North Carolina's Sixth Graders Go to Russia A global Education/curriculum Integration Project that Redefines the Virtual Field Trip and Makes Social Studies Education in a Technology Enabled Environment Meaningful and Exciting
James Clark, Amanda Robertson, NC State University, United States ; Matthew Ross, NC State, United States ; Candy Beal, NC State University, United States ; Bill Beal, Environmental Protection Agency, United States ; Pru Cuper, Lisa Grable, NC State University, United States ; Mary Davis, Wake County Public School System, United States ; Judy Lambert, NC State, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA
This project traces the three year development of preservice teachers' global technology projects from the after-the-fact journaling accounts of a research trip to Russia to a year long research study about Russia involving hundreds of sixth grade students, their teachers, a university research team and preservice teacher education students. Researchers discuss their preliminary results of a project that examines the effectiveness of using the curriculum integration approach for teaching and learning in a technology enabled environment. The project, begun in September 2001, enrolled sixth grade classes interested in studying Russia. It took the classes through the months of preparation for an actual trip to Russia. Students were part of the home-based research team and took the trip virtually. Briefly: In the fall and winter middle school classes received internet postcards from Russia, met the NC State traveling student research team on line and logged on to offer suggestion about what to pack to survive sub-zero weather and what gifts to bring to host families. In late November, the sixth grade students entered their questions about Russia on the Russia project website and sent them to the team to research while the team was in Russia. To coincide with the trip, teachers taught a unit about Russia that was prepared using a technology enhanced curriculum integration format driven by the students' research questions. While on the trip to Russia the traveling research team sent home daily reports, pictures and interviews made with Russian school children. The home based sixth grade teams researched about Russia and supplemented what they learned with information from the field, sent back via the web. Students completed their study with public projects that enabled them to share their learning with their classmates. The entire project plans to report its findings at a Global Connections Conference at NC State University in May. This ambitious project researches teaching philosophy and approach, examines how we believe students learn best and shows the scope of what can be taught in a technology rich environment. It emphasizes the need to imagine and act on the possibilities teachers have if they dare to develop and dream in a technology enabled environment.
Clark, J., Robertson, A., Ross, M., Beal, C., Beal, B., Cuper, P., Davis, M. & Lambert, J. (2002). North Carolina's Sixth Graders Go to Russia A global Education/curriculum Integration Project that Redefines the Virtual Field Trip and Makes Social Studies Education in a Technology Enabled Environment Meaningful and Exciting. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2168-2169). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).