Joseph South, an educational researcher, technology consultant, and former director of the U.S. Office of Educational Technology participated in a research initiative on Educational Technology Efficacy Research organized by the Jefferson Education Accelerator, Digital Promise, and the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. The working group in which he participated, one of 10, focused on preparing future teachers and educational leaders to make effective decisions related to evaluation of educational technology products and selection of appropriate technology tools. South responded to interview questions developed by members of Working Group E of the Jefferson Education Accelerator initiative on the Efficacy of Educational Technology Research.
The inaugural issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education provided a series of guidelines for using digital technology to prepare teachers in the fields of social studies, math, English and science. In this paper, the authors reflect upon, revisit, and rethink the original guidelines for using digital technologies to prepare social studies teachers in an effort to facilitate theoretical and practical discussions that may, once again, serve as a foundation from which to approach the preparation and development of social studies teachers over the next few years.
In the current state of social studies education, field trips are being cut from many schools’ curriculum. While not a true substitution, today’s technologies provide some opportunities through virtual field trips (VFTs) to simulate these experiences, engage students in knowledge production and disciplined inquiry, and have interactions with the dedicated staff members from these historic sites. Many of the current VFTs, however, fall short of this goal and instead serve as an updated form of a content delivery model, with little interaction or student engagement in historical issues. This article describes research on field trips, hybrid distance learning models, and virtual field trips in the social studies and other areas, as well as a critical case study of one of the most prominent and long lasting virtual field trips, Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip program. A model for future social studies VFTs and ways to integrate these VFTs into authentic social studies instruction are developed. The case study revealed a number of key issues that arise in the development and execution of VFT programs, and the ensuing VFT model should be helpful for teachers and VFT developers.
In March 2002, members of the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI) met in Charlottesville, Virginia to discuss the potential effects of ubiquitous computing on the field of education. Ubiquitous computing, or “on-demand availability of task-necessary computing power,” involves providing every student with a handheld computer—a situation with enormous repercussions for education and teacher education. Over a two-day period, participants engaged in intensive discussion of the issue of ubiquitous computing and developed seven conclusions. This paper, written by the representatives from social studies organizations, seeks to examine the specific implications of these seven conclusions for the field of social studies education. The paper discusses the concept of ubiquitous computing and the impact this technology shift may have on social studies curricula, teacher preparation, software development, and research agendas.