Abstract 5- Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 2009

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 2009



Maximizing the Potential of Computer-Based Technology in Secondary Social Studies Education

Wayne Journell
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


This paper looks critically at the way technology is currently used in social studies education and makes the argument that technology can better serve teachers and students as a tool of engagement and inquiry rather than as a supplement to existing practices. In this paper, social studies education is characterized as a quest for reflective inquiry, as a social science, and as a medium for citizenship transmission. Technology can assist in the teaching of all three elements from a constructivist, or inquiry-oriented, perspective. Relevant examples are provided whenever possible and deemed necessary. The paper concludes with a proposal for widespread change in the way social studies teachers utilize technology by focusing on teacher education programs. Teacher educators must contradict students’ perceptions of traditional social studies instruction with habits of increased technology usage in order to equip future teachers with the skills required to implement pedagogical change in their classrooms.

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About the Author(s)…

Wayne Journell is a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to entering graduate work, Wayne taught high school social studies in Virginia. His research deals with citizenship education with an emphasis on technology instruction and e-learning.

Contact Information: 311 Education Building, MSC 708, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1310 S. Sixth St., Champaign, IL 61820; Phone: (217) 714-9767; Email: ajourne2@illinois.edu.