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Integrating History and Literacy Instruction through Technology Cindy Okolo Carol Sue Englert Janet Alleman Maryl Randel Michigan State.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating History and Literacy Instruction through Technology Cindy Okolo Carol Sue Englert Janet Alleman Maryl Randel Michigan State."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating History and Literacy Instruction through Technology Cindy Okolo ( Carol Sue Englert Janet Alleman Maryl Randel Michigan State University East Lansing MI USA

2 Literacy Is a Critical Educational Goal Learning to read versus reading to learn Plateau in literacy achievement in the middle grades Literacy demands become more complex Content demands become more sophisticated Concepts Vocabulary Different representations of information Disciplinary literacy plays an increasingly important role Nature and purpose of knowledge Type of knowledge that is valuable How that knowledge is created and supported

3 Role of History Instruction in the Curriculum History in United States taught as set of facts, already known History instruction/education largely ignored in US educational reform Not tested Not funded History critical domain in its own right History instruction laboratory for other critical instructional skills and behaviors Ill-structured problems Acquisition and application of literacy

4 Intersection of History and Literacy Instruction Reading primary and secondary sources Adapted to source and context Interpretation Synthesis Critical reading Understanding evidence and bias Coordination of multiple sources and perspectives Different authors/periods of time/opinions Supporting and communicating findings Using appropriate evidence and standards Writing, reporting, representing

5 History, Literacy and Students with Disabilities Our work focuses on students with learning disabilities Discrepancy between aptitude and achievement Students who do not benefit from effective instructional practices in the general education classroom Students who learn history in the general education classroom Focus for these students is on literacy Perform extremely poorly on test of historical information Limited knowledge and understanding But, also limited instructional opportunities

6 Virtual History Museum Ongoing program of research and development Designed to help all students learn and enjoy history Takes advantage of digital history Wealth of resources on the web Organized into collections (personal) and searchable databases (researcher-created) Provides tools for supporting students with disabilities Text to speech Supported activities

7 Features of the VHM Exhibits Artifacts Activities: writing, representing (maps, charts) Historians notebook Authoring tools Easy to use interface for teachers Supports all media types Templates for creating activities Instructional organization tools Assignment Evaluation Gradebook

8 Features of the VHM Sharing Global Limited Private Differentiation Non-supported activities Supported activities Searchable databases of exhibits and activities

9 Research with VHM Three years of studies with middle school students Urban, suburban, and rural schools Progressed from pilot study in three classrooms to samples of over 300 students All in classrooms that include students with LD; including LD and non-LD comparisons Used with a variety of teacher-selected topics (but mostly US history) Teachers choose, based on mandatory curriculum requirements VHM used as a supplement to the curriculum In addition to traditional history instruction





14 Key Findings VHM improves students content knowledge Compared to traditional instruction, students who use the VHM know Students with LD learn as much as those without LD Sometimes students with LD learn at a higher rate than those without LD But VHM still doesnt close the gap in content knowledge between students with and without LD Students and teacher have highly positive attitudes toward VHM Students with LD more engaged while using VHM

15 Key Findings Historical understanding improves moderately As measured by written responses and interviews Findings stronger for students without disabilities Application of historical knowledge not evident in writing about history Narrative writing is preferred genre among student historians Fanciful elaborations and inaccuracies Writing as a list of facts Knowledge moderately correlated with historical reasoning demonstrated in students writing

16 Key Findings Students do not know how to interpret images Superficial analysis Often on irrelevant dimensions Foreground, not background Ignored multiple actors/conflicting evidence Little sense of perspective Social studies/history teachers are not comfortable teaching historical thinking or writing strategies Students with disabilities who use VHM only a few times perform worse in the VHM conditions than in traditional instruction

17 VHM II Current research and development project Focus on better integration of historical thinking strategies and content Historical thinking strategies link to disciplinary literacy strategies Continued support for students with LD Vocabulary Background knowledge Scaffolded activities Design team of MSU researchers and eight middle school teachers Technology-based environment All features of VHM plus lessons and tools (e.g., notetaking, concept mapping, reference)

18 VHM II Three strands of Historical Thinking Strategies Frameworks for Understanding History Working with Evidence Communicating History Interactive lesson plans for each strategy Vides of students using each strategy Each strategy learned in the context of topic of immigration Teachers develop VHM exhibits that are content-specific to apply each strategy

19 Strand One: Frameworks for Understanding History What does a historian do? Understanding history through cultural universals Understanding history through problem-solution-effect analysis Understanding history through chronology Understanding history through compare-contrast analysis Understanding history through personal narrative

20 Working with Evidence Sourcing Interpreting visual evidence Multiple perspectives on history Detecting bias Corroboration Hypothesizing

21 Communicating History Persuasion Argumentation Narrative Research report Debate

22 Thanks! Current site of the VHM: Project staff: Andrew Alexander Emily Bouck Sarah Cormac JJ Chandler Carrie Anna Courtad Anne Heutsche Mena Kanthakumar Donna Kregelka Ben Pineda Kumar Pongaliur Nate Stevenson

23 This work has been supported by grants from the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education, Steppingstones of Technology Innovations. Project officers: Dave Malouf, Terry Jackson. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government

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