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This paper discusses recent changes in a social studies teacher education program and the role Web 2. Teacher educators are in a constant state of revisiting and revising their teacher education programs. This article outlines recent changes in a social studies teacher education program and the role Web 2. This paper describes the experience of 18 preservice social studies teachers over the course of one semester, using Web 2. Preservice teachers must be proficient in using technology for their productivity e. Often, however, the integration of technology into preservice teacher education programs is the exception rather than the norm Cantu, As a result, preservice teachers often graduate with limited knowledge of how to integrate technology effectively into the classroom curriculum Cantu, In terms of social studies, if preservice educators are to develop instructional social studies strategies that move beyond traditional approaches, it is imperative that teacher candidates have opportunities to engage in pedagogy that uses and integrates technology in a constructivist manner Ehman, Preservice social studies teachers need to see technology effectively modeled and have meaningful opportunities to use technology if they are going to integrate technology into their future social studies teaching Bates, ; Diem, Therefore, teacher educators must effectively engage and model appropriate strategies for technology integration Bolick et al.

One way to achieve this goal is to use Web 2. The creation of a digital flexbook can provide a more inclusive and customizable approach to content construction than other traditional pedagogical devices. The term flexbook refers to the free, nonlinear, highly customizable and easy-to-use nature of open source textbooks Fletcher, The main motivation for the digital flexbook initiative was to help pull California out of its current economic crisis. Proponents of digital flexbooks argued that much of the cost going into traditional textbooks is wrapped up in hidden instructional costs, such as the instructional time wasted on collecting and maintaining books, students not doing work because they forgot their books, and districts having to spend thousands of dollars to store old books Salpeter, Obvious barriers to a digital flexbook initiative exist, such as finding the money and time for professional development with teachers, student access to technology at home, and slow-moving school and state bureaucracies.

Yet, in spite of these barriers some states and school districts are beginning to implement digital content in significant ways Fletcher, Since California announced its digital initiative plans, the states of Indiana, Florida, Virginia, and Texas have considered legislation that allows districts the flexibility to spend funds previously earmarked for textbooks on digital content Salpeter, Indeed, one of the distinct advantages of using digital content instead of traditional textbooks is the ability for users to update, edit, and expand the digital content at any given moment based on real-world events.

In addition, a digital flexbook can provide a community of users collaborative space to construct knowledge in new and different ways. Digital textbooks that publishers have created, on the other hand, restrict content creation to a small number of scholars and editors. In this way, digital textbooks often reproduce traditional teacher-textbook-centered pedagogy while digital flexbooks facilitate student-centered teaching and learning. Finally, a digital flexbook provides users with an easy-to-use platform for embedding and uploading multimedia components such as YouTube videos, student created media, flash games, and image galleries.

Thus, the development of a digital flexbook embedded in social studies can engage preservice teachers in the construction and interpretation of history through the exploration and critique of primary and secondary sources. While scholars have not agreed on a singular definition of Web 2. Applications that have been termed Web 2. Taken together, Web 2. One of the great benefits of Web 2. Simply put, when Web 2.

Thus, Web 2. This type of pedagogy is reinforced by the National Council for the Social Studies , which emphasized. Finally, the democratization of contributors that is hoped for by Web 2. To do this, educators must realize that moving students from consumers of information to editors of information is extremely important Bull et al. The use of Web 2.

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As a result, the creation of a digital flexbook could be an important step in actively engaging preservice teachers in the process of doing history while building the necessary skills for the development of TPCK. On its own, technology does not produce intellectual engagement. Cox went a bit further when she defined TPCK as the. A wiki is a Web 2. Depending on the wiki hosting site, users could mean anyone registered, or invited or the public at large.

The data from their study attests to the potential long-term benefits of using wikis for student learning p. In line with the literature on Web 2. In other words, preservice teachers become guided travelers rather than passive learners Demski, Although numerous wiki-hosting sites can be used to house this type of collaborative student-centered approach, the instructors for this course decided to use PBworks.

The open source site also maintains a 2GB storage capacity and allows for up to users. In addition, the easy-to-use WYSIWG interface allows for efficient image and video uploads, as well as the ability to embed Jing tutorials easily for students to refer to as they work. Programmatic Context. The course was designed to teach both foundations and elementary social studies methods.

Given that foundations and social studies methods are paired in this course, our presentation of methods is through a social justice lens. The course is taught in a school two mornings a week. Each morning, the students spend approximately 2 hours working in an elementary classroom and 2 hours in class.

Assignment Goals. In other words, we wanted to construct a meaningful opportunity for students to develop and build their TPCK. This project was the perfect opportunity to accomplish this goal. Working in pairs, students would have to work within the social studies curriculum in order to critique a social studies textbook, identify a topic in North Carolina history, collect historical documents, and design a digital chapter using PBworks. The term chapter is used loosely here. The term chapter often elicits notions of linear, structured historical accounts.

Each chapter in the class digital flexbook, however, can be navigated by the reader in a nonlinear fashion. The digital flexbook is composed of nine historical chapters based on topics chosen by the preservice educators. This type of approach requires students to move beyond the basic facts of the textbook in order to understand the context of historical people and events.

As the students began to collect their materials, they were asked to think of ways in which wiki technology could provide space to enhance, challenge, and expand the curriculum. Using hypertext, uploading video e. Finally, each pair of preservice teachers produced two lesson plans to accompany the chapter to be used by the practicum teachers and students.


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The lessons were expected to incorporate both the content and the use of the digital flexbook with elementary school students. By weaving together the analysis and creation of social studies content, wiki technology, and the development of lesson plans, students were provided a meaningful opportunity to develop TPCK. The second essential project goal was the embedding of the digital flexbook in local history.

Finally, the study of local history enables preservice teachers to contextualize their historical thinking within the histories and lived realities of the communities in which they will be employed.

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Finally, we wanted to expose students to ways in which many written accounts of history exclude or marginalize certain groups of people. Students were asked to critique the writing of history for the ways in which the implicit cultural assumptions, frames of reference, perspectives, and biases influence the construction of social studies knowledge within a textbook account Banks, The textbook provides fertile ground for critiquing and challenging the past, because it is beholden to economies of scale and most often ends up expressing the official knowledge of the dominant group Apple, By grounding the digital flexbook in the economies of the social studies textbook, we were asking students to reconcile historical accounts through an examination of the subtle ways in which the textbook industry privileges certain voices to the exclusion of others.

Therefore, the topics that our students chose reflect much more than a historical problem but rather represent an attempt to explore, challenge, and interpret historical narratives in more inclusive and expansive ways. Students worked in pairs over the course of one semester to develop nine social studies infused modules.

The students were challenged to include oral histories, primary sources, media texts, and other primary and secondary accounts of a historical era and events to provide a more inclusive, personal, and critical lens for studying the social studies in North Carolina. 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.

Through the use of hypertext, students potentially are better able to represent the messiness of history Ayers, Benchmarks were given throughout the semester to break the project into manageable parts and to provide feedback in terms of the direction and content of the modules.

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To help students critique a social studies textbook and to organize historical materials into chapters, instructors introduced the acronym SPRITE. The SPRITE framework is also a useful tool for helping students to better understand the nature of historical work and the interconnected nature of the social studies. Students were, therefore, asked to address four of these historical factors to ensure a more complex and interconnected account.


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The core components of the flexbook chapters consist of a an overarching question based on 9 to 11 primary and secondary sources, b a rationale for why the topic was important and how it added to or challenged the textbook account, c an index of materials located within the chapter, d a comprehensive account of the historical topic to be analyzed using the SPRITE framework, and e a teacher and student resource page. Finally, students were required to keep a semester-long virtual journal using Voicethread.

Voicethread is a free Web 2. Students were expected to post historical documents, artifacts, questions, and other materials that directly related to their experience working with Web 2. Instructors left comments, answered technical questions, and provided feedback using the comment function of voicethread. 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.

Each of these phases was unique to the process but did not occur in isolation. At times students gained awareness even as they were putting the final touches on their chapters. Often, the collection of primary and secondary sources led to new discussions and connections that needed further analysis.

However, these five phases provide a lens to situate the development of the digital flexbook project from its inception through its development. The initial stage of the project can be defined as the awareness stage. This stage was crucial to providing a basis for further critique and examination of materials later in the semester.

Students were led through readings, class discussions, and activities such as a mock trial of Christopher Columbus 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. The analysis phase was a four-part process in which students were asked to interview a current elementary school student, critique a Harcourt Horizons fourth-grade 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.

We chose to use the fourth-grade textbook because it is centered on North Carolina history, provides a universal curriculum that can be modified for K-5, and would provide a unifying theme to the digital flexbook. Students who were not teaching fourth grade were expected to used the fourth-grade social studies textbook as starting place for their topic and then modify their flexbook chapter based on the practicum classroom they were working in over the course of the semester. For the textbook critique, students were given an evaluation rubric that scored the textbook on a point scale using prompts such as the following:.

After reviewing a textbook account of their historical topic, students were asked to catalog and critique resources found within the school media resource library. In cataloging the media center resources, students were asked to determine the types of materials that were available and ways in which the materials either reinforced the textbook account of their topic or provided an alternative narrative. Last, students had class time to search the school website and associated hyperlinks for additional materials on the topic. We particularly wanted students to examine how easy the sites were to access, for whom the sites were designed, and how the historical materials found could either reinforce or omit certain voices.

After each of the above critiques, students used class time to reflect on findings, relate findings to class readings, and ask questions. The preservice teachers were also expected to reflect in a more individual setting using Voicethread. The core component of the digital flexbook was the content students selected for their wiki space. In particular, students sought to include a variety of primary and secondary sources such as oral histories, media texts e. We quickly realized that this stage of the process was going to be challenging. Most of our students had not engaged with primary sources before this class.

The vast majority of our students were unsure of how to begin collecting primary and secondary sources. Almost none of the preservice teachers had ever entered the University archives or navigated the Carolina Digital Library and Archives prior to this project. Both are excellent resources for historical materials, but we quickly realized that the students were generally unprepared to collect documents to begin developing their digital flexbook chapter. The instructors used materials borrowed from the university archives and libraries to represent different time periods and types of historical sources.

Students were given 15 minutes at each table to read, touch, and interpret the materials. We chose this particular activity to encourage the preservice teachers in thinking about the types of materials they might want to include in their flexbook chapter. In particular, we wanted students to understand the nature of historical sources and the ways in which those sources can dictate the story a historian can and will tell. The design phase of the flexbook project was the least challenging in many ways. Many of our students, if not all, can be considered digital natives Prensky, , and thus, the process of navigating the wiki site, embedding media, and finding new web 2.

Many of the students incorporated technologies that we had not required or had not heard of, such as the use of a Voki to make their content more interactive. Other groups embedded Prezi presentations e. The hardest part of this phase for students was determining the way in which the technology of the wiki could be used to best represent the historical materials and, thus, the account they were constructing.

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This was the point in which their content knowledge, pedagogical beliefs, and technological skills merged. They had to make choices for the first time in their teaching careers about content, pedagogy, and the use of technology. As part of this project and in keeping with the literature on multicultural classrooms, students were required to maintain a virtual journal using Voicethread for the entire semester. Impact Factor 2. Frontiers in Psychology is the largest journal in its field, publishing rigorously peer-reviewed research across the psychological sciences, from clinical research to cognitive science, from perception to consciousness, from imaging studies to human factors, and from animal cognition to social psychology.

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