Chapter 12 discusses the difficult task of teaching Social Studies in that the subject area covers such a vast amount of content and can involve many different areas of study including politics, geography, psychology, economics etc. (Roblyer and Doering, 2010, 347-48). Having majored in history as well as having taught history and geography off and on for the last 11 years, I completely agree with this statement as very little of the history I took in university has actually be the content for which I have delivered lessons. This means, I am always trying to increase my own content knowledge. Time is always a problem because there never seems to be enough to cover what I would like to offer the students so it is challenging; Yet, I actually think this is why I enjoy teaching Social Studies so much because there are always new things to be learned and new and exciting ways to approach its instruction.
My own middle grade students have always struggled conceptualizing days long ago and many wonder why it is of any relevance to their own lives. I am aways trying to help them find ways to make connections and to realise that understanding the past, helps us to guide us in the future. I would love to be able to better engage them by involving technology. One of the major challenges is that it cannot be too time consuming due to the the vast amount of information to be covered.
While there are many great suggestions listed in the textbook for integrating technology with Social Studies, the only one that would fall under the category of Web 2.0 tools is a using a site called VoiceThread. “VoiceThread allows students to post content ( e.g. photos, video and pfds) and comment on each other’s work in an online learning environment.” ( (Roblyer and Doering, 2010, 351). Through my own researching on the Web, I discovered that VoiceThread comes highly recommended by other educators. (See Larry Ferlazzo’s, The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education 2007). I decided to set up a VoiceThread account to experiment and discover what it was all about. I think it is a very intriguing tool. I was trying to brainstorm and research how different educators may have used this for social studies when I located a very helpful Google Doc entitled Seventeen Interesting Ways* to use Voicethread in the Classroom.(Barret, October 19th, 2009, http://tbarrett.edublogs.org/interesting-ways/ )
There are many possibilities for this creative Web 2.0 tool.
Roblyer M. D. & Doering, A. H. (2010) Integrating educational technology into teaching (5th ed.) Toronto: Ally & Bacon.