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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Teaching the Teachers: A Blended Approach to Interdisciplinary Social Studies Methods Instruction

Brian Kahn (University of Illinois Springfield, USA)
Kristi Barnwell (University of Illinois Springfield, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 4:30pm
Teaching & Learning Effectiveness
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Plaza Court 2
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 3

This presentation will share findings of a multi-year study involving teacher candidates and faculty in a blended methods course utilizing the Library of Congress collection.

Extended Abstract

The use of primary source documents is an essential component of the preparation of secondary social studies teachers. Primary source documents are those original documents and artifacts, created by people living and working during the time period being studied. Through the use of primary sources, students studying history are presented with powerful tools for better understanding the complex nature of the past as well as the integrated nature of the social sciences in the sense that political science, economics, sociology, and geography all work together to present the stories and events of the past. Students develop higher-order thinking skills as well as the ability to process and analyze significant documents that help to explain the workings of the past. The use of primary sources can also present the classroom teacher, both in the university and in the public schools, with powerful methods for assessing the ways in which students apply critical thinking skills to better understand the past.

This project (having just completed year two) involves secondary social science teacher candidates participating in a redesigned, blended methods course, accessing and analyzing primary source documents from the Library of Congress (LOC) collection. Five social science faculty members continued their training in the use of the LOC collection and each created a new, online, inquiry-based learning module for the teacher candidates to complete, all of which were based on the disciplines of history, geography, political science, sociology, and economics. Through the reporting of quantitative and qualitative data, the presenter will share ways in which project participants believed the use of online resources in a blended environment impacted their comfort level in working with online documents, their understanding of the integrated nature of teaching the social sciences, and their skills in creating critical thinking learning experiences for their students using primary source documents.

As a result of attending this session, participants can expect to: 1)compare and contrast the structure and mechanics of a blended, interdisciplinary methods course with that of traditional methods instruction; 2)identify specific pedagogical practices that enhance critical thinking skills in the social sciences, and; 3)discuss and evaluate ways in which this type of blended format can assist in the assessment of course outcomes for students.