Five must-have tools for social studies instruction

Audio and Movie Creation: iPod Touch / iPad

Beyond their thousands of apps, these devices can be used for a variety of things in the classroom. Students can recreate historical events, speeches, and interviews through movies or audio recordings. Also, you can have students examine images and paintings and make notes on them using an app like Educreations.

Website Creation: Weebly

Websites are a great way for your students to combine creativity with writing, research, and technology. Have them create a website for a historical topic, event, or location, or ask them to create a blog for a famous person. This is also a great way to incorporate primary and secondary sources into instruction.

Historical Thinking: The Library of Congress

My favorite thing to do is find some resource on the LOC website, project it, and get students (or teachers) to start discussing the item and asking questions. The LOC has everything from maps and photographs to letters, paintings, and audio files. Let your students explore the resource, and then you can ask inquiry-type questions to foster the discussion.

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Jim Beeghley, PhD, is an educational technologist, blogger, podcaster, and expert in using technology to teach social studies—with a particular interest in the American Civil War. He has spent 11 years as a technology coordinator, including five years supporting educational technology for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has also worked as an instructional technologist in higher education and has been an adjunct professor since 2005.

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