There are many different disciplines included under the general title of Social Studies. Over the past century, there has been a fair amount of contraversy as to what aspects of the social sciences should be included in the core curriculum required of all students, and what aspects should be made available in elective courses.
IT-Using Social Science
IT is contributing to considerable changes in
societies throughout the world. (For example, think
about how the cell phone and the Internet.)
Some of this contraversy can be seen in the article:
Austin,April (October 21, 2003). Historic battles. The Christian Science Monitor. Accessed 10/21/03: http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1021/p13s02-legn.html?learningNav. Quoting from this article:
"History teaches dates and facts. Social studies offers context and perspective. Why are the two disciplines so fiercely at odds?"
"At the core lie two distinct views of education. History advocates insist on a return to traditional instruction, while opponents assert that students need context. What the argument hides is a basic agreement that schools need to do a better job of teaching history. But neither side seems prepared to listen to the other."
While the article raises valid points, it also reflects a shallow understanding of what the discipline of history is about. A student's increasing knowledge and understanding of history is reflected in being able to understand the types of problems that historians address and the methodologies that they use. A study of history involves the generation and testing of hypotheses, and a study causality. These are higher-order cognitive activities. Memorization of dates, names, and places is only a modest part of moving up the expertise scale in one's knowledge and understanding of history.
ICT (especially the Web) gives students access to multiple sources of information--and increasingly, assess to primary sources. This provides students with the resources to explore multiple perspectives and to seek out and interpret evidence used in testing hypotheses and in exploring causality.
Digital History (n.d.). Using new technologies to enhance teaching and research. Accessed 4/15/06: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/. Quoting from the Website:
This Web site was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is supported by the Department of History and the College of Education at the University of Houston.
The materials on this Web site include a U.S. history textbook; over 400 annotated documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library, supplemented by primary sources on slavery, Mexican American, Asian American, and Native American history, and U.S. political, social, and legal history; succinct essays on the history of film, ethnicity, private life, and technology; multimedia exhibitions; and reference resources that include a database of annotated links, classroom handouts, chronologies, glossaries, an audio archive including speeches and book talks by historians, and a visual archive with hundreds of historical maps and images. The site's Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians.
Our website offers a variety of ways for students and teachers to actually do history. We have created 72 inquiry-based interactive modules that we call eXplorations. These modules provide extensive primary sources on such topics as Mexican, Tejano, and Texian perspectives on the battle of the Alamo; Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to relocate Japanese Americans during World War II and the Lyndon B. Johnson's decision to escalate American involvement in the Vietnam War in 1964 and 1965; and children's perspectives on slavery, westward migration, and World War II.
Library of Congress (n.d.). Free online resources for teachers from the Library of Congress. Retrieved 6/14/06: http://www.loc.gov/teachers. Quoting from Teachers@westat.com:
More than 10 million digitized historical artifacts are available on the Library of Congress' web site (http://www.loc.gov) ranging from ancient manuscripts to Civil War maps, from classic blues recordings to Coca-Cola commercials, from Dust Bowl photographs to Thomas Edison's first films. These unique primary sources are the raw materials of history, and bring students into close personal contact with the people, places, and events of our nation's past. K-12 classroom teachers are provided with tools to bring these collections to life on the Library's Teachers page at: http://www.loc.gov/teachers.
Over 70 original lesson plans, all created and field-tested by master teachers, provide easy ways to integrate primary sources into the curriculum. Interactive activities, historical and cultural timelines, and online feature presentations bring the expertise of the Library's curatorial experts to bear on key historical issues, and provide accessible introductions to major periods in our nation's growth. Meanwhile, the Library offers in-person workshops, videoconferencing, and other professional development opportunities to help teachers build their skills and discover new ways to bring the power of primary sources to their students.
All the materials on the Library of Congress' Teachers page are free to all, with no subscription or login required, and new materials are added on a regular basis.
The History Place. Accessed 10/18/03: http://www.historyplace.com/. Quoting from the Website:
The History Place is a private, independent, Internet-only publication based in the Boston area that is not affiliated with any political group or organization. The Web site presents a fact-based, common sense approach in the presentation of the history of humanity, with great care given to accuracy.
The site was founded and is owned and published by Philip Gavin who has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern University and a Master of Science degree from Boston University. Except where noted, the articles and text appearing throughout The History Place Web site were written by Mr. Gavin.
The History Place (where noted) also includes materials from other writers. Some, such as those listed in Points of View, have PhDs in their fields of study, and in a few cases, are well known celebrities. Other writers, such as Michael Tougias, may not necessarily have an advanced degree, but have proven knowledge resulting from extensive research on a particular historical topic.
U-TEXAS PUTS GUTENBERG BIBLE ON THE WEB
The University of Texas has digitized its entire two-volume Gutenberg Bible and posted portions of it on its library Web site: http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/gutenberg/. While other copies of the famed Bible have also gone digital, officials at the university's Harry Ransom Center say their copy is the best of the lot, because it was in use in monasteries in Southern Germany as late as the 1760s, and was heavily annotated by monks who scratched out some passages and corrected others. Other sections were highlighted for reading aloud or for use during Mass. "Our copy is the most interesting in the world," says head librarian Richard Oram, and Paul Needham, of Princeton University's Scheide Library, agrees: "This is probably the most extensively annotated and corrected copy surviving. This is a very great treasure." The digitization project began in June 2002 and the finished product gives Web viewers 7,000 images of the unique manuscript. (AP 23 Jul 2003) http://apnews.excite.com/article/20030723/D7SF4NEG0.html (NewsScan Daily, 23 Jul 2003 ("Above The Fold")
IT, Airport Security, and
Some material quoted from Grant Conways' Dissertatoin Proposal 7/30/03. This captures an essential aspect of history education.
First, authentic performance in history requires higher order thinking about essential historical questions. Newmanns model of higher order thinking argues that students need to focus on interpretation, analysis and evaluation rather than acquisition of information (Newmann, 1990a). Newmanns contrast between higher and lower order cognition supplies an introductory conception for this study:
Lower order thinking demands only routine, mechanistic application of previously acquired knowledge; for example, repetitive exercises such as listing information previously memorized, inserting numbers into previously learned formulae, or applying the rules for footnote format in a research paper. In contrast, higher order thinking challenges the student to interpret, analyse, or manipulate information, because a question to be answered or a problem to be solved cannot be resolved through the routine application of previously learned knowledge. (p. 44)
The content of this page are designed to encourage and
support two distinct but related things:
- The appropriate integration of IT into the everyday
fabric of Social Studies curriculum, instruction, and
- The development of a community of IT in Social
Studies educators who are mutually supportive. This
community will include preservice, inservice, and retired
educators, and other volunteers.
Airport Security, and Privacy
As an aftermath of the 11 September
2001 terrorists attacks in New York and Washington DC,
security at airports is being tightened. The following two
brief news items discuss potential roles of IT in this
endeavor. They can be used to facilitate (heated) discussion
in social studies classes.
Face-Recognition System Recommended For
A government committee appointed
to review airport security procedures will recommend to
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta the employment
of face-recognition systems that create a digital map of
a person's face and translate it into mathematical
formulas claimed to be as uniquely distinguishing as a
fingerprint. Privacy advocates like David Sobel regard
this as a "potentially invasive technology" whose use
will eventually expand to other purposes and endanger the
civil liberties of ordinary people. The president of
FaceIt Systems, one of the best-known manufacturers of
face-recognition systems, says he shares privacy concerns
and asserts that the answer is to have rules governing
whose photos can be included in a database of suspects or
criminals for comparison with mere passers-by.
(Washington Post 24 Sep 2001) (NewsScan Daily, 24
Ellison Proposes National Identification System
Oracle chief executive Larry
Ellison says that America needs to create a national
identification card system, and is offering to donate
Oracle's database software to make such a system
possible: "We need a national ID card with our photograph
and thumbprint digitized and embedded in the ID card. We
need a database behind that, so when you're walking into
an airport and you say that you are Larry Ellison, you
take that card and put it in a reader and you put your
thumb down and that system confirms that this is Larry
Ellison." Asked about privacy concerns, he responded:
"Well, this privacy you're concerned about is largely an
illusion. All you have to give up is your illusions, not
any of your privacy. Right now, you can go onto the
Internet and get a credit report about your neighbor and
find out where your neighbor works, how much they earn
and if they had a late mortgage payment and tons of other
information.'' Ellison argues that shoppers now have to
disclose more information to make a purchase at a
shopping mail than they do to get on an airplane, and
poses the following question: "Let me ask you. There are
two different airlines. Airline A says before you board
that airplane you prove you are who you say you are.
Airline B, no problem. Anyone who wants the price of a
ticket, they can go on that airline. Which airplane do
you get on?" (San Jose Mercury News 23 Sep 2001)
(NewsScan Daily, 24 September 2001)
Boston's Logan Airport To Use
Boston's Logan Airport, where
the September 11th terrorists boarded planes they
hijacked for their attacks on New York and Washington,
has decided to install face-recognition technology to
scan the faces of travelers and compare them against a
computerized database of suspected terrorists. The
American Civil Liberties Union has opposed the
technology, calling it intrusive and ineffective. (AP/USA
Today 26 Oct 2001) (NewsScan Daily, 26 October
Alexandria Digital Library Project [Online].
Accessed 111/16/00: http://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/.
Welcome to the Alexandria Digital Library. The
name Alexandria comes from the library of Alexandria,
Egypt, which was considered the center of all
knowledge/learning. No one place now can claim that
distinction -- but all data sources together (libraries,
academic institutions, private companies, government
agencies, etc.) are Alexandria. The project began in 1995
with the development of the Alexandria Digital Library, a
working digital library with collections of
geographically referenced materials and services for
accessing those collections. The Alexandria Digital
Library Project is headquartered on the campus of the
University of California at Santa Barbara.
Allen, Rick (August 5, 2002). : Entering History Through
Your Family's Past [Online]. Accessed 9/9/02:
Quoting from the Website:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP, 2001), the so-called Nation's Report Card,
recently reported poor marks in history for 4th, 8th, and
12th graders in the United States. Such lackluster
performances in history may not change overnight, but
teachers looking for a way to increase students' interest
in the past might want to hook them with genealogy.
Students will be joining the throngs of amateur family
historians who already make use of the World Wide Web to
examine archives, articles, and photos of bygone eras.
And surfing for the ancestral Web sites just may make
students more intrigued by history as they discover how
their own family members played a role making it, whether
large or small.
Check out the following Web sites to plan or jumpstart
a lesson on family history that can be woven into social
studies, language arts, or technology classes.
BBC. Genes. Accessed 5/12/03: http://www.bbc.co.uk/genes/.
This is an excellent Website and resource for
students and teachers. It is usful both in social studies
and in science.
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids [Online].
Accessed 10/30/01: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/.
Quoting from the Website:
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids is
brought to the World Wide Web as a service of the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office (GPO). Ben's Guide serves as the educational
component of GPO Access, GPO's service to provide the
official online version of legislative and regulatory
This site provides learning tools for K-12 students,
parents, and teachers. These resources will teach how our
government works, the use of the primary source materials
of GPO Access, and how one can use GPO Access to carry
out their civic responsibilities. And, just as GPO Access
provides locator services to U.S. Government sites, Ben's
Guide provides a similar service to U.S. Government Web
sites developed for kids.
Born in Slavery [Online]. Accessed 5/28/01:
This is one of the websites that are part of
a huge and growing Website of materials being provided by
a large number of different US Federal Government
agencies. Quoting from the Website:
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from
the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more
than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500
black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These
narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the
Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress
Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in
1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk
History of Slavery in the United States from
Interviews with Former Slaves. This online collection
is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints
and Photographs Divisions of the Library of Congress
and includes more than 200 photographs from the Prints
and Photographs Division that are now made available
to the public for the first time.
Center for Civic Education [Online]. Accessed
Quoting from the Website:
The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to
fostering the development of informed, responsible
participation in civic life by citizens committed to
values and principles fundamental to American
The Center specializes in civic/citizenship education,
law-related education, and international educational
exchange programs for developing democracies. Programs
focus on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights;
American political traditions and institutions at the
federal, state, and local levels; constitutionalism;
civic participation; and the rights and responsibilities
Today, the Center administers a wide range of
critically acclaimed curricular, teacher-training, and
community-based programs. The principal goals of the
Center's programs are to help students develop (1) an
increased understanding of the institutions of American
constitutional democracy and the fundamental principles
and values upon which they are founded, (2) the skills
necessary to participate as effective and responsible
citizens, and (3) the willingness to use democratic
procedures for making decisions and managing
College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA)
[Online]. Accessed 11/18/00: http://alliance.utsa.edu/cufa/index.htm.
CUFA consists of higher education faculty
members, graduate students, and others interested in
working with social educators such as social scientists,
historians,and philosophers. As well as being an advocacy
organization for social studies education, CUFA members
provide a forum communication among professional
educators, and examine social studies from a theoretical
research perspective. CUFA conducts its own program and
business meeting during the National Council for the
Social Studies Annual Conference.
Conway, Grant. Professional Website [Online].
Accessed 8/15/01: http://www.4j.lane.edu/~conway/index.html.
Grant Conway teaches a variety of social studies
courses at Churchill High School in Eugene, Oregon. In
addition, he teaches a social studies methods course for
preservice teachers at the University of Oregon. In
addition to all of this, he is a doctoral student at the
UO, with a specific interest in improving social studies
instruction through appropriate use of IT and other
approaches. His Website gets a lot of hits, especially in
the areas of AP History, and Music in Social Studies
Electronic Text Center [Online]. Accessed
Quoting from the Website:
The Etext Center was founded on a commonsense
vision that combines emerging network and digitizing
technologies with our subject expertise and library
skills. Our twin mission is as follows:
- to create an on-line archive of standards-based
texts and images in the humanities
- to build and support a user community adept at the
creation and use of online resources.
History/Social Studies for K-12 Teachers
[Online]. Accessed 4/24/01: http://www.execpc.com/~dboals/boals.html.
Quoting from the Website:
The major purpose of this home page is to
encourage the use of the World Wide Web as a tool for
learning and teaching and to provide some help for K-12
classroom teachers in locating and using the resources of
the Internet in the classroom.
HyperHistory [Online]. Accessed 12/18/00:
from the Website:
HyperHistory presents 3,000 years of world
history with a combination of colorful graphics,
lifelines, timelines, and maps.
Over 2,000 files are interconnected throughout the
site. In addition to that HyperHistory provides several
hundred links to the world wide web. The site itself
contains over 12 MB of images and text files, but
individual gif files are kept small enough to allow for a
Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (IATH)
[Online]Accessed 11/16/00: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/home.html.
Quoting from the Website:
IATH's goal is to explore and expand the
potential of information technology as a tool for
humanities research. To that end, we provide our Fellows
with consulting, technical support, applications
programming, and networked publishing facilities. We also
cultivate partnerships and participate in humanities
computing initiatives with libraries, publishers,
information technology companies, scholarly
organizations, and others interested in the intersection
of computers and cultural heritage.
Monheimer, Paul (2001).
Don't know if you need more help
on the IT in Social Studies section, but if you do, give
me a call. It isn't state of the art, but the site I
built for my students can be viewed at Accessed
World Cultures Teacher
The Catlin Gabel School
8824 SW Barnes Road
Portland, OR 97225
National Council for the Social
Studies (NCSS) [Online]. Accessed
from the Website:
Social studies educators
teach students the content knowledge, intellectual
skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the
duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy. The
mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to
provide leadership, service, and support for all social
Founded in 1921, National
Council for the Social Studies has grown to be the
largest association in the country devoted solely to
social studies education. NCSS engages and supports
educators in strengthening and advocating social studies.
With members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia,
and 69 foreign countries, NCSS serves as an umbrella
organization for elementary, secondary, and college
teachers of history, geography, economics, political
science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and
law-related education. Organized into a network of more
than 110 affiliated state, local, and regional councils
and associated groups, the NCSS membership represents
K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty
members, curriculum designers and specialists, social
studies supervisors, and leaders in the various
disciplines that constitute the social
Newsreels On Line. Accessed 1/17/03: http://www.britishpathe.com/index.cfm.
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 09:50:53 -0800
From: Marty Karlin
Subject: newsreel archive
NEWSREELS ONLINE If you're looking for a quick clip to
illustrate a history lesson, the archives of British
Pathe may be just the ticket. British Pathe has put more
than 3,500 hours of its old newsreels online, dating from
1896 through 1970. Source: Wired News
Newsreel archive http://www.britishpathe.com/index.cfm
I asked about free use in the US and received this
Strictly speaking our "Free Preview" files are only
available for educational use in the United Kingdom, but
we would be delighted if their potential for learning
could be extended outside these shores!
Peter Fydler Commercial Director
Oregon Trail Project [Online]. Accessed 4/26/01:
Theban Mapping Project (n.d.). Accessed 4/18/06: http://thebanmappingproject.com/. Quoting from the Website:
Valley of the Kings
Discover each tomb in the Valley in this interactive Atlas. Investigate a database of information about each tomb, view a compilation of more than 2000 images, interact with models of each tomb, and measure, pan, and zoom over 250 detailed maps, elevations, and sections. Experience sixty-five narrated tours by Dr. Weeks and explore a 3D recreation of tomb KV 14.
Explore the entire archaeological zone through this giant aerial photograph. Zoom in to see individual architectural details of temples and palaces as well as the topography of the area. Mouse over sites to get additional information about them.
US History Advanced Placement [Online]. Accessed
This site was recommended by a teacher in
Eugene, Oregon. The site was developed by a teacher in
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
Accessed 4/8/03. http://www.archives.gov/
. Quoting from the Website:
The National Archives and Records Administration
(NARA) is an independent federal agency that preserves
our nation's history and defines us as a people by
overseeing the management of all federal records.
Online access to a selection of nearly 50 million
historic electronic records created by more than 20
federal agencies on a wide range of topics; the ability
to search for records with the specific information that
you seek; important contextual information to help you
understand the records better, including code lists,
explanatory notes from NARA archivists, and for some
series or files in AAD, related documents. This section
of NARA can be accessed at http://www.archives.gov/aad/index.html.
Virginia Center for Digital History [Online].
Accessed 11/16/00: http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/.
Quoting from the Website.
The Virginia Center for Digital History promotes
the study of American history and culture, and the
teaching of both subjects in schools. VCDH seeks to
transform how American history is taught, learned,
understood, and accessed. VCDH uses the new medium of the
World Wide Web to serve schools, teachers, scholars, and
an international general public.
VCDH projects include the award-winning Valley
of the Shadow Project as well as new online digital
history initiatives--including, Virtual Jamestown, Race
and Place: An African-American Community in the Jim Crow
South, The Ground Beneath Our Feet: Virginia's History
Since the Civil War, the Correspondence of Dolley
Madison, and the History of the University of
VCDH pioneers the use of new technologies to advance
the discipline of history. We are developing XML/XSL
document delivery and search technologies, as well as
using relational databases and geographic information
systems. The goal of our research in this area is to
enable students and educators to learn history more
effectively as well as scholars and historians to reach
larger audiences and produce better documentaries and
VCDH's mission is to develop high-quality,
well-researched, and reliable history resources for the
World Wide Web and deliver them to schools, colleges,
libraries, historical societies, and the general public.
We are dedicated to open source and free access to our
materials. Our goal is to make history in a digital
format, make it accessible, appealing, and useful. To do
this we have established partnerships with the Center for
Teacher and Technology Education, the Woodson Institute
for Afro-American and African Studies, and the Center for
Liberal Arts at UVA. We have also established
partnerships with Virginia Tech, Norfolk State
University, University of Virginia at Wise, the Library
of Virginia, and Central Virginia Educational Television
Corporation in Richmond.