Technology can have a huge impact in making lesson content of all subject areas more engaging. Just looking around the internet it is easy to see examples of this. A quick Google search will demonstrate how simulations and virtual activities are making subjects like math or science more inviting to the masses. The proliferation of foreign language software and English learning aids are empowering more people to enhance their verbal communication and reading comprehension abilities like never before. There is one content area in particular that I see as most exciting when it comes to finding new ways technology can enhance its instruction. The content area I am speaking of is Social Studies. Roblyer and Doering (2012) note that technology within the area of social studies has been referred to as a “Sleeping Giant”, by Martorella. Even though technology has not achieved its full potential in the realm of social studies, that potential is revealing itself more and more each day.  

One great example for the potential of using technology to aid social studies instruction that I have come across is MyReadingMapped . The site contains what it considers documentaries in the form of Google Maps that cover certain historic events. One example on the site is a Google Map of James Cook’s voyage to the South Pole, with locations mapped to different passages from his book. Students can actually get a visual of s place Cook is talking about while they read his experience. Technology opens the doors to a treasure trove of social and historical information.

According to Boughan and Kerwin (2006), technology gives teachers and students an easier and more efficient means of accessing primary sources thanks to online databases like the Library of Congress, the National Archive's Database, and more. This is in my opinion one of the biggest relative advantages technology brings to social studies. When I was growing up a need to research mean having to visit a physical library. Now students can access historical documents including maps and photographs 24/7 from their own home or classroom. Technology integration in Social Studies education means that with just a few clicks of the mouse a student can go from reading about a subject to seeing it on video on a site like HaveFunWithHistory.  

Boughan, K., & Kerwin, M. (2006). Technology in social studies. Retrieved from                http://schoolcomputing.wikia.com/wiki/Technology_in_Social_Studies

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

 


Comments

Amber Lavoie
11/12/2012 7:39pm

Wow! MyReadingMapped is a very neat resource! I love that students can "visit" the places mentioned in books like Lord of the Rings and other favorite stories. I have to agree, Social Studies is a subject that can definitely be transformed by interactive resources!

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