Ed Tech & Social Studies

Under this tab we shall look at using educational technology when teaching social studies.

ToolsEducational technology is an instructional tool, something used to help with instruction and learning.  Educational technology is NOT a teacher.  Only you can be the teacher. Thus, we will talk about how we can use educational technology to leverage student learning.

Links to using educational technology


Hyper docs are document in some format (Google Doc, Google Slides, or even a Google Website) that provide students with a GUIDED LEARNING experience.

How to make a hyperdoc

Sample templates for building your project

How hyperdocs can transform your teaching

Using hyperdocs for differentiation


What is a webquest?

A real WebQuest….

  • is wrapped around a doable and interesting task that is ideally a scaled down version of things that adults do as citizens or workers.
  • requires higher level thinking, not simply summarizing. This includes synthesis, analysis, problem-solving, creativity and judgment. 
  • makes good use of the web. A WebQuest that isn’t based on real resources from the web is probably just a traditional lesson in disguise. (Of course, books and other media can be used within a WebQuest, but if the web isn’t at the heart of the lesson, it’s not a WebQuest.) 
  • isn’t a research report or a step-by-step science or math procedure. Having learners simply distilling web sites and making a presentation about them isn’t enough. 
  • isn’t just a series of web-based experiences. Having learners go look at this page, then go play this game, then go here and turn your name into hieroglyphs doesn’t require higher level thinking skills and so, by definition, isn’t a WebQuest.

The Webquest was specifically designed for the core instructional processes in social studies. It’s designed to set students tasks in citizenship, especionally decision making, and historical research/interpretation.

This is a good example of a well constructed elementary Webquest that follow are the design rules,

This example creates

  1. A clear task the learner must accomplish
  2. A collection of resources (secondary documents, but primary ones can be used)
  3. Guidance on structuring a meta-strategy to accomplish the task.
  4. A rubric the learner can use to evaluate her/his work prior to the teacher using it to evaluate the learning product for a grade

You chose the medium that works best for the quest

  • Google Doc or Word Docx with activated hyperlinks
  • Google Sites Webquest website for the topic
  • Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Keynote slide presentation

Creating a Webquest using Google Sites

Guided Notes

Guided notes are notes created by the teacher that outline the class notes. Guided notes have blank spaces where students are required to fill in key concepts, facts, definitions, etc. as they are covered during the lecture. The guided notes method is a great strategy that can be used at any level. It provides a way for students to be actively involved in note taking without overwhelming them. The handouts allow students to get down all of the information they will need correctly, boosting achievement.

Advice on the guided notes strategy

Guided notes can take different forms based on the learning task. Here are some examples. Concentrate on the trip of learning instead of the content.

Middle school guided notes from Mrs S. Chaffee, School 7, Dunkirk, NY

Guided notes can be an important part of your differentiated instruction. By removing more from the notes (reducing the cueing) you can increase the difficulty of the task until the learner does the whole task without scaffolding.

you can also change up the ways the scaffolding is done, e.g., blanks in sentences or labels on a mind map.

Another way you might differentiate is to use recorded mini-lectures. These are often part of flipped learning. However differentiated audio or video lectures for English language learners allows them to play and replay your speech. This reduces cognitive load when doing the guided notes as they can concentrate on understanding the words/sentences first and then return to identify and gather content.

We’ll take a look at how you can combine pre prepared lectures/presentations and guided notes. First we will look at starting the year. Then we will look at differentiation.