Thursday, April 15, 2010

OCSS 2010 Presentation: Researching, Producing, Presenting

On April 15th, 2010, over 45 social studies educators and professionals from around Ohio and the United States showed up to participate in a discussion on the role of technology and global education in the social studies at The Annual Conference of the Ohio Council for the Social Studies. This discussion stemmed from a recently published article in Social Education entitled, Researching, Producing, Presenting: Students’ Use of Technology for Global Advocacy in Social Studies (Maguth, Yamaguchi, & Elliott, 2010).

OCSS Res Prod Presenting Tech and Global 2010

In this session, Dr. Maguth discussed the importance of teachers getting students to use technology constructively to forge a global perspective in the social studies. In order to make the presentation as interactive as possible, and to demonstrate the use of a new technology, Dr. Maguth used PollEverywhere. As discussed in an earlier posting (see below), PollEverywhere is a free program whereby teachers can create online polls that students can respond to through the use of their cell phones/text messaging. These polls can be embedded in Power Point presentations, and hold great instructional utility.

While the use of PollEverywhere added life to the discussion, the bulk of Brad's presentation focused on the Global Advocacy Project, a project implemented by a STEM High School in the Columbus, Ohio area. In this project, students used technology meaningfully throughout three different phases of the project:

Stage 1: Students as Researchers- Students used technology (mainly, the Internet) to research the eight UN Millennium Development Goals. This included researching the progress/lack of progress some states are making towards achieving the goals. Students were encouraged to access multiple sources, thinking critically about the data collected, and use SKYPE and e-mail to interview experts on their topic.

Stage 2: Students as Producers- After using technology to research state progress towards fulfilling the MDGs, students were asked to create a proposal to help accelerate progress on one specific MDG. For instance, after researching a lack of progress in regards to Ensuring Environmental Sustainability (MDG 7), one student proposed a potential multilayered solution to help developing states (mainly, in Sub Saharan Africa) achieve access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Then, she used iMovie to create a digital documentary on her proposal.

Stage 3: After using technology to create a digital artifact (i.e. Narrated Slideshow, digital documentary, website, etc.), students were asked to use their work for advocacy and to encourage greater societal awareness on this issue. Thus, the teacher created a YouTube channel whereby all students uploaded their artifact. Besides uploading these videos to YouTube for public display, the teacher embedded student videos on the school's webpage. Furthermore, many students embedded these movies on their Facebook and Myspace pages to draw attention towards their research. Besides presenting their artifacts digitally, the students also presented their research in person to members of their local community.

Students used technology appropriate and constructively in all three phases of the project. With over 87% of all students aged 12-17 using the Internet (Pew Research, 2010), and 80% of all teachers believing students' use of technology positively influences their learning, Dr. Maguth encouraged all social studies educators to devise instructional methods and assessments that both foster 21st Century Skills (Researching, Producing, Presenting), and appeal to the interests of students living in a digital and global age. Especially, since the majority of student technology use in the social studies encourages low level thinking (Friedman, 2008).

To access Dr. Maguth's presentation at the 2010 OCSS Annual Conference, Click Here

To access Dr. Maguth's global education lesson plans and activities, Click Here

Global and Social Studies Education

The website/blog allows educators in the social studies to reflect upon key issues in the social studies. It also allows teachers the opportunity to access resources that help infuse instructional media and technology, and global perspectives in their teaching.