Framing Historical Thinking in the Digital Age

Framing Historical Thinking in the Digital Age

Scott M. Waring (University of Central Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8009-6.ch021

Abstract

It is undeniable that students today are fundamentally different than those of previous generations and that many students of this generation do not enjoy history, as it is typically ranked as one of the least favorite subjects in K-12 schools. A large reason for this is the fact that much of the curriculum and instructional approaches are outdated and of little interest to students and do not mirror the approaches and methods employed by historians. As educators increasingly move towards teaching in online environments, it is critical that history educators structure instruction to meet the needs of the student, while making it effective, engaging, and authentic. This chapter focuses on ways that educators, in a mixed-mode or online environment, can attend to the four dimensions of the college, career, and civic life (C3) framework for social studies state standards: helping students in evaluating sources and using evidence, developing questions and planning inquiries, applying disciplinary concepts and tools, and communicating conclusions and taking informed action.
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Introduction

It is undeniable that students today are fundamentally different than those of previous generations and that many students of this generation do not enjoy history, as it is typically ranked as one of the least favorite subjects in K–12 schools (Allen, 1994; Black & Blake, 2001; Jensen, 2001; Steffey & Hood, 1994; Zhao & Hoge, 2005). A large reason for this is the fact that much of the curriculum and approaches with which they are presented are outdated, of little interest to our student population, and do not mirror the approaches and methods employed by historians in the field (Brooks, 2014; Levstik & Barton, 2015; Loewen, 2009; VanSledright, 2014; Waring, 2011). Additionally, much of the curriculum being used was not designed for students of the digital age, is ineffective, and does not attend to the ways in which they learn (Prensky, 2001a, 2001b). It is vital that history educators reinvigorate the history curriculum and teach in a manner that is geared towards these digital natives, and as educators increasingly move towards teaching in online environments, it is critical that they structure instruction to meet the needs of the online student, while making it effective, engaging, and authentic (Cohen & Rosenzweig, 2005; McGrew, Breakstone, Ortega, Smith, & Wineburg, 2018; Miller & Toth, 2012; Scheuerell, 2007; Waring, 2014). One way to do this is to integrate the teaching of history with available digital resources and to allow students opportunities to conduct authentic historical investigations in online environments (Brush & Saye, 2014; Craig, 2017; Friedman, 2006; Mauch & Tarman, 2016; Scheuerell & Jaeger, 2015; Swan & Hicks, 2006; Swan & Hofer, 2013; Waring & Bentley, 2012).

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