In order to support 21st century students, technology and innovation must be a part of instruction to engage students. As technology continues to grow at an astronomical pace, teachers must stay current on incorporating technology into instruction.
Create a 3-5 minute explainer video to inform fellow teachers about three appropriate media and technology resources that support content, skill development, and engage and support the learning of all students, and how they can relate to humanities content areas.
Include the following for each resource in your video:
· Summary of the resource, including links and relevant information needed to access it
· How the resource will support content and skill development, particularly in humanities
· How the resource will engage students and support learning
· How the resource will foster innovation and problem solving
In addition, submit a one-page outline summarizing the information in your video.
Support your findings with a minimum of three scholarly references.
Submit your summary, video links, and references on the “Explainer Video Template.”
While APA style format is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and in-text citations and references should be presented using documentation guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
This assignment uses a rubric. Review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.
Sustainable Innovations: Bringing Digital Media and Emerging Technologies to the Classroom
Because traditional schools struggle to effec-
tively understand, implement, and sustain digital
learning initiatives, innovating with digital media
in classrooms is a difficult endeavor. Prac-
titioners need examples to better understand
conditions necessary to move forward with
digital media and learning (DML) in schools.
This article provides examples and supports
research proposing that context and culture
matter when innovating in schools. Three class-
room cases using Web 2.0, app development, and
game design are discussed, offering educators a
pathway to consider similar pedagogical and
participatory approaches to foster learning.
Classroom contexts, teachers’ perspectives, dis-
trict supports, technical requirements, and
scalability are highlighted. The examples suggest
innovative DML initiatives can flourish within
schools when participants are mindful of context
and when a participatory culture is supported
(Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, &
INNOVATION WITH digital media to promotelearning in schools is fraught with challenges. Prohibitive policies, inadequate infrastructure,
curriculum requirements, and insufficient pro-
fessional development limit teacher and student
digital media and learning (DML) experiences
(Collins & Halverson, 2009). The structure of
schooling with teacher-directed, inflexible blocks
of time runs counter to openly networked,
participatory practices enabled by digital media
(Fahser-Herro & Steinkuehler, 2009). Limited
support and embedded, industrial-age practices
like standardized instruction taught in discrete
chunks of time, common to schools, thwart
innovation and change (Cuban, 2001; Ertmer,
2005; Shaffer, 2006).
Research and models toward sustainable
DML practices suggest pathways for scalable
Danielle Herro is an assistant professor of Digital
Media and Learning at Clemson University.
Correspondence should be addressed to Professor
Danielle Herro, Eugene T. Moore School of Education,
Clemson University, 205 Tillman Hall, Clemson, SC
29634. E-mail: email@example.com.
Color versions of one or more of the figures in the
article can be found online at www.tandfonline.com/
Theory Into Practice, 54:117–127, 2015
Copyright q The College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University
ISSN: 0040-5841 print/1543-0421 online
innovations that can happen in schools. The
Consortium for School Networking (2014)
engaged in MacArthur funded research selected
13 innovative school districts detailing policies,
practices, challenges, and successes using digital
media for learning. The resulting whitepaper
suggested that to scale technological innovation
educators must (a) consider the context of
innovations, and (b) make a commitment to
shift classroom culture. It argued that sustainable
innovations must be supported by broad commu-
nity participation, ranging from policy changes to
professional development and collaborative
partnerships (Chamberlain et al., 2013).
Context, or circumstances unique to each
classroom, must be accounted for when con-
sidering ways to innovate. Tightly prescribed
reform models are often ineffective, as they fail to
consider teachers’ daily classroom conditions.
“One-size-fits-all educational innovations do not
work because they ignore contextual factors that
determine an intervention’s efficacy in a particu-
lar local situation” (Clarke & Dede, 2009,
p. 353). To enact meaningful, scalable change,
schools must consider the operational context and
identify what works for them based on their needs
and environment. Coburn (2003, as cited in Clark
& Dede, 2009) proposed four interrelated
dimensions that encompass meaningful reform,
Depth: deep, consequential changes in
classroom practice and curriculum altering
Sustainability: maintaining changes over time;
Spread: diffusing the innovation to other
classrooms and schools; [and]
Shift: districts, schools, and teachers assuming
ownership of the innovation spreading the
impact. (p. 354)
In a similar vein, Songer, Lee, and McDonald
(2003) discussed scaling innovation through an
approach using “maverick” teachers (p. 495).
They described how interested and technologi-
cally savvy teachers may be early adopters
(mavericks) who can customize innovation to fit
their needs without extensive guidance and
adequate support. However, to scale innovations
systemic support and the capacity to adapt the
innovation to the local context are necessary,
and this often requires assistance from other
teachers, district administrators, or local
Recognizing that context matters is an
important, first step in proposing, driving, and
sustaining innovation. It takes vision, planning,
support, and commitment considerate of the
local reality to reform beliefs and practices with
Culture plays another significant role in
transforming classrooms with digital media.
Learners of all ages now participate in technol-
ogy-mediated, social and cultural communities to
share, support, and refine expertise. Jenkins et al.
(2006) defined this participation as a “participa-
tory culture” which includes “relatively low
barriers to expression, strong support for creating
and sharing with one another, informal member-
ship in which experience is passed to novices, and
members believing their contributions matter”
This article presents three innovative class-
room cases offering students opportunities to
learn through Web 2.0 tools, apps, and games,
drawing on teacher perspectives to understand
sustainability. Classroom contexts, teachers’
perspectives, district-level supports, technical
requirements, and scalability are highlighted.
I offer a framework not for particular tools but,
instead, to promote sustainable practices through
broad pedagogical approaches and participation
in a supportive, visionary culture.
Two overarching ideas presented provide a
basis for this article: being mindful of context
(Clarke & Dede, 2009) and offering opportunities
for involvement in a participatory culture with
DML matters when innovating with digital media
in schools (Jenkins et al., 2006). The article
concludes by discussing the context and culture
common among the cases proposing what
teachers might do to foster innovation within
Digital Media and Learning
Case 1: Integrating Web 2.0 Tools in a Social
This case includes 2 teachers, Jill and Barbara,
and 37 students in 2 eighth-grade suburban
classrooms participating in a 9-week technology-
laden social studies curriculum asking students to
explore various perspectives on a global topic.
Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and social bookmarks
facilitated topic investigation and discussion. The
curriculum was cowritten by the teachers and the
District’s Instructional Technology Administra-
tor (ITA). For 9 weeks, the ITA supported
teachers and students through curriculum revi-
sion, coteaching, and general classroom tasks.
Topics included global issues such as going
green, cloning, animal testing, war, healthcare
reform, and the death penalty. Learning objec-
tives targeted social studies standards, and were
aligned with district-sanctioned English language
arts and technology standards. Criteria sheets and
rubrics directed students and provided guidelines
for formative and summative assessments. Class
was conducted in 2 middle school computer labs,
and consisted of daily, 55-minute lessons.
Students could choose the elective course, with
75% of approximately 150 students across both
sites electing to enroll during an academic
Teachers provided content on teaching blogs,
acted as guides or facilitators more often than
engaging in direct instruction, and allowed
students choice in content and aesthetics for
their media creation. Group decision-making and
content sharing were encouraged. Students
created blogs after researching the issue, and
presented evidence citing the pros and cons of the
controversy with images, polls, and hyperlinks to
support reasoning. A screenshot representing a
typical blog is shown in Figure 1.
Students further supported their viewpoints by
creating podcasts role-playing stakeholders such
as famous scientists debating animal testing in
a radio news show, interviewing professors
discussing the pros and cons of cloning, or a
game show featuring contestants answering
questions about “going green.”
In this case, both teachers believed that digital
tools shifted their role away from “teachers
modeling technology” to “teachers facilitating
learning.” Barbara said she moved beyond
teaching research (retrieval) on the Internet or
simply providing step-by-step instructions, to
being flexible with new technologies; Jill
believed her role shifted from teacher-directed
to teacher-facilitated technology instruction.
Two primary district-level provisions allowed
this curriculum to move forward. First, a DML
support group called the Tech Cabinet was
developed, consisting of the Director of Instruc-
tion, Network Manager, Instructional Technol-
ogy Administrator, Library Media Specialist and
teachers. The Tech Cabinet was charged with
supporting teachers’ integration of digital learn-
ing. For example, teachers wanting to integrate a
digital game into their curriculum proposed it
to the Tech Cabinet seeking technical support,
demonstrating curriculum alignment, and
suggesting professional development for others.
The Tech Cabinet ensured that necessary
decision-makers moved ideas forward.
In addition, policies were rewritten allowing
students to access typically blocked Internet sites,
in turn compelling technical services to open sites
required for topic exploration, e.g., Google
accounts, Wikipedia, and YouTube. At times,
this required informing or asking permission
of the School Board, parents, or community.
Rethinking policy was key in allowing techno-
logical innovation and then aligning practices
(Chamberlain et al., 2013, p. 7).
With the exception of adequate broadband to
download YouTube videos, technical require-
ments were minimal. Computer labs existed in
Herro Sustainable Innovations
each school and nominal bandwidth was required
to access digital tools. Social media and web sites
utilized included Google Docs, Blogger, Deli-
cious, Audacity, and Wikispaces. Twenty iPods
were purchased via reallocated district funds
(typically spent updating hardware) allowing
students to check out devices and peer-review
podcasts at home.
To extend teaching and learning and promote
innovation, Jill and Barbara delivered content on
blogs, acted as facilitators more often than using
direct instruction, and allowed students creativity
and choice in content and aesthetics. Group
decision-making and content sharing was encour-
aged. In turn, students tremendously engaged in
the tasks, accessed tools from home and school,
and met expectations on criteria-aligned assign-
ments. Some students expanded their learning
outside of school, mixing music with Audacity or
creating personal blogs or podcasts.
The proposed pilot course was considered so
successful it was expanded the next year scaling
to six, versus four, sections at each school; the
classes filled to capacity. Furthermore, course
teachers immediately extended the tools and
learning to their other courses, integrating social
bookmarks, blogging, and podcasting units in
fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-grade classrooms. They
offered professional development and created
onsite, summer graduate courses for their
colleagues. Although the course eventually
became required, the District’s intention was to
embed the tools and teaching across curricular
areas making the elective course unnecessary.
Figure 1. Screenshot of Student-Created Blog.
Digital Media and Learning
Case 2: Supporting a Traditional Science
Curriculum With App Development
Delaney has been teaching eighth-grade
science for 8 years in a mid-sized suburban,
Southern city. Beginning in 2013, Delaney
utilized MIT App Inventor (http://appinventor.
mit.edu/) to support a 4-week, 12-lesson fossil
unit in science. The approximately 25 students in
each of the three eighth-grade science classes in
which the unit was taught represented a range of
abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.
Students learned about fossils as part of a rock
unit informed by state science standards.
Essential questions guided research regarding
fossil formation, and students ultimately designed
a story-telling app demonstrating understanding
of their investigations. Apps were designed with
images, buttons, and text providing users with
answers to questions such as “How do fossils
form?” or “Where are fossils found?” or “What
are the different types of fossils?” At the end of
the 12 lessons, each student planned (via
storyboarding), designed, play-tested, and revised
an app. Figures 2 and 3 provide an example of a
Delaney discovered app creation while attend-
ing a 2-day workshop focused on MIT App
Inventor, hosted by a local university.
In conversations during planning sessions before
the unit, she expressed excitement over bringing
interest-based learning to her classroom citing
media use by her previous eighth-grade students
as motivating, social, and production-oriented.
Throughout the unit, Delaney reminded her
students that creating apps was novel; she
encouraged collaborative learning and made
changes and improvements as the unit
Delaney believed that engaging in the unit
assisted students in thinking critically about the
content (fossils) while designing and solving
problem when creating apps. She thought it
provided a foundation for students to consider
courses or careers involving visual programming.
During the unit, Delaney created numerous
instructional materials supporting learning,
made revisions, and committed to reteach the
unit the following year in her classroom and other
District classrooms. She frequently commented
on being flexible and embracing change with
Figure 2. Screenshot of Student’s App in Designer View Using MIT App Inventor. Used with permission.
Herro Sustainable Innovations
The school is part of a large county district
consisting of 83 schools. Technologically pro-
gressive by today’s standards, the district’s
students were encouraged to bring their own
devices, and the district adopted Google Apps for
Education and Edmodo (https://www.edmodo.
com/) across 18 middle schools and 14 high
schools. The district web page encouraged using
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for communi-
cation. Although Internet filtering was common,
the district allowed limited access or unblocks
educationally valuable web sites. Policies encour-
aged responsible use, and the district provided
technology coaches, extensive on-site pro-
fessional development, and workshops facilitat-
ing technology innovation. Its innovative culture
included supportive policies, a district commit-
ment to using social media, and teacher
Before implementing the curriculum, district
technicians downloaded MIT App Inventor on 28
school-owned laptop computers. An important
component of building an app is play-testing the
in-progress app, so the partnering university
purchased Android tablets, and technical support
ensured Wi-Fi connectivity between the laptops
Delaney intended to scale the MIT App
Inventor unit to other students and classrooms:
(a) reteaching the unit to three classes during the
pilot; (b) offering afterschool workshops to
introduce her colleagues to App Inventor; and
(c) applying for a district-level technology
coaching position hoping to integrate app
creation in other middle school classrooms.
Case 3: A Game Design Curriculum for High
In its first year, 174 students at a Midwestern
public high school completed an introductory
Figure 3. Student Coding in Blocks Editor View of MIT App Inventor. Used with permission.
Digital Media and Learning
gaming course designed for students to examine
the history, elements, purpose, and usefulness of
games. The half-credit elective course was
offered in 90-min or 45-min blocks for 9 and 18
weeks respectively. After studying the value of
games in business, military, science, healthcare,
and education, students collaboratively played
and designed games. Criteria and rubrics aligned
to technical education, computer science, digital
literacy, and technological skill proficiencies
determine student success. The instructor scaf-
folded learning in this media-rich course; Google
Apps, Daqri (http://www.daqri.com/), The Game
Kodu (http://www.kodugamelab.com/), Scratch
(http://scratch.mit.edu/), and Augmented Reality
Interactive Storytelling (ARIS; http://arisgames.
org/) facilitated communication, problem-sol-
ving, and design work. Peer evaluation and
play-tester feedback guided modifications.
In each course, students had played, designed,
and peer-reviewed a variety of board, digital, and
mobile games. Although student achievement
was undeniably important in measuring success
within any curriculum, the District’s initial focus
was on piloting, revising, and sustaining game-
design and game-play opportunities.
The teacher, James, considered himself a
gamer who understands the value of games to
encourage problem solving and creativity.
He began gaming in elementary school and
continues to investigate and play new games for
personal and educational use. His identity, his
vast experience, and his immersion in gaming
culture influenced his perspective. Throughout
the course, James noted that the appeal of games
encouraged students to produce high-quality
content, and he was pleased with their work.
His students designed a host of multiscreen,
multiplayer games (in Kodu), complex program-
ming (in Scratch), and intricately scripted and
detailed mobile games (in ARIS).
Students’ varying academic performance,
behaviors, scheduling, and technical require-
ments were James’ greatest challenges.
In addition to high-performing students, he
acknowledged that the courses drew a fair
number of students with attention deficit disorder,
mild autism, or behavioral issues. He addressed
the challenges by rethinking collaborative
groups, opening the lab at lunch and after school
to accommodate students needing additional
time, and asking school administrators to use
block scheduling for the course. Issues with
technical support remained an ongoing frustra-
tion especially when new gaming platforms were
introduced. Despite the challenges, James
believed that the course succeeded in teaching
students design, technical, critical thinking, and
The gaming course was supported by a culture
intentionally built by the district 3 years prior to
curriculum implementation. Building the culture
entailed (a) policy changes to review, unblock,
and consider responsible use for all forms of
media; (b) on-site professional development and
graduate courses that discussed technology-
related research and trends; (c) community
involvement and communication with digital
media tools; and (d) directed efforts to pilot and
evaluate content-focused units with embedded
Web 2.0 tools and mobile devices. In all
likelihood, games, as part of formal curricula,
would not have been embraced without this
supportive culture. The district was clearly
committed to innovation demonstrated by their
vision, curriculum writing, and resource and
Because the course relied on inexpensive or
free web sites, videos, and platforms, start-up
costs, beyond the instructor salary and existing
computer lab, totaled less than $8,000. Initial
expenditures included game controllers, mobile
devices, board games, and game-making supplies
partially funded by a local computer company.
Upgrades or technological advancements in
gaming platforms, tools, or online spaces dictated
Herro Sustainable Innovations
technical changes, at times limiting game and
After the first year, the district continued
expanding learning options by forming after-
school clubs where students built interest-based
games, develop apps, and make community
connections. For instance, a local museum
enlisted student-game designers to build an
augmented reality game for patrons examining
exhibit artifacts, and a public education foun-
dation provided funds for high school game-
designers to create Smartboard games for
younger students. After Minecraft (https://mine-
craft.net/) was introduced in a high school
afterschool club, the district extended the
learning to two other middle schools clubs, and
eventually integrated Minecraft within formal
Popular with staff members, community
members, and students, the course was con-
sidered a viable model to use games for learning,
and resulted in developing a second high school
game design course the next academic year.
Focusing on computational thinking practices
and sophisticated design environments, new
course units explore MIT App Inventor, Portal
2 (http://www.thinkwithportals.com/), and Unity
(http://unity3d.com/) as preparation for careers
involving design and systems thinking.
Understanding Context: What Might
Undoubtedly, moving forward with social
media, app and game design in classrooms
requires forethought and presents challenges. The
teachers outlined in the first two cases were eager
to consider curricular innovation in their class-
rooms, but unskilled in the digital technologies
and integration methods they employed; admit-
tedly the gaming teacher in the third case was
more of a “maverick” (Songer et al., 2003) with a
gaming mindset and experience, but he lacked
resources to write and implement the curriculum.
All of the instances required district-level support
and forethought to match the teachers’ interest
and ability to expertise and resources. Supporting
their interests resulted in increased use and
customization of innovative digital tools for their
classrooms. Increased planning and professional
developed is particularly important for teachers
using highly innovative game or app design
platforms such as MIT App Inventor, Kodu, or
ARIS, which are novel in their use of visual
programming, game-like environments, or inte-
gration with mobile technologies.
The examples herein also demonstrate the
absolute necessity of teachers cognizant of what
might work in their particular setting, whether
tying the innovation to requisite standards,
embedding it within current curriculum, or
offering new courses. The teachers innovated in
ways suited for their particular situation; Jill and
Barbara were comfortable trying numerous Web
2.0 tools; Delaney focused on supporting her
science curriculum with one innovative tool; and
James had expertise and backing to create an
entirely new game-based curriculum using
available games and customizing instructional
materials. District-level entities like Tech Cabi-
net, instructional coaches, and availability of
digital resources further supported their work.
The cases suggest that teachers would benefit
from considering the following when moving
forward with classroom innovations:
1. Take advantage of available district sup-
ports such as instructional coaches and
professional development, as well as
sanctioned tools like Edmodo, Google
Apps for Education, or other digital
resources. Make use of the often available
and underutilized instructional and the
increasingly common onsite professional
development focused on integrating tech-
nology. Share best practices among col-
leagues to offer support to locate, create,
refine, or coteach innovative lessons. Many
school districts facilitate this by creating
online repositories with district-endorsed
available tools, easing technical or policy
Digital Media and Learning
2. Focus on addressing innovation within
particular classroom contexts; with thou-
sands of free and available digital
resources, it is impossible and unnecessary
to understand the affordances of every tool.
Excellent resources are provided online,
including award-winning sites such as
Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything
ations devoted to helping teachers innovate
such as Edutopia (http://www.edutopia.
org/), or trusted educational blogs such as
or The Tech Savvy Educator (http://www.
techsavvyed.net/). The sites provide
resources to assist in choosing appropriate
tools that fit with content. Although many
tools can be learned via YouTube videos or
exploration, it is important to note which
digital tools require extensive time or
professional learning before introducing
them to students.
3. Advocate for technical support and polices
allowing access to educationally relevant
sites. Many districts separate technical
support from instruction, resulting in a
lack of common understanding and shared
goals, which hinder instructional progress.
Work with school-level administrators via
informal conversations, ad hoc committees,
or formal “Tech Cabinet” entities as
outlined previously to accelerate innovation
faster and cohesively.
4. Embrace the ever-shifting features in digital
tools. Unlike standard software packages of
the past, frequently updated online tools are
the norm. Students quickly adapt to changes
after learning the basics of digital tools, and
teachers can learn from their students and
accept a mindset of adaptation.
Similar to other successful school districts, the
innovations in these cases spread to other
classrooms and clubs, or extended curricular
opportunities because of supportive district
policies, job embedded professional develop-
ment, or assistance from a local university
(Chamberlain et al, 2013).
Fostering Participation: What Does it
Each case offered a “participatory culture”
(Jenkins et al., 2006, p. 5) that assisted in the
refinement or success of the innovation. Jenkins’
four main principles of a participatory culture,
outlined in the following with examples, offer
teachers a window into the possibilities for
Low Barriers to Expression
Across the cases, teachers and students
experienced “relatively low barriers to
expression” (Jenkins et al., 2006, p. 5) with a
host of available media. Web sites were
unblocked allowing access to Web 2.0 tools,
MIT App Inventor, and games. Digital media was
accessed in and out of school. Likewise, to enact
change and encourage expression with digital
media, teachers can and should familiarize
themselves with student use of media outside of
school and encourage similar skills in school.
Infographic creation, blogging, audio mixes, or
fanfiction writing, which are all readily available
online (and typically free), present low barriers to
learning and expression. For more difficult media
to adopt, such as games or coding programs,
teachers might participate in workshops or
professional development centered on how
these learning tools can foster creativity, design
and production while teaching requisite skills;
students will likely consider the tools “low
barriers to expression.”
Strong Support for Creating and Sharing Creations
The examples showed “strong support for
creating and sharing creations” (Jenkins et al.,
2006, p. 5); teachers encouraged students’
interests, peer review, and sharing of media
online, through portable means (iPods), or within
the community. Collaboration was fostered with
a local museum, during game nights, in online
communities, or in afterschool clubs. Teachers
can and should assist students in forming
Herro Sustainable Innovations
community memberships—online or local—
extending their access to mentors and peers
while supporting student interests and modeling
peer review. Likewise, teachers can share units,
lessons, resources, and student work with one
another, supporting best practices and discussing
Informal memberships allowed “experience to
be passed to novices” (Jenkins et al., 2006, p. 6)
as evidenced by the teachers’ use of teaching
blogs, peer apprenticeships in student groupings,
teacher workshops, or club events. Teachers in
the cases assisted other teachers, and students
instinctively assisted one another within each
unit. Accessing professional learning commu-
nities such as those found on Twitter or Pinterest,
forming cohorts with interested colleagues, and
committing to sharing best practices fosters and
supports new learning transferable to classrooms.
Membership within these groups centers on
common interests (e.g., enlisting fanfiction to
teach literacy, using iPads for digital storytelling,
or game design to teach STEM skills), where
teachers, students, and others with expertise help
one another achieve goals within informal
In all three examples, members “believed their
contributions mattered” (Jenkins et al., 2006,
p. 6). The district supported teacher-generated
pilots, encouraged creating units or courses,
offered technical support, and supported pro-
fessional development. Students were encour-
aged to review one another’s work, to bring
forward interests in media creation, and, at times,
to direct the type of media used to expand
learning. The participatory culture assisted in
sustaining and scaling innovation. Teacher-to-
teacher, teacher-to-student, and student-to-stu-
dent feedback, constructive critique, and sugges-
tions for refining work can build a culture within
or beyond classrooms where participants believe
their contributions matter and are worthy of
review and feedback. Additionally, pilot ideas
acknowledging the potential for failure or
refinement allow contributors to safely take
risks while legitimizing the contribution.
Shifting Policy and Practice: A New
Role for Teachers
The teachers frequently discussed their roles
as facilitator versus instructor; each committed to
altering their classroom practice during or after
the initial curriculum or unit was taught. They
adapted to change and implemented new ideas
when reteaching the courses or units. In the first
and third cases, teachers spread the DML
experiences to other district classrooms via
workshops, professional development, or new
course creation. The cases support Coburn’s
(2003) notion that changes in classroom practices
can produce meaningful reform. Teachers altered
their teaching beliefs (depth), maintained the
innovations over time (sustainability), and scaled
(spread) their work to other classrooms. Shift was
less apparent as the innovations noted are in their
infancy, however in each instance there is reason
to believe that shift may occur, as evidenced by
plans to embed Web 2.0 tools across the district.
In the first case, Delaney’s aspiration to become a
technology coach spread the innovation widely,
and James’s expansion of student gaming
practices spurred Minecraft units in other
schools. These cases underscore Chamberlain
and colleagues’ (2013) premise that understand-
ing the context of particular settings, and
situating innovation in supportive, participatory
cultures is imperative for success.
Over the last 15 years, typical educational
polices were primarily focused on “the technol-
ogy” to improve instruction by increasing broad-
band, computers, and technical support (Vrasidas
& Glass, 2005), however, these policies focused
on supporting learning initiatives that would
impact students via embedding innovative digital
technologies and rethinking curricula with new
approaches. The vision was enacted in classroom
practices and impacted learning, as students
became collaborators, creators, and producers.
Digital Media and Learning
In fact, a majority of students met or exceeded
formative and summative assessment criteria for
projects, convincing the districts to expand or
extend programs. Using this “bottom up” and
“top down” approach (Chamberlain et al., 2013,
p. 4) meshed the work of administrators, teachers
and students to encourage innovation, and district
support to carry out the vision. Inarguably, the
work in the classrooms and districts mentioned
herein has just begun, and advanced measures of
student achievement linked to innovation is a
necessary next step.
Broadening understanding to innovate with
digital media in classrooms is time intensive and
challenging. Understanding local contexts and
building a supportive, participatory culture helps
ensure deep, consequential, and sustainable
changes. To realize substantial impact with
DML, teachers must consider their situations,
alter beliefs about their roles, commit to
flexibility, rely on learning with and from
students, apprentice one another, and participate
within a broad community.
Chamberlain, A., Dronenm, M., Herro, D., Keen, M.,
Kelley, D., Mathews, A., . . . Bosco, J. (Eds.).
(2013). Seven keys to unlocking school transform-
ation with digital media. Consortium for School
Networking (CoSN), MacArthur Funded white-
Clarke, J., & Dede, C. (2009). Design for scalability:
A case study of the River City curriculum. Journal
of Science Education and Technology, 18,
Coburn, C. E. (2003). Rethinking scale: Moving
beyond numbers to deep and lasting change.
Educational Researcher, 32, 3–12.
Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking
education in the age of technology. New York,
NY: Teachers College Press.
Consortium for School Networking. (2014). Retrieved
Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold & underused. Computers
in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
Ertmer, P. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The
final frontier in our quest for technology integration.
Educational Technology Research and Develop-
ment, 53, 25–39.
Fahser-Herro, D., & Steinkuehler, C. (2009). Web 2.0
literacy and secondary teacher education. Journal
of Computing in Teacher Education, 26, 55–62.
Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A.,
& Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of
participatory culture: Media education for the 21 st
century. Chicago, IL: MacArthur Foundation.
Shaffer, D. W. (2006). How computer games
help children learn. New York, NY: Palgrave/
Songer, N. B., Lee, H. S., & McDonald, S. (2003).
Research towards an expanded understanding of
inquiry science beyond one idealized standard.
Science Education, 87, 490–516.
Vrasidas, C., & Glass, G. V. (Eds.). (2005). Preparing
teachers to teach with technology. Scottsdale, AZ:
Herro Sustainable Innovations
Copyright of Theory Into Practice is the property of Taylor & Francis Ltd and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 77 Summer 2014
Simulations and Games in the Civics Classroom
Christopher D. Moore
Georgia State University
Cheryl Anne Beshke
University of Georgia
Chara Haeussler Bohan
Georgia State University
In this study, the authors evaluate the use of an election simulation game in the middle and high
school social studies classroom. They consider how the game implementation reflected the
practical use of constructivist and constructionist pedagogical principles. A brief explanation of
the literature on the use of technology in social studies classrooms is provided and a practical
explanation of how teachers implemented the game is offered. The ability to connect practice to
theory afforded teachers important grounding and support for the use of technology in the social
studies classroom. Students benefitted from the process of engagement in a form of media that is
natural to digital natives. Challenges, with respect to the practical use of gaming in the social
studies classroom, also are explored.
Keywords: civics, simulations, games, constructivism, constructionism, technology,
Over the past decade, educators have been pushed to integrate technology into the
kindergarten-12 curriculum. In a 2009 issue of Social Education, Editor Michael Simpson noted,
“Young people are fascinated by technology, and teachers who find ways to convert their
students’ favorite devices into vehicles of instruction can look for exciting results” (p. 108). In
2003, researchers Peter Doolittle and David Hicks found there was a direct link to the use of
technology in social studies education within a constructivist theoretical framework. “The
proposition that technology has a role to play in the fulfillment of social studies pedagogy is
undeniable” (p. 86). Yet, somewhere between the unrealized potential for technology and
students’ fascination with it, a sizeable disconnect persists. Technology has not been fully
integrated in the social studies classroom in truly meaningful ways (Lee & Friedman, 2009). In
the most recent Handbook on Research in Social Studies Education, Kathleen Swan and Mark
Hofer (2008) come to this simple but powerful conclusion, “ … the federal government spent at
least $4 billion annually on kindergarten-12 school technology infrastructure. However, despite
these investments, educational technology has not produced the pedagogical revolution in the
kindergarten-12 classrooms” (p. 307).
Teachers who are able to harness technology and make it applicable, relevant, and
interesting to students just might find the “exciting results” that spark a digital revolution in the
classroom (Simpson, 2009, p. 108). Simulations offer one possibility for harnessing technology
to teach critical thinking skills in the social studies classroom. The National Council for the
Social Studies’ (NCSS) most recent position statement on the purpose of social studies
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 78 Summer 2014
specifically identifies simulations as a means to think critically about the subject matter:
“Through discussions, debates, the use of authentic documents, simulations, research, and other
occasions for critical thinking and decision making, students learn to apply value-based
reasoning when addressing problems and issues [italics for emphasis]” (National Council for the
Social Studies [NCSS], 2008, para. 20). Simulations have been used in the social sciences since
the early 1960s (Axelrod, 1997). They can be employed for many purposes such as:
entertainment, prediction, and performance, but simulations can also be utilized for education
and scientific discovery (Russell, 2013; Stephen, Feinberg, & Zack, 2013). Within the realm of
education, Robert Axelrod argues, “A simulation need not be rich enough to suggest a complete
real or imaginary world. The main use of simulation in education is to allow the users to learn…
principles for themselves” (p. 2). As the utilization of technology grows, and specifically, as
students become more technologically literate, educators can take advantage of online programs
and simulations. There are many simulations for social studies, such as colonization games for
American history, a stock market game for economics, or a game comparable to Cable in the
Classroom’s ® “eLECTIONS: Your Adventure in Politics” (hereafter known as eLECTIONS),
(2014) designed to help American government students understand political campaigns and the
Electoral College. See Web-Based Resources for the link to the game’s site.
Figure 1. Opening screen of eLECTIONS.
According to the 2010 curriculum standards set forth by NCSS in Standard 10, students should
be able to demonstrate understanding of the purpose of government and the rights and
responsibilities of citizens (NCSS, 2010). Higher order reasoning skills indicate students also
should identify examples of institutions and describe the interactions of people with institutions,
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 79 Summer 2014
recognize and practice selected forms of civic discussion and participation consistent with the
ideals of citizens in a democratic republic, and explain actions citizens can take to influence
public policy decisions.
We describe how to implement the use of an election simulation game in the social
studies classroom. We also evaluate the practical implementation of constructivist and
constructionist pedagogical principles for helping students to demonstrate mastery of technology
in a middle school and high school setting. One author is a social studies teacher and one is a
media specialist who implemented the election simulation game in both public and private
middle and high schools in a large urban area in the southeastern United States. The third author
is a social studies education professor at a large urban university located in the southeastern
In order for teachers to best implement eLECTIONS in classrooms, it is useful to quickly
review the reasons why it is important to use simulations and games in the social studies
classroom. The chief reason to employ these tools can be found in the theory of social
constructivism. As Doolittle and Hicks (2003) defined the terminology, social constructivism is
a theory emphasizing social interaction as a primary source of knowledge. Social constructivism
relies on communication from participants in order to construct meaning. Learning is relative to
the learner. Like constructivism, constructionism, promoted by Seymour Papert (1991), also
relies on the use of context and language to determine what students learn. Constructionism is
predicated upon the idea that students learn when they are actually creating a product. “It then
adds the idea that this happens especially felicitously,” says Papert, “in a context where the
learner is consciously engaged in constructing….” (p. 2). As a pedagogical theory,
constructionism requires students to create or build something such as a project, a set of
software, or a model demonstrating this new knowledge. Students, furthermore, should be given
more freedom to learn in their personal way, not through rigidly defined methods. When
teachers are pressed to use technology, they often turn to slide show programs, such as Microsoft
PowerPoint ® . Yet, PowerPoint
® does not take advantage of the tools available to teachers,
simply conveying the information in an outdated pedagogical style, with a new, flashier
wrapping. This sentiment was echoed by Doolittle and Hicks:
If integrating technology means nothing more than enhancing the traditional delivery
system of social studies content, where laptops replace notebooks for taking notes, where
PowerPoint slides replace handwritten overheads, where e-textbooks replace hard copy
textbooks, then we will be no closer to a vision of transformative, powerful social studies
teaching and learning (p. 75).
Papert’s goal is to have students learning in a way in which technology is the vehicle through
which they create in order to learn. This goal is reiterated in much research about using
technology in the social studies classroom (Doolittle & Hicks, 2003; Lee & Freidman, 2009;
Russell, 2013; Swan & Hofer, 2008; Squire, 2005).
The Use of Technology in Social Studies
In recent years, a continuous push for implementing technology in the social studies
classroom has ensued. Simulations and games are an appropriate means of implementing
constructionist learning theory. Students and teachers, however, can experience a technology
information overload; thus, it is important to steer clear of using technology for technology’s
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 80 Summer 2014
sake. In a recent article by Adam Friedman and David Hicks, they discussed the state of
technology in the social studies (2006). After the two conversed about the glut of recent research
on technology in the social studies, they focused on technology integration and teacher
education. Their attitudes toward technology, however, were tempered. As the discussion
continued, Hicks stated:
For a while we were acting like kids in a candy shop. We were excited about the range of
technologies just in reach and how sweet they all looked; yet all they really did was give
us a quick rush and left us feeling a little bloated and overwhelmed. A result of this, I
think, is that the concept of marginal propensity to consume has taken hold with regard to
salivating over the potential of all the different types of digital technologies to reform the
social studies (2006, p. 248).
More research was needed, in regard to how professors were working with pre-service teachers
on incorporating technology, as well as how instructional design furthered learning, Hicks and
Friedman concluded. Not all the research points positively toward the ever-increasing influx of
(and demand for the use of) technology in the classroom. In a study on the problems integrating
technology in the kindergarten-12 classroom, Hofer and Swan (2006), noted there are obstacles
to promoting this incorporation, and “many authors advocate that teachers need to explore this
frontier without models of classroom success, examples of ‘tried and true’ curricula, and
evidence of increased student learning” (p. 86). This notion also is evident in history education
with the push toward the use of primary sources in history classes, where students are supposed
to apply the laws of historical thinking to documents, but teachers are not shown how to access
the documents nor are they shown how to use them online (Barton, 2011; Bohan & Davis, 1998;
VanSledright, 2002; Wineburg, 2001). This point is amplified by Greg Sherman and David
Hicks (2000), who claimed “research continues to suggest that despite the perceived potential of
technology, many social studies teachers are currently reluctant or unable to utilize content
specific uses of technology in their professional practice” (p. 244). Another challenge is
students’ and teachers’ lack of familiarity with the technology, so learning a software program
can take up a great deal of class time. This problem is compounded by many packed state and
local curriculum guides leaving little room for in-depth projects and activities not related to
content standards (Hofer & Swan, 2006). Similar concerns emerged when Gayle Thieman
conducted a five-year study on pre-service teachers and their integration of technology in the
classroom; even if they did make technology skills a part of their pedagogical routine (which a
reported 85% did); she asserted, “There is little evidence that kindergarten-12 students used
technology to support critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making” (2008, p. 342).
Technology and Civics Education
At the time of the 2008 publication of The Handbook of Research in Social Studies
Education, Swan and Hofer found only one article on civics education and technology. Finding
relevant research on simulations and games also proved difficult for Young et al. (2012), who
noted: “No research of this type was identified in our review, suggesting the missing element
may be a more sophisticated approach to understanding learning and game play in the rich
contexts of home and school learning” (p. 84). The lone article found a study published by Tina
Heafner in 2004, which focused on the use of technology to motivate students to learn about the
campaign process. According to Heafner, the teacher selected for this case study had teaching
experience and a Master’s degree in social studies education. She incorporated traditional and
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 81 Summer 2014
constructivist pedagogical styles in her instruction. The students, still, were uninterested in
learning about campaigning and the election process, So, Heafner worked with this teacher to
create a computer-based project.
In Heafner’s (2004) research, she found by having students interact with the technology,
they were already more interested in the work assigned to them: “All students reported
enjoyment in the task because technology made their work easier and more fun to complete” (p.
46). Furthermore, students enjoyed working on the project because it allowed them to do neater
work, add graphics, videos, and sound bites, and made the PowerPoint ®
“professional” (p. 46). Students also were able to tap into a skill set they already possessed for
using the computer. Students were familiar with the Internet and other technological elements
used in their presentations. They were not bored, however, by being asked to use the computer
in a way that was remedial and disproportionate to their skills. Students were reported as able to
develop confidence in ability, enjoyment in learning and the opportunity to learn new social
studies information. Because of the creation of student work, the focus of the classroom shifted
from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered instruction as “…technology added value
to social studies instruction by increasing motivation and engaging students in the learning
process” (Swan & Hofer, 2008, p. 313).
Constructivism and Constructionism in Simulations and Games
When Papert (1991) was teaching Logo, a program he and his colleagues created at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he found students learned better when they were
given free rein to explore and learn the software on its own as opposed to following pre-planned
instructions. His research led him to believe students’ interest and exploration of a subject,
through technology, in order to create an end product, was a highly effective mode of teaching.
The results of this learning can then be shared, with other students, to enhance learning.
In the social studies classroom, technology resources are available, but woefully
underused or theoretically developed (Doolittle & Hicks, 2003). While Doolittle and Hicks
concentrated on the use of technology in a social studies classroom from a primarily
constructivist platform, the authors “open the door to a constructionist approach with respect to
computer-based simulations… These six pedagogical strategies when adjusted for the
constructionist assertion that learning occurs through designing, building and making an object,
provide a theoretical argument for computer-assisted simulation games” (Feinberg, Schewe,
Moore, & Wood, 2012, p. 422). Simulations and especially video simulations may reach
students who do not enjoy or learn from more ‘traditional’ pedagogical approaches.
Implementation and Game Play
In the March 2012 article, “Our Princess is in Another Castle: A Review of Trends in
Serious Gaming for Education,” Young et al. (2012) recommended that research on video games
should not be generalized but instead focus on this question: “How does a particular video game
being used by a particular student in the context of a particular course curriculum affect the
learning process as well as the products of school (such as test grades, course selection, retention,
and interest)?”(p. 84). We used eLECTIONS as an introductory unit to learning about the
Electoral College, but it also can be used to discuss political parties or the election process. We
implemented this game with students in middle and high schools. One of the main reasons we
were drawn to this game was students’ involvement in creating their own candidates while
giving a realistic, yet simulated, view of a presidential campaign. Students were required to look
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 82 Summer 2014
up the basic platforms of both political parties and determine their stance on issues such as
immigration, affirmative action, education, military spending, the economy, and healthcare.
The game facilitated students’ understanding of their own political leanings and allowed
them to select the key issues for their platforms. Students did not have to agree with every
ideological component of their chosen political party but could choose a stance on every key
issue. This political investigation greatly benefited students in their game play by fostering
pragmatic as well as disciplinary knowledge of civics. Game play preparation can be adjusted,
depending on the time, age level, and technological abilities of the students.
Figure 2. Students may choose to concentrate on five major issues for their platform.
Each of Doolittle and Hicks’ (2003) six pedagogical tools incorporating a constructivist
approach to technology can be applied to various aspects of the eLECTIONS game. Cable in the
provides plenty of options for game play. The game setup demonstrates Doolittle
and Hicks’ first principle: “The construction of knowledge and the making of meaning are
individually and socially active processes” (p.10). Competitors are allowed to play against a
computer, or they can compete against a classmate. If finding enough computers for students is a
concern, students can double-up at one computer or, the teacher can facilitate the game on one
computer through a projector, thus allowing the mock Presidential candidates to be run by teams
of students. If students work as a team, the possibility for collaborative and critical engagement
in discussions increases dramatically. According to Katherine Powell and Cody Kalina (2009),
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 83 Summer 2014
“Cooperative learning is part of creating a social constructivist classroom. Students should not
only work with teachers one-on-one, but they should also work with other students. Students
have a lot to offer one another” (p. 244). As the students, playing the role of campaign
managers, make decisions about travel, campaign spending, and responses to events, the game
provides feedback in the form of money and electoral votes gained or lost. Students begin to
understand how choices made during the course of an election campaign affect the outcome.
The game begins as the players choose a slate of five “authentic, real-world” issues, such as:
education, health-care, immigration, and defense, fulfilling Doolittle and Hicks’ third
principle, “The construction of knowledge is fostered by authentic and real-world
environments” (p. 11).
In creating their campaign, students might select topics relevant within their homes and
communities, or prominent in the media. They can choose issues for which they have prior
knowledge or an especial interest, which demonstrates the fourth principle described by Doolittle
and Hicks (2003): “The construction of knowledge takes place within the framework of the
learner’s prior knowledge and experience” (p. 11). In the next step of the game, students decide
the candidate’s standing on each of the chosen issues, refining both the connection to an
authentic, real-world environment and their particular prior knowledge and experience. Once
students have determined the candidate’s standing, a map appears on the screen indicating each
state’s position on political and social issues. These concerns include topics such as healthcare,
education, immigration, and taxes.
Other candidates in the game also have positions on these issues, either assigned by the
computer or by other game players. The game, thus, contains all of the complexities of a real
campaign. Every decision a player makes affects the other candidates as well as his or her own
fundraising and electoral votes. This complex interaction of decisions and outcomes is a perfect
example of Doolittle and Hicks’ (2003) second principle. “The construction of knowledge
involves social mediation within cultural contexts” (p. 11). Students involved in an eLECTION
game must act and react to events and decisions that are not always predictable or under their
control, thus the interaction creates a unique opportunity for constructing knowledge. “The
individual, engaged in socially mediated activity, is transformed or constructed through this
socially mediated activity, just as the social institution is transformed or constructed by the
participation of the individual” (Doolittle & Hicks, 2003, p. 11). The game proceeds as a dial
spins to determine the number of spaces to move on the virtual game board. Players land on
spaces that determine particular scenarios and must choose how to respond.
The fifth principle Doolittle and Hicks (2006) described is also apparent while playing
eLECTIONS, “The construction of knowledge is integrated more deeply by engaging in multiple
perspectives and representations of content, skills, and social realms” (p. 12). With each spin of
the dial, players are exposed to the other candidates’ slate of issues and positions. A teacher
might also assign a group of students to create a candidate with values and positions different
from their own in order to develop a deeper understanding of the electoral process. Playing
eLECTIONS does just what Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil and Katie Salen (2009) recommend:
“An educational game should put players in touch with what is fundamentally engaging about
the subject, should help them build a scaffolding of core concepts, and should motivate them to
go deeper” (p. 32).
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 84 Summer 2014
Figure 3. Electoral college map of the U.S.A.
Playing eLECTIONS provides a powerful learning experience for students. Rather than
learning about civics through a traditional lecture format or reading a text and answering
questions, students construct meaning through the process of making autonomous decisions and
reacting to and reflecting upon the feedback provided in the game. This aspect of eLECTIONS
demonstrates Doolittle and Hicks’ (2003) sixth principle, “[t]he construction of knowledge is
fostered by students becoming self-regulated, self-mediated, and self-aware” (p. 12). Playing
repeatedly increases a student’s knowledge and leads to more sophisticated decision-making
through the support of game feedback. The teacher is not a lecturer or a dispenser of knowledge
but rather a facilitator, who can ask guiding questions as students strategize moves or help
students recognize and correct misconceptions. eLECTIONS provides teachers and students the
opportunity to use technology in a way that may transform the teaching and learning process.
Participating in the simulation fosters personal, social, and engaging experiences exemplifying a
constructivist approach to learning. Students develop a sense of ownership for their candidate,
becoming invested in the outcome as they learn about the political parties, the Electoral College,
and key issues in presidential elections.
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 85 Summer 2014
Figure 4. An example of a circumstance on the campaign trail and students’ choices to solve the
After the election, students have the opportunity to see the results of their actions through
an itemized list detailing the states in which they campaigned on each turn and the choices they
made along the way. A more telling evaluation of what students learned in the process can be
gained by having discussions in class. Questions, such as the ones below, can begin to help
How did you choose your party affiliation and key issues? What stance did you take on these issues? Why did you take those particular stances?
In what states did you campaign the most? How did you determine where to campaign? What problems did you encounter while choosing your campaign trail?
What were some of the challenges you faced along the way? How did you determine what moves you should make?
If you played this game again, what would you do differently? Why would you make those changes?
What did you learn by playing eLECTIONS that you did not know before? Of course, discussion is not the only way to assess learning for eLECTIONS. The English
Language Arts Common Core standards place strong emphasis on writing and social studies
content can support these standards by providing opportunities for students to expound upon
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 86 Summer 2014
their learning in class. An essay or critique of the game allows students to demonstrate mastery
of content and continue to hone their writing skills across the curriculum.
Using eLECTIONS in the social studies classroom allows teachers to meet students
where their interests are present. Today’s students play video games; send text messages; surf
the Internet; and frequent social networking sites. They are, in Prensky’s terminology, “digital
natives” (2001, para. 5). Presenting these students with an opportunity to learn using technology
engages them. The authentic, real-world environment of eLECTIONS provides a scenario where
critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills can lead to the construction of
meaning. Integrating technology into the curriculum using an online game or simulation like
eLECTIONS does not require valuable time to be spent in learning unfamiliar or complicated
software as the process of playing the game or simulation is intuitive and fun. Most importantly,
working through the game is time well spent for students. No longer is the teacher feeding
students’ knowledge required by the NCSS standards; the students acquire the knowledge
themselves, at their own pace and in their own way.
Axelrod, R. (1997). Advancing the Art of Simulation in the Social Sciences. In R. Conte, R.
Hegselmann & P. Terna (Eds.), Simulating Social Phenomena. Berlin: Springer. pp. 21–
Barton, K. C. (2011). Wars and rumors of war: Making sense of history education in the United
States. In T. Taylor & R. Guyver (Eds.) History wars in the classroom: Global
perspectives. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.
Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Bohan, C. H., & Davis, Jr. O. L. (1998). Historical constructions: How social studies student
teachers’ historical thinking is reflected in their writing of history. Theory and Research
in Social Education, 26(2), 173–197.
Crotty, M. (1998). The Foundations of Social Research: Meaning and perspective in the
research process. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education New York: Simon & Schuster.
Doolittle, P. E. & Hicks, D. (2003). Constructivism as a theoretical foundation for the use of
technology in social studies. Theory and Research in Social Education, 31(1), 72–104.
Drake, F. D., & Nelson, L. R. (2005). Engagement in teaching history: Theory and practices for
middle and secondary teachers. New Jersey: Pearson.
Feinberg, J. R., Schewe, A., Moore, C. D., & Wood, K. (2012). Puttering, tinkering, building,
and making: A constructionist approach to online instructional simulation games. In
Hartshorne, R., Heafner, T. & Petty, T. (Eds). Teacher Education Programs and Online
Learning Tools: Innovations in Teacher Preparation. IGI Global; New York, NY.
Friedman, A. M., & Hicks, D. (2006). The state of the field: Technology, social studies, and
teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 6(2),
Hays, P. A. (2004). Case study research. Foundations for research: Methods of inquiry in
education and the social sciences. Eds. deMarrais, K. & Lapan, S.D. Mahway, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 87 Summer 2014
Heafner, T. (2004). Using technology to motivate students to learn social studies. Contemporary
Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 4(1), 42–53.
Kafai, Y. B., & Resnick, M. (1996). Introduction. In Y. B. Kafai & M. Resnick (Eds.),
Constructionism in practice (pp. 1–8). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., & Salen, K. (2009). Moving learning games forward. Cambridge,
MA: Education Arcade.
Lee, J. K. & Friedman, A. M. (2009). Research on technology in social studies education.
Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Lipscomb, G. B., Guenther, L. M., & McLeod, P. (2007). Sounds good to me: using digital audio
in the social studies classroom. Social Education, 71(3), 120–124.
National Council for the Social Studies. (2010). National curriculum standards for social studies:
A framework for teaching, learning and assessment. National council for the social
studies. Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies.
Papert, S. (1991). Situating constructionism. In I. Harel & S. Papert (Eds.), Constructionism (pp.
1–11). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Powell, K. C., & Kalina, C. J. (2009). Cognitive and social constructivism: Developing tools for
an effective classroom. Education. 130(2), 241–250.
Russell III, W. B. (2013). Digital social studies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Sherman, G., & Hicks, D. (2000). Using a historic site to develop virtual reality-enchanced web-
based instructional material: Learning to use technology as a partner in the classroom.
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, [Online serial], 1(2), 244–
Simpson, M. (2009). Editor’s notebook. Social Education, 73(3).
Squire, K. (2005). Changing the game: What happens when video games enter the classroom?
Stephens, J. M., Feinberg, J. R., & Zack, J. (2013). Those who do: Social studies teachers’ use
of role play and simulations and the making of 21st century citizens. The status of the
social studies. In J. Passe, P. Fitchett, & N. Patterson (Eds.). Information Age Publishing,
Swan, K.O. & Hoffer, M. (2008). Technology and social studies. Handbook of research in social
studies education. Eds. Levstik, L.A. & Tyson, C.A. New York: Routledge.
Thieman, G. Y. (2008). Using technology as a tool for learning and developing 21st century
citizenship skills: An examination of the NETS and technology use by preservice
teachers with their K-12 students. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher
Education, 8(4), 342–366.
VanSledright, B. (2002). In search of America’s past: Learning to read history in elementary
school. New York: Teachers College Press.
Wineburg, S. (2001). Historical thinking and other unnatural acts: Charting the future of
teaching the past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Young, M. F., Slota, S., Cutter, A. B., Jalette, G., Mullin, G., Lai, B., Simeoni, Z., Tran, M., &
Yukhymenko, M. (2012). Our princess is in another castle: A review of trends in serious
gaming for education. Review of Educational Research. 82(1), 61–89.
Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 9 Number 2 88 Summer 2014
Axelrod, R. (1997). Advancing the Art of Simulation in the Social Sciences. Published in
Rosario Conte, Rainer Hegselmann and Pietro Terna(eds.), Simulating Social Phenomena
(Berlin: Springer, 1997), pp. 21–40. Retrieved from
Cable in the Classroom. (2014). eLECTIONS: Your adventure in politics. [Online game].
Retrieved from https://games.ciconline.org/elections/
Hofer, M., & Swan, K. O. (2006). Standards, firewalls, and general classroom mayhem:
Implementing student-centered technology projects in the elementary classroom. Social
Studies Research and Practice [Online serial], 1(1). Retrieved from
National Council for the Social Studies. (2008). A vision of powerful teaching and learning in
the social studies: Building social understanding and civic efficacy. National Council for
the Social Studies. Retrieved from http://www.socialstudies.org/positions/powerful.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved from
Schwartz, D. (1999). Ghost in the machine: Seymour Papert on how computers fundamentally
change the way kids learn. Retrieved from
Christopher D. Moore is a doctoral student at Georgia State University. His primary research
focus is simulations and games in the social studies classroom. He also teaches high school
social studies in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
Cheryl Anne Beshke earned her educational specialist degree in Language and Literacy
Education at the University of Georgia. She works as a media specialist and also teaches
language arts in an elementary school in the Atlanta area.
Chara Haeussler Bohan is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at Georgia State
University. She is the author and editor of several books and more than 60 research articles in
history and social studies education. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright of Social Studies Research & Practice is the property of Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Why Work with Us
Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers
Our writers are encouraged to read and research widely to have rich information before writing clients’ papers. Therefore, be it high school or PhD level paper, it will always be a well-researched work handled by experts.
Professional and Experienced Academic Writers
For one to become part of our team, thorough interview and vetting is undertaken to make sure their academic level and experience are beyond reproach, hence enabling us give our clients top quality work.
Free Unlimited Revisions
Once you have received your paper and feel that some issues have been missed, just request for revision and it will be done. In addition, you can present your work to the tutor and he/she asks for improvement/changes, we are always ready to assist.
Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee
All our papers are sent to the clients before the deadline to allow them time to review the work before presenting to the tutor. If for some reason we feel our writers cannot meet the deadline, we will contact you to ask for more time. If this is not possible, then the paid amount will be refunded.
Original & Confidential
Our writers have been trained to ensure work produced is free of plagiarism. Software to check originality are also applied. Our clients’ information is highly guarded from third parties to ensure confidentiality is maintained.
24/7 Customer Support
Our support team is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You can reach the team via live chat, email or phone call. You can always get in touch whenever you need any assistance.
Try it now!
How it works?
Follow these simple steps to get your paper done
Place your order
Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.
Proceed with the payment
Choose the payment system that suits you most.
Receive the final file
Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.
You have had a hectic day, and still need to complete your assignment, yet it is late at night. No need to panic. Place your order with us, retire to bed, and once you wake up, the paper will be ready.
It does not matter the urgency of your paper, or the academic level, our team is ready to help you 24/7. Just contact us and all your academic needs will be sorted.
Admission Essays & Business Writing Help
A student is often required to write an admission letter requesting to be admitted in a certain institution. For you to be gain that admission in your dream institution, you must write a convincing letter. You can depend on our team for the best admission letters.
Academic writing is not just about getting information and throwing it all over. Our team will ensure you have a polished paper that is coherent and has a good flow of information. We also ensure the paper follows the correct formatting styles like APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago/Turabian.
If our writers write a paper but you are not satisfied in one way or another, you can always ask for revision. This is totally free. Our writers and editors will revise your paper untill you are be totally satisfied. We as well offer revision for papers not done by our writers at a small fee.