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Learning Technology Grant Winner: SW BOCES

Award Years: 2015-2018


"Building a Strong Elementary Social Studies Program: the Integration of Inquiry, Technology and the New Social Studies Framework"

Southern Westchester BOCES (SWBOCES) School Library System (SLS) and eleven public schools, two of which are priority/focus schools and one private school collaboratively designed "Building a Strong Elementary Social Studies Program: the Integration of Inquiry, Technology and the New Social Studies Framework" with an emphasis on meeting the needs of students in the priority/focus schools. This three-year project starting December 2015, has been designed to provide a total of 60 elementary classroom teachers and school librarians a deeper understanding of inquiry-based learning supported by technology where students actively construct knowledge rather than passively receive it. Through an extended yearlong exploration of the NYS K-12 Social Studies Framework and Toolkit Inquiries and the Stripling Inquiry Process, social studies experts, Lawrence Paska and Steve Goldberg, and inquiry experts, Barbara Stripling and Pam Berger will model and facilitate inquiry-based, technology infused social studies Inquiries. They will guide classroom teacher/school librarian teams to collaboratively (1) teach an Inquiry from the NYS K-12 Social Studies Toolkit and (2) create a new Inquiry incorporating the specified key components (compelling question, supporting questions, performance tasks, resources, assessment, etc.), and integrate digital tools and primary sources. Instructional technology will be used to improve student achievement through the teaching of Inquiries collaboratively -- between the classroom and the library media centers. The proposed project aligns with the NYS BOR Statewide Technology Plan, the Common Core Learning Standards, the NYS Teaching Standards and participating districts’ technology plans.

The project provides a blended model of professional development in which the teaching and learning activities will take place in a shared physical space (SPS) and a shared virtual space (SVS). The SPS includes participation at full-day workshops, inquiry-based professional development and onsite consultation and coaching, the SVS includes an online Community of Practice (CoP) utilizing the Google environment with forums, email, chats, webinars, and file sharing called The Learning Space and a curated Project Website utilizing a libguide with resource sharing, Flipgrids, Video Reflections, best social studies resources, apps and websites, participant created Inquiries, schedules, participant info, calendar, etc. Bimonthly webinars with social studies and inquiry experts will be recorded and posted on the project website for future use along with bimonthly 15 minute reflective, interactive tutorials called "Video Reflections: I Wonder." Both the SPS and SVS focus on integrating exemplary, research-proven instructional literacy and technology strategies into the new NYS K-12 Social Studies Framework and Toolkit. All classroom teachers and librarians participating will receive a Chrome Book or iPad, subscription to Libguides and Flipgrid for three years, money to purchase social studies apps and necessary cords to project their devices to a projection device.