technology tools to facilitate her students’ construction of historical documentaries. Hofer and Swan situate their report in the context of recent findings about historical thinking by Levstik, Barton, VanSledright, and Wineburg, among others, who have collectively found that with teacher support young children can engage in historical thinking and meaning-making. However, these historical thinking processes are complex and often the integration of technology, such as described in Hofer and Swan’s report, stretches teachers’ abilities to provide the cognitive, pedagogical, and technology support that their students may need – not to mention the additional strain of incorporating various curricular and standards requirements into the instruction. In fact, Hofer and Swan found that although the teacher they studied experienced some success in her technology-integrated instruction, a host of problems – literal/metaphoric firewalls and mayhem – limited the teachers’ abilities to integrate technology.
Surely there are other stories that might help inform social studies teachers and teacher educators as they attempt to integrate technology into their instruction. We hope our readers might share some of their stories on this blog, as a reply to this post or as a new post in the social studies section of the blog.
CITE Journal editors
John Lee and David Hicks