Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Literacies and Social Studies.

The articles for this week were very interesting to me. I've read some Leu research before, and I always enjoy reading the conclusions based on such research, and this article was no different. It makes a lot of sense to start integrating technology into different content areas and using technological literacy as a starting point for creating new standards.
That being said, my favorite article was, "Fostering Historical Thinking With Digitized Primary Sources." I am very intrigued by the concept of targeted software solutions for helping develop historical thinking. It seems to me that such a software can help lay groundwork for developing truly historical thinkers in today's public schools. One student in the study made the comment, "I believe that the past is the past, and we should leave it there" (p. 10). This attitude seems oddly prejudicial and should be almost absent from today's educational system, however, I have encountered similar feelings in my school. Students are not being instructed in the *importance* history, they are just being given general facts and asked to remember them. I think the development of specific software to help students understand how to be more historical in their thinking is generally advisable.
As far as evaluating how students best can interact with the Internet, I think that this needs to be addressed in every class every day. Could a student in a modern high school really and effectively navigate through EBSCO Host or Academic Search Premier? Would many of the students know where to start? I have taught my students how to use some limited academic searches, but they quickly became confused and were not able to scan the pages for relevant details. I wonder if this is due to a lack of Internet skills, or an inability to grasp the new vocabulary? I would like to see a study done on introducing students to new Internet based applications, and how students can learn the new interface.

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