“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education”. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is Social Studies?

According to the National Council for the social studies, social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. The main purpose of social studies is to mold a well informed population that is capable of making well informed decisions for the public good in a multicultural and diverse democratic society.

Additionally, students need to know about the topics affecting our society today and tomorrow. For example, students need to know about inflation, recession, unemployment, investments, and taxation in order to turn out to be contributing members of society. Law is one other incredibly very important subject matter that our children need to recognize. It is needed to know the laws of your nation in order to reside by them and be able to teach their future generations to abide by them.

The very nature of social studies makes it a complicated subject according to the TPACK handbook. Social studies is an amalgamation of various subjects from anthropology and geography to history and government. Thorton states that "teachers blend and synthesize several disciplines together in order to teach social studies". Social studies looks at how we relate to each other as people in the past, present, and trends for the future. The open and broad structure of social studies is ideally suited to the use of technology and the internet because the web is non-linear by nature, and the offerings of Web 2.0, a Reader/Writer collaborative environment, make it an ideal instructional tool for learning.

Benefits of Using TPACK in Social Studies

1. TPACK is framing teaching and learning social studies with technology. Social studies is inherently technological and it is also improved by the use of technology. For instance technology provides teachers the opportunity to teach in non-linear environments. Non-linear environments are found in the Web. These type of environments, due to hypertext, empower the reader by providing him or her with a plethora of information on the same and relevant topics. Readers are not impelled to one mode of thinking or limited information.

2. Koehler and Mishra indicate that technology can play a major role in the development of citizens who are productive members of a democratic society.
TPCK can help promote social/civic interactions and real world applications that can be seen in a democratic society, through the use of technology. Furthermore, technology can also advance the democratic process of a society due to massive information and communication. The immense information provided by the world wide web creates and enhances critical thinkers who are productive members of a democratic society.

3.Technology provides students the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with people all around the world. This enables students to learn different point of views and perspectives, thus enhancing critical thinking skills and knowledge.

4. The presentation capabilities of the web can be used to motivate and encourage students. Providing students with a public forum for their work enhances motivation and encourages authenticity. Making use if technology such as digital storytelling, podcasting, news aggregators, file sharing, and online writing can motivate students to develop subject matter knowledge through the presentation of their work.

5. Using TPCK can offer new ways of creating authentic experiences that are prevalent in social studies education. Social studies pedagogy operates on connections to the larger social context within which students live, TPCK supports and facilitates higher oder thinking, and depth of knowledge, and further encourages human interactions to the world within the context of social studies education.

Transformations when integrating technology into social studies:

  1. Teachers engage social studies subject matter given some built in technological affordances related to the preparation, representation, adaptation, and/or tailoring of social studies subject matter. This subject matter might be thought of as inherently technological.
  2. Teachers engage social studies subject matter given some added technological affordance related to the preparation , representation, adaptation, and/or tailoring of studies subject matter. This subject matter might be thought of as being improved by technology.

Pedagogical actions when integrating technology into social studies:

  1. Locating and adapting digital resources for use in the classroom
  2. Facilitating students' work in non-linear environments, requiring students to make critical decisions about how to select their own resources and navigate through a wide variety of interfaces.
  3. Working to develop critical media literacy skills among students
  4. Providing students with opportunities to utilize the presentational capabilities of the Web to motivate and encourage students
  5. Using the internet to extend the collaboration and communication among students.
  6. Extending and promoting active and authentic forms of human interaction in technology enabled social networking.

TPACK in Social Studies Education

TPACK and technology when used transparently in social studies education, shifts the focus from textbooks to primary source materials or individuals, as in with collaborative distance learning. This diagram shows how TPACK creates authentic learning and assessment when students use the technology to demonstrate their learning.

The TPCK framework can help educators in social studies build upon existing content and pedagogical structure to create meaningful, authentic, student-centered learning lessons. With these lessons, social studies education can be improved with TPCK through enhancing students’ communication and collaboration, motivate and encourage students, and enhance authentic human interactions for students in real world application. The ultimate goal of social studies education is creating citizens who are able to function in a democratic society. TPCK can help educators grapple with this goal by using technology to support their pedagogical practices such as student centered learning, critical thinking, and authentic application.


Role of the Teacher:

Teachers need to help their students develop critical thinking skills that will enable their students to navigate in non-linear envirnment such as the world wide web. They must understand how to select accurate information from reliable sites.The web is full of informtion that students who do not understand how to navigate it will become frustrated and take the easy way out by conducting limited research and gaining little skills if any. Lack of knowledge about navigating the internet on the student part can lead to plagiarism as a result of the easy access to so much information.

Teachers need to realize that their role is more of a facilitator in this new learning environment. According to the TPACK handbook, when students are integrating technology and subject matter, teaching is no longer didactic and learning is no longer passive. Students are helping themselves create their own knowledge and the teacher is assisting the student in the critical analysis that is a part of the knowledge creation process.

Technology offers social studies teachers four distinct enhancements or transformations:

  1. Making use of historical source material available through online sources.
  2. Promoting understanding of spatial, human, and physical systems as aided by technology
  3. Expanding social experiences using technology and
  4. Encouraging economic literacy through the use of technology.

Research in TPACK in Social Studies Education

Research suggests pedagogy as the most promising starting point for considering technology use in social studies. The pedagogy should lead the technology, not the technology leading the pedagogy. Teachers impart information to students; students absorb information from teachers. When the pedagogical aim is giving, students should be given clearly and efficiently the information contained in the textbook and other curricular materials, minimizing uncertainty or confusion. Giving students the instructional objective before initiating the lesson is a recognized principle for effective teaching. Short lectures combined with other teaching strategies can work extremely well. By giving students a presentation of information, teachers can rapidly cover content, control the classroom, and uphold standards of accuracy and exactness.

Through inquiry-based instruction, students develop new understandings. Prompting students to interact with the content helps them become actively engaged in concept formation, making the instruction more learner-centered. Teachers who prompt students through thoughtful questioning, help their students develop analytical skills and deeper conceptual understanding. These understandings go beyond rote memorization as students engage in disciplined thinking and meaning making. Instruction via student creation of whole products, also called making, is analogous to project work, a staple feature of social studies instruction throughout the grade levels.

Examples of making include student-produced newsletters, essays, skits, posters, slideshows, podcasts, media projects, social media and Web sites. Teachers have historically used technology to give or cover content. Databases, web-based resources and applications, multimedia, and digital libraries have been successfully integrated into today's curricula to encourage students to develop inquiry skills related to social studies concepts. Technology integration is moving social studies instruction away from passive, teacher-dominated approaches that emphasize recall and regurgitation, towards more active, student-centered forms of learning,demanding critical and conceptual thinking.

TPACK can be seen as a nested expression: (T(PCK)). The pedagogical content knowledge is resolved first, and only then is the use of technology considered. The technology selection process is constrained by the desired instructional pattern (Hammond, et al).

One of the best technological tools used in many social studies classes are webquests. They can be created to teach about our world wars, Civil War, the stock market crash of 1929, Lincoln's Farewell address, etc. all with fun and motivational steps that will encourage participation and foster a love for the past!
Links & Resources

For Students

Primary Source Resources
Our Nation's Attic aka The Smithsonian
Containing primary sources materials & artifacts that are covered in social studies.

Congress for Kids
Interactive guide to the Federal Government.

Name That State!
Bureau of Labor and Statistics geography game

The Library of Congress

Flickr Image Database.

BBC History for Kids
Interactive games, resources, quizzes, and animations on British and world history.

History for Kids
Children's encyclopedia covering mainly history and science topics.
Current Events for Kids
Time Magazine including current events for children in various categories

Current Events for Kids
Scholastic News Magazine including current events for children in various categories.
Bill of Rights Institute
Game Based Learning on America's founding documents.

Cengage Learning
World history digital simulations.

Project Example Resources
Social studies timelines: Example 1, Example 2
World History timelines using Dipity.

For Teachers
TPACK Article Resources
Social Studies TPACK
How digital history can support specific pedagogical aims in social studies education

This lesson demonstrates how to teach Geography with Google Earth. It includes locating places on the map and historical areas.‍
Designing online Resources for teaching social studies
How to integrate effective technology integration strategies into teacher education experiences provided to preservice social studies teachers.// While written for preservice teachers in mind it is brief and thorough look at TPACK in social studies

Aligning Technology and Pedagogy Within TPACK
A three-part pedagogical model intended to enhance the TPACK framework for social studies teachers

44 Social Studies Activities to boost learning
Article that gives teachers 44 ideas on how to better teach Social Studies, while following the TPACK model

Easy to create Powerpoint, to play the classic game, Jeopardy! Of course great for reviewing for tests/quizzes

Formative assessment tools to use Online
This website is great because it breaks down 5 websites that teachers can use for assessment

Social Studies Teaching Resources
Digital History
A Guide to Gathering, Preserving and Presenting the Past on the Web

Grade Level Content Expectations
Michigan Social Studies K-8

High School Content Expectations
Michigan Social Studies 9-12

NCSS Social Studies Standards
National curriculum standards for social studies

Web based learning platform that is designed for engagement, assessment, and curriculum delivery, all in one easy to use application.

Student approved/can't get enough of, web based learning platform that is great for reviewing for tests or discussions.

C-SPAN Classroom Campaign 2016
Website dedicated to helping students understand how our government works and shed like on the issues during the 2016 election.

Web 2.0 Technology that allows students and teachers to create non-linear presentations.

Edublogs is a online blogging website that allows students to share their thoughts on certain subjects within an online classroom or interact and collaborate with other classes schools and beyond!

Is a great site for students to post and share virtual poster boards.

This is a PBS site that is great to use for early Revolutionary War learning.
TPACK Social Studies Lesson Plans

Using Google Geo Tools to Create a Virtual Tour of Latin American Countries.

In this lesson students create a YouTube Civil Rights History channel.
In this lesson students will be independently investigating the major features of Chicago or any other major city or region through a virtual field trip.

In this lesson students will be researching a particular region of the United States. Then they will chose a state to create a diverse advertising campaign with videos, brochure, and/or a radio spot, presented as a podcast.

In this lesson students creating a Webquest which will take them on a five day virtual field trip to Washington D.C.

In this lesson students will explore the causes and effects of natural disasters and create an online newspaper article.

In this lesson students will explore the issues of citizenship and illegal immigration by participating in a debate through the use of online discussion boards.

In this lesson students will be investigating social media campaigns and participating in a debate on the effectiveness of the KONY 2012 video.

This lesson is designed for the Civil War, and having the students create a Powerpoint on a Civil War battle.

This lesson was designed for War of 1812, using Nearpod
students are engaged in learning content as well as answering questions on the iPads.

This lesson was designed for Government students learning more about the issues in the 2016 Presidential Campaign.
Through online research, students work in groups to create a Prezi on their individual candidate.

This lesson was designed as a group project to explore the dynamics of the American Gilded Age and American Imperialism.

This Lesson is a great way for high school students to learn about the government process in newer Democracies, and it uses modern literature to do so.

This lesson is for 3rd-5th graders, and it is a great introductory lesson to the Revolutionary War.

This lesson is for a high school civics class. It uses a blog to show understanding of the ideas contained in the Constitution and apply those ideas to real world situations. It also allows students to first gather their thoughts, then see the thoughts of their peers in an unthreatening environment.

This lesson uses Interactive White Boards to identify three of the main developments that lead to the Civil War. It is for use in a high school history class.

US History WebQuest Facilitates Inquiry-based Learning
This lesson uses a WebQuest accessed with Chromebooks to help high school history students learn about the Triangle Factory Fire and the Progressive Era with Inquiry-based Learning.

US History Wiki Promotes Collaborative Learning
This lesson uses Wikispaces accessed with Chromebooks to help promote collaboration and develop historical ways of thinking and information analysis for high school US history students.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Educators. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Hammond, T. C., & Manfra, M. M. (2009). Giving, prompting, making: Aligning technology and pedagogy within TPACK for social studies instruction. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 9(2). Retrieved fromhttp:www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss2/socialstudies/article1.cfm//

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