Elementary pre- and in-service educators increasingly rely on online instructional resources to supplement their curriculum. As social studies instruction has received progressively less attention in elementary classrooms, prospective teachers have fewer opportunities to observe powerful and purposeful elementary social studies pedagogy. To develop critical analysis of instructional resources found on for-profit marketplaces like Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers, students in a Midwestern teacher preparation program completed an assignment that required them to analyze online resources with a critical media literacy tool. In this qualitative study the authors conducted a content analysis of 10 of these assignments, all related to Martin Luther King, Jr., Black History Month, and the Civil Rights Movement. Through cycles of coding, the authors identified resources with problematic historical narratives, student assumptions about creator expertise and resource credibility, and the challenges of relying on a checklist for critical analysis. While the critical media literacy tool was helpful in directing preservice teachers’ attention toward meaningful social studies content, it was insufficient as assigned. The authors found that the tool failed to deeply contextualize racial platform capitalism and the need for critical race media literacy in assessing lessons about Black history.
In schools and society, technology has often been viewed as a vehicle for social progress. However, the authors argue that technologies are not neutral and neither are the societies to which they are introduced. Social studies teacher educators should, therefore, prepare teachers and teacher candidates to inquire into technologies with an informed skepticism that can confront problems of democracy within and beyond schools. The editors of the journal call for theoretical and empirical scholarship and responses grounded in, or attending to, media ecology and critical theories so the field might consider impacts on schools, society, and democracy.
Social studies teacher educators must confront the new realities of democratic citizenship education in an era dominated by misinformation and fake news. Using the Teacher Education Technology Competencies (TETCs) as a guide, the authors provide a five-part action plan for situating media literacy within social studies teacher education: connecting media literacy with the purposes of social studies education, exploring the history of fake news in United States history, tracing the history of the field of journalism and journalistic ethics, analyzing contemporary examples of fake news, and developing efficacy working with tools and heuristics for detecting fake news and misinformation. Research suggests that a comprehensive multifaceted approach to media literacy can help students develop civic online reasoning, navigate political bias, and participate in online civic activities. In order for preservice teachers to adopt media literacy as part of their teaching practice, social studies teacher educators must improve their own efficacy navigating social media, news media, and other sources of information, while integrating media literacy regularly into teacher education programs.
Information and communication technology has been accepted as a powerful tool that transforms education. The emergence of new and innovative uses of technology provides new approaches to social studies teaching. Many governments have invested vast amounts of money to enhance schools with technology and provide them with Internet access to encourage teachers to use these new approaches. However, numerous barriers still need to be considered carefully when technology is used for teaching and learning purposes. This study investigates the views of Turkish social studies teachers about barriers for technology integration into the teaching-learning process. The authors applied a quantitative survey model and administered a 34-item survey to 171 social studies teachers in Turkey. The findings indicated that the most highly identified barriers were mainly external obstacles, such as a lack of technology, restricted Internet access, and a lack of administrative and technical support. Moreover, findings showed no statistical difference between female and male teachers’ perceived barriers, while they found a statistically significant difference between teachers who attended technology-related professional development and those who did not.