Eighth grade social studies teachers' perceptions of the impact of technology on students' learning in world history
There are many perceptions of what should be taught in the social studies classroom. With the expansive amount of information that must be transferred to students, the job of the social studies teacher is becoming more challenging. To assist with this issue, there are numerous instructional strategies that can be employed such as anticipation guides and concept maps. These items can help keep both students and teachers on task with the required material. There are also technological instructional strategies that can be used such as WebQuests and virtual tours. These activities may increase students' ability to become more active in the learning process and teach them how to construct their own knowledge. In the middle school, there are cited issues that cause teaching and learning not to occur as intended by the teacher (Vogler & Virtue, 2007). High stakes testing is one of those areas. In the elementary and middle grades, the only subjects that received attention were ones being tested, which led to a reduction and dismissal of social studies. Also in the middle grades, teachers became overwhelmed with the amount of information they were equired to transmit to their students, especially when social studies was tested. This caused social studies teachers to remain at the "just the facts" level of transmitting information in order to have ample enough time to cover all of the content. A more specific challenge is faced by eighth grade world history teachers. Eighth grade has been cited as a pivotal period in the life of the student, for it has the potential to determine how well they will do in high school, college, and their career (ACT, n. d.). Eighth grade world history teachers have much to cover with little time to spend on each topic. This causes both teachers and students to become overwhelmed and discouraged. This research study was designed to examine the perceptions of eighth grade social studies teachers on how they felt technology impacted their students' learning in world history. It was conducted in West Alabama with five eighth grade world history teachers: Darlene, Daniel, Elijah, Trevor, and Caleb (pseudonyms). The teachers participated in three online focus group sessions and one face-to-face follow-up interview. After analyzing the results, four major themes emerged: Role of the eighth grade social studies teacher, meaningful learning, hands-on learning, and barriers to technology integration.