Skills and Best Practices
Computers in the Social Studies Classroom
There was a time when teachers were wary of information on the Internet. That time has passed. Information on every possible topic is now readily at hand on the Internet. Although caution must be still be exercised when using a site, this is no different from analyzing hard copy sources in the classroom. To help you along the way here are some tips on using computers in the social studies classroom. Other sites will provide you with additional information.
Tips on Classroom Use of Computers
Your computers have arrived. They will shortly find their way into your classrooms. Here are some tips on how to use them to enhance your classroom environment.
One Computer in a Classroom:
- Conduct whole-class instruction using the computer as a database. Connect to an LCD projector.
- Instead of transparencies, use the computer and projector for ten-minute dispatches or journals at the beginning of each period or multisubject segment.
- The computer is capable of storing stupendous amounts of information on any topic. Use the computer as a learning center.
- Connect to a media center which would include printer, scanner, digital camera and/or camcorder, VCR and TV monitor
The Multicomputer Classroom:
- Create collaborative learning situations-four or five students on each computer. This will be difficult if the computers are lined up tightly along one wall. A better classroom arrangement is to spread the computers around the room using all four walls. This configuration allows room for groups of students to work collaboratively on each computer.
- Take advantage of small-group instruction by visiting each group individually and guiding. Provide for individualized learning by facilitating the activities of each group.
- Create specialized learning centers.
- Create a mini lab for student-authored curriculum.
Use of a Computer Lab:
- If the lab is staffed by someone who is certificated and who understands the integration of technology into the curriculum, use the lab as a lesson laboratory. Deliver your activity under the watchful eye of this colleague and confer later with him/her about how the technology might have been better employed.
- Provide the opportunity to learn the use of computer, networking and video technologies.
- Work on individual writing.
- Use instructional courseware stored in the lab.
- Instruct a whole class and provide for immediate practice.
- Use the lab as a multimedia authoring center for curriculum development.
Compare and Contrast
Dimensions of Learning has encouraged the use of compare and contrast to develop Dimension 3 thinking skills. The social studies classroom needs to be a place where more then basic facts are being learned. Use the following site to learn more about Dimensions of Learning and the teaching of higher order thinking skills. (http://www.mcrel.org/programs/dimensions/whathow.asp)
Writing in the Social Studies Classroom
This activity calls upon students to put their thoughts in writing. Research has clearly shown that there is a clear relationship between developing higher order thinking and writing. In addition, writing is an aid to all students, especially those who are least able to write. Here are some tips for working with less able students:
ERIC/OSEP Digest E590.
THIS DIGEST WAS CREATED BY ERIC, THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION CENTER. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ERIC, CONTACT ACCESS ERIC 1-800-LET-ERIC A recent meta-analysis (Gersten & Baker, 1999) highlights research-based instructional approaches for teaching written expression to students with learning disabilities, including ways to teach students how to analyze material learned in the classroom and how to write personal narratives, persuasive essays, and other genres. All of the instructional interventions studied improved the quality of students’ written products, and there was evidence of positive impact on students’ self-efficacy, i.e., their senses of being able to write.