Integration of Technology in Social Classroom Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Integrating Technology in My High School Social Studies Classroom

The utilization of technology in education has gained a lot of popularity in the recent years. Great enhancements in computer software and hardware in the past decades have been noted and this has resulted to the increase of computer integration in education. The employment of computers in education unlocks a fresh area of knowledge in addition to providing a means which has the capability to change some of the inefficient and traditional educational techniques (Asan, 2003). Currently, the modernization of educational systems on the basis of data and communication technologies is thought of as very essential (ICT), in terms of literacy for the information society (Orhun, 2003, p.1; Acikalin & Duru, 2005).

The environment of the modern schools provides students with plenty of chances to conduct conversations. The students have the chance to debate, converse, tackle issues, and make certain bargains concerning their daily lives in the cafeteria, hallways, and even on the bus, frequently under minimum adult supervision. In the classrooms, however, the students are generally provided with very minimal opportunities to sharpen their discussion skills in an academic environment, frequently referred to as "classroom discourse." Cazden (1988) analyzed classroom discourse and established that this advancement in learning methods provides students with the chance to take part in the classroom conversations which they rarely conduct on their own. Through the utilization of classroom discourse, students can, and frequently do, learn more fully by conversing with their colleagues in class than being just addressed to by the teacher (Roberts, 2013).

The NCCS standards encourages the utilization of technology in social studies as a way of teaching civic participation in addition to affording chances for meaningful critical thinking activities (NCCS, 1999). Both national and state proposals concentrate on training of teachers as a way of conquering the shortages from simple technological exposure and to support the employment of technology in the classrooms. Constant attempts are made to further amend and enhance national technology standards and certification for teacher educational programs, as demonstrated in The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Project of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 2000). The proposals yielded standards for the teacher education programs on formative preparation of the prospective teachers in the utilization of technology in the classroom (ISTE, 2000). The NETS project is a combined effort between the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and between the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The outcome is the NCATE endorsed National Standards for Technology in Teacher Preparation and National Accreditation intended for programs featuring in technology teacher training and educational computing (NCATE, 2001). This extra certification stresses that teacher training programs should offer sufficient admission to computers and other kinds of technology, and anticipate students and faculty to be capable of successfully utilizing it (NCATE, 2001; Whitworth & Berson, 2003).

The drive for the addition of technology in the social studies and the attempts made in coming up with standards for technology in the same may instigate an increase in numerous kinds of technology use in the syllabus. The outcomes of this symbolize small movements towards including numerous technological developments across the field. The results, however, disclose that the most common uses of technology in social studies are internet utilization and obtaining of data on the web (Whitworth & Berson, 2003).

Classroom technology integration strategy

Technology has played dual roles within social studies: as both essential instructional devices, and as entities that have considerable influence on the social, economic and political performance of the American community (Berson, 1996, p. 486). Social studies teachers should hence be more informed of the transformations brought by technology today and attempt to manifest this transformation in their own classrooms. The social studies curriculum, unluckily, has not been greatly influenced by this technology transformation and technology's special task in the development of social studies is not extensively appreciated (Martorella, 1997; Whitworth & Berson, 2003). Like Becker's discovery, other studies have illustrated that social studies teachers drop behind other content area teachers in the implementation of novel teaching techniques offered by technology (Robyler, Edwards & Havriluk, 1997). Currently, there has been a slight emergence of innovative and modern uses of technology in social studies. The majority of the social studies teachers have began to employ technology, particularly the internet. A literature review of computer technology, however, suggests that computers continue to perform the main task of easing the student's access to the subject matter and remain somehow consigned to being an addition to the usual classroom materials (Whitworth & Berson, 2003, p. 483; ZHAO, 2007).

One of the features of social studies education entails the knowledge of facts, essential historic dates, geographical names, and so on. Hence, drill-and-practice, lessons, and study guides are among the most often utilized programs in the social studies classroom (Rice & Wilson, 1999; Berson, 1996). A national survey in the United States on social studies teachers' computer usage illustrated considerable utilization of lessons and drill-and-practice amidst the teachers. The data that was obtained from randomly chosen affiliates of the National Council for Social Studies revealed that about 24% of the social studies teachers put down these applications as primary teaching techniques. Similarly, Pye and Sullivan (2001) in an analysis of middle school social studies teachers discovered that about 22% of the teachers employed lessons and drill-and-practice. Even though the survey displayed that alternative internet and computer software were also often utilized as teaching devices in social studies, lessons and drill- and -- practice still had a lot of significance. The study revealed that these applications are the most essential teaching tools for the social studies teachers (Acikalin & Duru, 2005).

While such computer applications display suitability to be utilized in the social studies classroom, there isn't a lot of investigation on the efficiency of these applications. In accordance with Acikalin and Duru (2005), drill-and-practice programs, and tutorials appeared to possess a positive influence on attitude results and student learning (p. 520). Similar outcomes were given by Berson (1996) who discovered slight, but positive benefits in secondary student's attitudes towards the issue and performance when hypermedia study guides or computer drill-and-practice programs were applied. It appears that the information gathered on the efficiency of lessons, study plans, and drill-and-practice displayed encouraging impacts on the performance of the learners. In accordance to Berson (1996), however, more study is needed to tackle the questions concerning the consequences of these applications on the taxonomic level of students (Acikalin & Duru, 2005).

Strategy 1: Software, games, and simulations

Recently, there have been tremendous modifications in the computer-supported technology. More powerful computers and complicated programs are utilized in the schools. In accordance with Whitworth and Berson, (2003), these modifications in technology have increased the ability of utilizing more visual aids in the classrooms which lure young users. Hence, there is a lot of social studies software now present to aid teaching techniques in the social studies classrooms. According to Rice and Wilson (1996), those programs permit the students to participate in activities that support them in the construction of their own knowledge and carrying out their own research (p. 2). Similarly, Berson (1996) shows how games and recreations are capable of strengthening constructivist learning in the classroom. In accordance with Berson (1996), recreational activities assist in the improvement of students' problem-solving ability and allow them to make decisions. He also shows the realism of recreational activities that permit the students to take part in activities that would be costly, impractical, or unsafe to perform in the classroom (Berson, 1996; Acikalin & Duru, 2005).

Games and simulations are amid the most often utilized computer applications. Quite a number of educational institutions have adopted the use of games and simulations in the teaching procedures. Social studies teachers utilize these two as a means of luring the young learners and also as a means of way of breaking away from the routine tutorials. A national study in the U.S. revealed that 23.7% of social studies teachers utilized simulations as an instructional approach; this was the second greatest section. A recent research study performed by Pye and Sullivan (2001) revealed that simulations and games are amid the very common computer-based approaches after the internet. The information illustrated that 22.5% of American social studies teachers who took part in the study utilized simulations in their classes, and 28.4% of these utilized games (Acikalin & Duru, 2005).

Though it appears as if simulations and games are amid the most common instructional approaches utilized in the social studies classroom, studies on the efficiency of these approaches yield varying outcomes. According to Ehman and Glenn (1991), though simulations possess constructive influence on the student's results, there is minimal evidence that they encourage or influence students' cognitive development. Research conducted on college students pursuing an economic course revealed that the investigational group, which acquired instructions via computer simulations, demonstrated greater enhancement in content knowledge and critical thinking abilities (Berson, 1996). These results are also backed up by recent research…

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