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Commentary: Building Web Research Strategies for Teachers and Students

by Robert W. Maloy
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This paper presents web research strategies for teachers and students to use in building Dramatic Event, Historical Biography, and Influential Literature wiki pages for history/social studies learning.  Dramatic Events refer to milestone or turning point moments in history.  Historical Biographies and Influential Literature pages feature historically prominent people, both real and fictional. As teachers and students research these topics, they practice accessing and assessing online information while expanding web research and digital literacy skills.  They discover how the interactive capacities of wiki technology present people, events and literature in multimodal ways that engage students in deepening history learning. The paper includes sample event, biography, and literature pages hyperlinked to Resources for History Teachers, an award-winning open educational content wiki maintained by the History Teacher Education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  These model wiki pages incorporate primary and secondary materials, multimedia resources, and multicultural topics for teaching and learning.  Students and teachers can use these model pages to construct their own wiki pages tailored to local and state history/social studies curriculum.

Commentary: Science, Technology, and Society in Guidelines for Using Technology to Prepare Social Studies Teachers: A Reply to Hicks et al. and Crocco and Leo

by Lance Mason
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This essay is a response to both the “Guidelines for Using Technology to Prepare Social Studies Teachers” published in this journal by Hicks, Lee, Berson, Bolick, and Diem (2014) and the rejoinder by Crocco and Leo (2015).  The author agrees with Crocco and Leo’s assessment that removing the principal regarding science, technology, and society is concerning, though for different reasons.  The technology guidelines should include an examination of the nonneutrality of technology, including the psychological and social effects of technology, as part of this principle.  This approach could foster more competent decisions regarding the implementation of digital tools in the social studies curriculum.

Commentary: Revisiting “Guidelines for Using Technology to Prepare Social Studies Teachers”

by Richard Hartshorne & Scott M. Waring
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In Hicks, Lee, Berson, Bolick, and Diem (2014), the authors revisited and revised a series of principles focusing on the preparation of social studies teachers for using digital technologies in the classroom, originally presented in the inaugural issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (Mason et al., 2000).  This commentary aims to extend dialog associated with the updated guidelines, through an enhanced discussion of each of the four revisioned principles within the context of time, technology, and teacher education.  The authors’ efforts to more effectively guide the preparation of social studies educators in the utilization of technological applications in more useful, efficient, and appropriate ways is readily apparent and appreciated.

Commentary: It Is Not Only About the Computers: An Argument for Broadening the Conversation

by Scott W. DeWitt
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In 2002 the members of the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI) framed seven conclusions relating to handheld computers and ubiquitous computing in schools. While several of the conclusions are laudable efforts to increase research and professional development, the factual and conceptual bases for this document are seriously flawed. The NTLI members’ failure to address market forces, teacher agency, and sociocultural influences on schools and instruction perpetuates harmful myths about educational computing and makes successful integration of handheld computers less likely. The author argues for a more realistic, holistic, and teacher-friendly approach.

Commentary: Expanding Notions of Acceptable Research Evidence in Educational Technology: A Response to Schrum et al.

by Kara Dawson & Richard E. Ferdig
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“Developing Acceptable Evidence in Educational Technology Research” (Schrum et al., 2005) and its precursor editorial, “A Proactive Approach to a Research Agenda for Educational Technology” (Bull, Knezek, Roblyer, Schrum, & Thompson, 2005), are unprecedented collaborative efforts by journal editors to influence research in our field. This response aims to highlight the inherent complexity within each of the four main issues addressed by Schrum et. al. and to expand the conversation. We appreciate both the editors’ efforts to be proactive with the problems and solutions as well as their open invitation to comment on their ideas for advancing the field. We look forward to continued dialogue.

Commentary: Considerations in Pedagogy and Assessment in the Use of Computers to Promote Learning About Scientific Models

by Stephen T. Adams
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Although one role of computers in science education is to help students learn specific science concepts, computers are especially intriguing as a vehicle for fostering the development of epistemological knowledge about the nature of scientific knowledge—what it means to “know” in a scientific sense (diSessa, 1985). In this vein, the article by Cullin & Crawford (2003) investigated using computer modeling activities in the curriculum of a science methods course. Their goals, which transcended improving their students’ understanding of specific models, were aimed at improving their students’ appreciation of the nature of scientific modeling in general. This response to their article discusses their findings in relation to considerations pertaining to instruction and assessment in this area. Improving preservice teachers’ understanding of the nature of modeling in science is important in part because it supports a related goal of improving students’ understanding in this area. To further make the case for the value of an understanding of the nature of models in science, and as a complement to Cullin and Crawford’s discussion of teachers’ understanding of models, this response also discusses examples from a study of high school students’ interpretation of a scientific news report involving computer models.