Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 11(2), 223-236. (2011).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article describes recent changes in a social studies teacher education program and the role Web 2.0 tools played in developing meaningful activities centered on the development of sound technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK).
The participants were 18 preservice social studies teachers.
Students worked in pairs over the course of one semester to develop nine social studies infused modules.
The students were asked to include oral histories, primary sources, media texts, and other primary and secondary accounts of a historical era and events.
Students were also encouraged to use hypertext to expand their historical accounts by linking to multimedia sites, academic journals, games, and other forms of digital content.
Finally, students were required to keep a semester-long virtual journal using Voicethread. Voicethread is a free Web 2.0 application for teachers and can be used for virtual journals, digital storytelling, oral history, and language acquisition among other pedagogical activities.
As a result, the teachers and students were engaged in a semester-long dynamic discussion about the digital flexbook project.
As the project developed, it became apparent that the creation of the class digital flexbook operated along five distinct phases: awareness, analysis, collection, design, and reflection.
Awareness - Students were led through readings, class discussions, and activities that began to open up dialog on the ways in which race, gender, language, and social class play into the writing of history and the socially constructed nature of teaching and learning.
Analysis - The analysis phase was a four-part process in which students were asked to interview a current elementary school student, critique a Harcourt Horizons fourthgrade social studies textbook using a multicultural lens, analyze the materials found in the media resource library of the practicum school, and examine the school website for additional materials.
Collection - After choosing a historical topic, critiquing the textbook, evaluating the media resource center, and examining school webpages, preservice teachers gathered 9 to 11 primary and secondary sources to facilitate the construction of an historical account .
Design - Many of the students incorporated technologies that the authors had not required or had not heard of, to make their content more interactive.
Other groups embedded Prezi presentations to make their content more dynamic and offer students more nonlinear opportunities to navigate the material.
Reflection - As part of this project, students were required to maintain a virtual journal using Voicethread for the entire semester.
Students were also asked to write a reflection at the end of the semester on BlackBoard that outlined their experience in developing the class digital flexbook.
Through the five phases outlined in this article, the students completed the course with a better understanding of the types of pedagogical praxis that are frequently privileged in the classroom.
The students also developed a more critical stance on the intersection of race, gender, and socio-economic status on the writing of history, and integrated a model for how technology can and should be used in the classroom.