A case study of 21st century skill acquisition through the use of the REACH project

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this qualitative case study is to assess and analyze the impact of the teacher-created program called Reading Educational Articles for the Comprehension of History (REACH) on student acquisition of social studies content knowledge and 21st century competencies. The REACH project was developed by two experienced high school social studies teachers including the researcher, and its goal is to develop students’ content knowledge while promoting the mastery of 21st century skills. This case study was conducted with two high school United States history classes. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed through classroom observations, document analysis of student work, and interviews with the participating teacher and a focus group of students. Quantitative data were collected and analyzed through a comparison of test scores. The study found that the REACH program offers students the opportunity to build certain 21st century skills such as digital literacy (i.e., technology skills, information literacy, media literacy, and ICT literacy), communication, critical thinking, and collaborative skills. However, there was no evidence that the REACH program caused students to utilize the 21st century competencies of productivity, accountability, and leadership. Additionally, the research findings revealed that REACH participation enhanced student social studies content knowledge when compared to students who did not complete REACH assignments. This enhancement took place in both direct and indirect ways, and the adaptability and flexibility of REACH allowed the participating teacher to use the program in the manner he judged most academically productive for his students.

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Education, Educational technology, Secondary education