There is a plethora of technology resources for social studies. There are primary documents, games, maps, and videos galore. It can be extremely intimidating and challenging to dig through all of these resources to find those that are the most beneficial for students to use. I see this challenge as being one of the most difficult for incorporating technology into social studies content. It is time consuming for teachers to sort through all of the resources available. It is also difficult to make sure resources are being used in a way that is truly advantageous to the students and not just to fill time or act as a substitute teacher. As I have been learning more about technology, I believe I have found a solution to this problem that will work for me. I have discovered tools such as Symbaloo or Diigo can help me sift through resources as I have time. When I come upon a resource, I can simply save it to one of these two sites and can revisit it whenever it is convenient for me. As I look through resources, I have begun to ask myself this question: “What is the advantage of using this resource for me and/or for my students?” These two strategies help make finding resources and using them in a purposeful way more manageable.
The other challenge I often face is that students believe everything on the internet is reliable information. There are many historical inaccuracies and other errors throughout the World Wide Web. It is important that we teach our students what constitutes a good, credible source and how to evaluate their sources. It can be difficult as a teacher to know how to implement technology and also how to teach our students how to use it. Professional development centered on technology can help greatly in this aspect. It is also good practice to always test and use technology yourself before placing it before your students.
Tina Heafner states, “research recognizes various negative outcomes of technology use as social isolation, all information is “good” misperception, information overload, and the time consuming nature of technology. However, effective technology integration offers opportunities to enhance social studies instruction and to increase student motivation while preparing students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become good citizens, which are the fundamental goals of the social studies” (2004).
Heafner, T. (2004). Using technology to motivate students to learn social studies. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 4(1). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/volume-4/issue-1-04/social-studies/using-technology-to-motivate-students-to-learn-social-studies