The social studies teacher preparation program described in this article is a 5th-year Masters of Education degree and licensure program—a graduate program preceded by a 4-year history or social science education degree offered by the College of Liberal Arts. The social studies graduate program aims at preparing teaching candidates to learn knowledge and skills necessary to plan and teach technology-rich lesson plans and resource units. Teaching candidates are required to apply new technology skills to actual classrooms, while collaborating with cooperating teachers. The program is designed to be compliant with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Program Review, which is a component of the accreditation process implemented by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). As a member of the NCATE Board of Examiners and auditor for the NCATE Program Review, the author is acutely aware of the current role played by educational technology in the assessment of given units or programs, as well as in specific candidate assessment for the preparation of PK-12 classroom teachers.
Keywords: social studies, technology resources, NCATE, ISTE, PK-12
Integrating Technology into Secondary Social Studies Curricula
The author adheres to a conceptual framework championed by his university, which specifies that all education candidates should develop proficiency with technology prior to internship. The Wright State University College of Education and Human Services (2011) state the following:
Technology is reaching into our lives more everyday. The fields of education and human services are no exceptions to that reality. The College of Education and Human Services offers a wide variety of services to support technology and to provide both students and faculty with the tools they need to take advantage of technological explosions in your fields of study. Extensive use of new technologies is apparent throughout the College - from state of the art electronic classrooms to video conferencing facilities that make teaching and learning more effective (“Technology in the College of Education and Human Services,” para. 1)
The Wright State University College of Education and Human Services conceptual framework explicitly identifies technology as one of the six facets (or strands) that encompass the intellectual philosophy adopted by those that comprise the college. The conceptual framework includes the following assertion: “The technology strand represents the Unit’s commitment to assuring professional educators/leaders/counselors and candidates are knowledgeable and able to make thoughtful, appropriate applications of technology to add value to the learning process” (para. 2).
The Integrated Social Studies Program of Study
Candidates in the social studies program must satisfy three criteria: (a) pass PRAXIS II social studies content, (b) enter the graduate social studies program with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 and maintain a graduate GPA of 3.0., and (c) enter the graduate social studies program without having received a grade of less than a “C” in any history or social science course.
The University offers courses using the quarter model. The fall, winter, and spring quarter (student teaching) are all quarters in which the candidates take a social studies methods course. Candidates begin the program with several required foundations and special education courses. Candidates must complete an assessment and practice classroom management during the summer. Candidates join their social studies cooperating teacher in late August through September for the regulation 5-day school week. Candidates then intern and teach for 3 days in the public schools from September until mid-March. During this period, candidates are taking Masters of Education (M.Ed.) and licensure courses. Candidates lead teach social studies from March until the end of the scholastic semester in June.
The College of Education requires all candidates to own a laptop computer. Thus, candidates learn computer technology and are required to use the technology in the classroom. The Education Resource Center at the University provides projection hardware to public schools that lack this technology. Teaching candidates are required to apply new technology skills in collaboration with cooperating teachers in actual classrooms. In some cases, the teaching candidates are introducing classroom teachers to a technology-rich curriculum. In other cases, master teachers reinforce the technology skills of the teaching candidates.