Abstract 13- Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 2009

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 2009




Teaching Social Studies to the Media Generation

Leigh Tanner
University of Pittsburgh


Research has shown that middle and high school students, historically, have had a less than favorable opinion of social studies instruction (Hobbs & Moroz, 2001), a situation widely attributed to teacher reliance on textbooks, lectures, and worksheets (Protano, 2003). Today, this problem is exacerbated as teachers are faced with students from a Media Generation who have grown up with “cell phones that have grown to include video game platforms, e-mail devices, digital cameras, and Internet connections” (Rideout, Roberts, & Foehr, 2005, p. 4). Recent studies, however, have found that student attitudes toward, and interest in, social studies can be greatly influenced by knowledgeable, passionate teachers who include them as active participants in the learning process through lively discussions and thought provoking activities (Alazzi, 2007; Chiodo & Byford, 2004). Teachers can further enhance this instruction by using the Internet to connect students to a wealth of authentic print, audio, and video resources (McGlinn, 2007). For students of the Media Generation, effective social studies teachers are those who foster inquiring minds and employ the tools that allow history to come to life in their classrooms.

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About the Author(s)…

Leigh Tanner is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh. She has an Ed.D. in social studies education with an emphasis in curriculum and supervision. Her teaching and research interests include inquiry-based social studies education and the use of technology to enhance classroom instruction.

Contact information: School of Education, Department of Instruction and Learning, 5300 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 South Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; Email: ltanner@pitt.edu