Actively Engaging Learners in Interdisciplinary Curriculum Through the Integration of Technology

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Eindhoven Technical University]On: 22 November 2014, At: 02:41Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK</p><p>Computers in the Schools:Interdisciplinary Journal ofPractice, Theory, and AppliedResearchPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:</p><p>Actively Engaging Learners inInterdisciplinary CurriculumThrough the Integration ofTechnologyKaren Dutt-Doner a b , Marty Wilmer c , CathyStevens c &amp; Lisa Hartmann ca University of Southern Maine , USAb undergraduate teacher education program TEAMS(Teachers for Elementary and Middle School),Department of Teacher Education , 504 Bailey Hall,Gorham, ME, 04038, USAc Scarborough Middle School , 44 Gorham Road,Scarborough, ME, 04074, USAPublished online: 11 Oct 2008.</p><p>To cite this article: Karen Dutt-Doner , Marty Wilmer , Cathy Stevens &amp; LisaHartmann (2000) Actively Engaging Learners in Interdisciplinary CurriculumThrough the Integration of Technology, Computers in the Schools: InterdisciplinaryJournal of Practice, Theory, and Applied Research, 16:3-4, 151-166, DOI: 10.1300/J025v16n03_04</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p></p></li><li><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of theContent should not be relied upon and should be independently verified withprimary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of theContent.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan,sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone isexpressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ein</p><p>dhov</p><p>en T</p><p>echn</p><p>ical</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 0</p><p>2:41</p><p> 22 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p><p></p></li><li><p>Karen Dutt-DonerMarty WilmerCathy StevensLisa Hartmann</p><p>Actively Engaging Learnersin Interdisciplinary Curriculum Through the Integrationof Technology</p><p>SUMMARY. Global Warming: A Heated Debate is an interdisciplin-ary WebQuest project developed to target science and technology con-tent standards in the State of Maine Learning Results. By implementingthis interdisciplinary, technology-based group research project, wehoped that students would become more interested and involved in theirlearning, better understand and practice research skills, be able toretrieve more current Internet information for their research projects,support each other in their learning, and have a better understanding</p><p>KAREN DUTT-DONER is Assistant Professor, University of Southern Maine,Coordinator of the undergraduate teacher education program TEAMS (Teachers forElementary and Middle School), Department of Teacher Education, 504 Bailey Hall,Gorham, ME 04038. E-mail: karend@usm.maine.eduMARTY WILMER is Teacher, Scarborough Middle School, 44 Gorham Road, Scar-borough, ME 04074.CATHY STEVENS is Math &amp; Science Teacher, Scarborough Middle School, 44Gorham Road, Scarborough, ME 04074.LISA HARTMANN is Technology Specialist, Scarborough Middle School, 44 Gor-ham Road, Scarborough, ME 04074.</p><p>[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: Actively Engaging Learners in Interdisciplinary Curriculum Throughthe Integration of Technology. Dutt-Doner, Karen et al. Co-published simultaneously in Computers in theSchools (The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 16, No. 3/4, 2000, pp. 151-166; and: Integration of Technology intothe Classroom: Case Studies (ed: D. LaMont Johnson, Cleborne D. Maddux, and Leping Liu) The HaworthPress, Inc., 2000, pp. 151-166. Single or multiple copies of this article are available for a fee from TheHaworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-342-9678, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail].</p><p> 2000 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. 151</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ein</p><p>dhov</p><p>en T</p><p>echn</p><p>ical</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 0</p><p>2:41</p><p> 22 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Integration of Technology into the Classroom: Case Studies152</p><p>of reliable and unreliable Internet resources. This paper outlines our projectin trying to implement technology into our teaching. We reflect on ourexperiences as well as provide suggestions for others. [Article copies availablefor a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678. E-mailaddress: Website: ]</p><p>KEYWORDS. Interdisciplinary curriculum, research, Internet, activelearning, cooperative learning, technology integration</p><p>BACKGROUND</p><p>Global Warming: A Heated Debate is an interdisciplinary projectthat has been developed as a result of a mini-grant awarded by theScarborough (Maine) School Department. These grants support teach-ers in developing assessments that measure student progress in meet-ing the State of Maine Learning Results (K-12 performance standards)( and/orpromote the use of technology to meet the Learning Results. Thisproject is based on the instructional model of a WebQuest, the develop-ment of which originated with Bernie Dodge, a professor at San DiegoState University. WebQuests are designed to effectively use the learn-ers time. In addition, the goal of a WebQuest is to extend and refineknowledge about a topic.</p><p>In this project, students take on roles as members of various groupstestifying before a special subcommittee whose task is to recommendwhether or not the U.S. Senate should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, aninternational agreement that outlines varying target levels for reduc-tions in greenhouse gases for industrialized nations. A lot of contro-versy exists regarding the topic of global warmingscientists havegenerally agreed that it is happening, but the extent to which it is beingcaused or accelerated by human activity is not so certain. Mandatedreductions in greenhouse gas emissions will almost certainly haveeconomic impacts on many industries and consumers (e.g., in the formof higher fuel taxes and material costs, decreased consumer choice,lost jobs, etc). So what should we do if we are not sure of the causes orthe outcomes of a problem? Can we afford to wait and take our chanceswith the outcomes until more is known, or should we act now, even ifthat action is costly? Students use various resources, many of them</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ein</p><p>dhov</p><p>en T</p><p>echn</p><p>ical</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 0</p><p>2:41</p><p> 22 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Research 153</p><p>online, to prepare a presentation for the subcommittee, giving thepoint of view of their interest group. In being asked to consider howsome of the other groups may rebut their arguments, students arealso able to see how the same scientific and economic data may beslanted or used differently by groups of differing points of view.</p><p>This project is targeted at middle school science curricula, but alsoinvolves social studies and language arts. It could also be modifiedand implemented at the high school level. We implemented the projectin two classrooms: in a multi-age, grades 6-8 mainstreamed classroomthat was team-taught and in a seventh-grade science class. The drivingforce behind the design of this project was to target the science andtechnology content standard in the State of Maine Learning Resultsentitled Implications of Science and Technology: Students willunderstand the historical, social, economic, environmental, and ethicalimplications of science and technology (p. 77). In addition, the stu-dents will demonstrate their ability to meet Inquiry and ProblemSolving standards, Civics and Government/International Relationsstandards, Economics/Economic Systems of the United States stan-dards in the social studies, and Research-Related Writing and Speak-ing standards in English language arts. Specific middle grades per-formance indicators that we feel this activity addresses are that thestudents will be able to:</p><p>1. Use search engines and other Internet resources to collect infor-mation for research topics.</p><p>2. Work, write, and speak effectively when doing research in allcontent areas.</p><p>3. Assess the ways in which the United States government has at-tempted to resolve an international problem.</p><p>4. Identify how the fundamental characteristics of the UnitedStates economic system (e.g., private property, profits, competi-tion, and price system) influence economic decision making.</p><p>5. Explain how personal bias can affect observations.6. Construct logical arguments.7. Research and evaluate the social and environmental impacts of</p><p>scientific and technological developments.8. Describe an individuals biological impact and other impacts on</p><p>an environmental system.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ein</p><p>dhov</p><p>en T</p><p>echn</p><p>ical</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 0</p><p>2:41</p><p> 22 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Integration of Technology into the Classroom: Case Studies154</p><p>9. Give examples of actions that may have expected or unexpectedconsequences that may be positive, negative, or both.</p><p>10. Explain the connections between industry, natural resources,population and economic development.</p><p>11. Discuss scientific and technological ideas and make conjecturesand convincing arguments.</p><p>12. Access information at remote sites using telecommunications.13. Identify and perform roles necessary to accomplish group tasks.</p><p>WHY DID WE TRY SOMETHING NEW?</p><p>The topic of global warming was not a new one in our teaching.Prior to WebQuest, a more traditional approach was used to teach thistopic. Classroom lecture along with students completing research proj-ects on various topics using library resources (including encyclopedi-as, journals, and CD-ROM resources) served as the means for learningabout global warming. While some students used Internet access athome as a resource, many were unable to discriminate between reli-able and unreliable sources.</p><p>We found that students often relied on frequently outdated informa-tion using this form of research, and most of the information wasprovided by the teacher in a didactic format (i.e., discussing graphs;presenting formulas, theories, and models, etc.). Since this approachdid not allow for the students to truly become active participants intheir learning, we sought a more constructivist approach to studentlearning.</p><p>These limitations, along with the efforts of our school to betterintegrate the Science and Technology State of Maine Learning Resultsinto our teaching and curriculum, suggested the integration of technol-ogy into our teaching. As a result of our efforts, we received a smallgrant to design and implement a Webquest project that focused on thetopic of global warming (</p><p>PROJECT DEVELOPMENT</p><p>There are many underlying principles that guided our work in de-veloping this project. First is the notion of active learning based on a</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ein</p><p>dhov</p><p>en T</p><p>echn</p><p>ical</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 0</p><p>2:41</p><p> 22 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Research 155</p><p>constructivist model. There is a great deal of research, not surprisingto teachers, that suggests students learn more and retain more whenthey are actively engaged in their own learning (Meyer &amp; Jones,1993). Participating in real-life simulations not only provides studentswith an authentic task in which to demonstrate knowledge and skills,but it gives credibility to the task. Students also can better understandthe purpose for a project that has real-life implications. When studentsare guided using a constructivist model (Brooks &amp; Brooks, 1993;Forman &amp; Kuschner, 1977), the teacher, and possibly peers, help themdevelop a deeper understanding of content and skills. In addition, ateacher interacting with students using a constructivist model focuseson each individual child, building on the students strengths to over-come areas of weakness. Second, and related to the first, is the notionof collaborative group work. The research in this area suggests thatstudents are academically stronger working with others than they arealone (Johnson, Johnson and Holubec, 1990; Slavin, 1990). In addi-tion, the teacher can structure classroom activities in such a way thatstudents support one another with the guidance to truly learn newinformation. Johnson, Johnson and Roy (1984) point out the impor-tance of working in groups: More elaborate thinking, more frequentgiving and receiving of explanations, and greater perspective in dis-cussion material seem to occur in heterogeneous groups, all of whichincrease the depth of understanding, the quality of reasoning, and theaccuracy of long-term retention (pp. 27-28). Third, the research onmultiple intelligences suggest that there is a wider family of humanintelligences than once believed (Gardner, 1983). Gardner proposedthat each person has one or more inherent intelligences that should bedeveloped in order for him/her to reach full potential. Teachers need toprovide more opportunities for students to share their knowledge indifferent ways so that we can tap into their different intelligences.Finally, in recent years, the implementation of an interdisciplinaryapproach to teaching has taken root in schools across the country(Willis, 1999). The ever-expanding curriculum and the standardsmovement has made it necessary to consider ways to integrate contentknowledge. Research has found that interdisciplinary learning pro-vides opportunities for students to apply skills, retrieve informationfaster, gain depth and breadth in learning, have more quality time forcurriculum exploration, and learn important information by truly un-derstanding concepts and underlying structures (Lipson, 1993).</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Ein</p><p>dhov</p><p>en T</p><p>echn</p><p>ical</p><p> Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity] </p><p>at 0</p><p>2:41</p><p> 22 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>Integration of Technology into the Classroom: Case Studies156</p><p>By implementing an interdisciplinary, technology-based group re-search project we hoped that students would (a) become more inter-ested and involved in their learning, (b) better understand and practicethe use of research skills, (c) be able to retrieve more current informa-tion for research projects from the Internet, (d) support on...</p></li></ul>


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