ERIC Number: ED438238
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Nov-19
Reference Count: N/A
Student Reasoning about Ill-Structured Social Problems in a Multimedia-Supported Learning Environment.
Saye, John W.; Brush, Thomas
This paper summarizes findings from a case study exploring high school students' responses to a technology-supported, problem-centered U.S. history unit. A team of teacher educators and secondary school social studies teachers conceptualized "Decision Point!" (DP), an integrated set of multimedia content resources and investigatory tools for exploring the African American civil rights movement. In hope of developing a model that could be implemented in typical classrooms, an idealized case setting was avoided. The case study teacher had little experience in student-centered inquiry, problem-based instruction, and technology use. Student participants were enrolled in two sections of a U.S. history course required of all 11th graders not taking honors history. The teacher taught the 6-day DP unit to one of her classes. The same teacher taught the comparison class on the same topic, using her preferred instructional method. Observations suggested that students in the two classes encountered the unit topic in quite different ways. Students in the non-DP class encountered a very teacher-centered unit with over three-fourths of the time devoted to lecture, recitation, individual seatwork, and videotape viewing of movement events. The DP unit was very student-centered, with many procedural and organizational decisions left to students; individual roles and responsibilities were not sharply defined. Observers in both classes agreed that the DP group exhibited greater levels of enthusiasm, involvement, dialogue, questioning, and persistence in unit activities. Comparative outcomes data also suggest that the two classes developed different understandings about historical events and issues involved in the phenomenon of the civil rights movement. Differences were evident in factual recall and higher order reasoning. Contains a table and 25 references. Appended is a sample post-unit essay. (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Washington, DC.; Auburn Enlarged City School District, NY.; Auburn Univ., AL. Coll. of Education.
Authoring Institution: N/A