Effective Digital Tools to Design History/Social Studies Classrooms of the Future

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In today’s ever-changing world of education, digital tools are proving essential in creating compelling lessons and keeping  “digitally fluent” students engaged in course material.

As schools race to create 21st century learning environments, they are looking for ways to integrate technology into the learning experience. There are rewarding digital tools available for nearly every subject, but some of the most innovative relate to a history/social studies curriculum.

Implementing the following apps and websites will not only help students meaningfully interact with the course material but will also provide the opportunity to connect to the world around them.

These tools not only expose them to different modes of content delivery but also facilitate a variety of learning approaches, catering to students with different learning styles. Finally, these tech tools allow students to display their knowledge through a variety of learning products, such as multi-media presentations, interactive projects and collaborative team work.

Effective Digital Tools to Design History/Social Studies Classrooms of the Future

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There are a variety of tools, each applicable to a different aspect of history/social studies. Let’s break them down into the traditional classroom components of content delivery, process and product.

Content Delivery

Applying the Flipped Classroom model is one of the easiest ways for schools to adopt a 21st Century learning environment.

By assigning students to watch lectures online as a homework assignment, the social studies teacher maximizes instructional time the next day. There are several methods (and plenty of on-line material) to create a Flipped Classroom.  There is no right or wrong way, but there is an important distinction to be made between pre-recorded material versus teacher-delivered lectures. Sites such as YouTube,  TEDEd and Khan Academy are full of relevant lectures that can be assigned to students to watch on their own time.

Theme-specific content abounds such as the Crash Course series (US and World History) and Hip Hughes highly-recommended history video series are examples of non-traditional media offering high-quality free content as well. PBS Video offers an array of well-made documentaries, such as the fantastic American Experience videos.