Motivating Social Studies Students Through the Use of a Computer Simulation

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Abstract

Social studies students have often complained about a lack of relevance to their lessons. Students are not motivated to learn about ancient cultures and events. Understanding geography and basic economics is also seen as irrelevant to many students. Many students just cannot relate to the topics covered in a social studies class. A need to develop an activity that would help teachers show the relevance of these concepts, while keeping lessons updated and fresh was identified. The use of a computer simulation game, Civilization, was identified as a source capable of achieving the task. The project will be conducted in a 6th grade social studies classroom. As students relate their experiences in daily journals a foundation of learning will be created, and motivated students will begin to actively participate in daily lessons, raising measured test scores. Daily journals and observer evaluations will be used to collect data that will be scored and evaluated.

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Introduction

This project will use a computer-based simulation game to help students understand how the elements of geography, economics, diplomacy, cultural advancements, and other common components of social studies connect to each other. When students are able to see and understand this connection, it is believed, they will see the relevance of their social study lessons, and become more motivated to learn in this subject area. The rationale for choosing this project goes back to my days of student teaching. While social studies teachers’ may love listening to lectures on ancient cultures, and read history books in their spare time, very few students share that passion. Many of my students dusted off the over-used complaint from algebra class of “when do I ever need to use this?” Upon further conversations with other social studies teachers, this researcher found that they all believed that students were unmotivated to learn social studies concepts as they did not see the relevance of it in their daily lives. As teachers tried to motivate students through demonstrations and group projects, it was reported by the same teachers, and this researcher, that only a small number of students responded to this, and any motivational gains made were short-lived.

Civilization is a very popular game and teaches several key social study concepts. Students can learn about economics, diplomacy, geography, and even can re-create historical scenarios and guide the events. Participants in the game must master these basic concepts to advance in the game. This researcher is proposing to take these skills and relate them to the classroom. When students are able to relate to their lessons they will be motivated to learn and excited to discover that they understand these concepts.

Problem Statement

It has been witnessed in the classroom that student success has been hindered due to a general lack of engagement with traditional teaching methods. For example, the exam conducted by National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2001 showed that most of the students do not know what most of the signs and colors of the maps mean and they cannot use them: “The exam revealed that at every level (grades 4, 8, and 12) test items that required students to use and interpret maps were the most challenging. At grade 4, nine of the ten most difficult items required map interpretation, construction or use. For grades 8 and 12, five and seven of the ten most frequently missed questions involved maps” (Sarah Witham Bednarz et al. 2006). This is concerning because insufficient level of knowledge in this subject shows that students are not interested in it which negatively affects their school results.

Mike Spiess, a middle school social studies teacher, commented that it is difficult to find hands-on applications to involve the students in a lesson (personal communication, August, 2008). Another social studies teacher at the local high school noted that students are unable to relate, or find relevance in the lessons. Changing advancements in curriculum design and strategy has helped teachers to relate concepts to students better, however, there still exists an attitude that social studies is dull and boring, as well as irrelevant to student lives.

A great number of students keep to the point that social studies are boring: “For those who reported their past social studies courses as being either “very uninteresting” or “uninteresting,” the cumulative percentage was 41.5 percent” (William T. Owens, 1997). Being disinterested in the subject, the students refuse to pay any attention to studying it properly and getting bored in class inevitably inhibits their progress. In 1988 David M. Fetterman quoted the students saying “When I get bored with a class, I only do enough to get a B” and “When I get bored with a class, I don’t go.”

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More hands-on applications are needed to foster ownership in the students’ education and create greater student academic achievement. The basic teaching tools used are the textbook and lecture, followed by the occasional documentary. Even when a feature-length film is available, it is often inappropriate or inaccurate for classroom use. These teaching tools are only different in one way from the lecture provided by the teacher and textbook: they are provided on the television screen. Traditional teaching aids do not provide hands-on learning and only offer more of the same: lectures and dated videos that do not engage many students.

Literature Review

The use of multimedia in the classroom has become easier and less complicated with the increase of computer and internet accessibility in the classroom, as well as more and more user friendly technology being developed. Students and teachers are now allowed to take control of their learning experiences in ways that were never before imagined, making lessons exciting and fresh. Students are now entering the classroom already audio and video sophisticated. They are allowed to use their full range of senses to engage in their lessons. Students can link abstract concepts with real world events and situations (Hill, 1996). Many studies have shown that students are more motivated to learn, and have higher retention rates when multi-media is used in the classroom. Lessons are fresh and new to students, and when proper tools are used the lesson is always changing and keeping students on their toes (Ludwig, T., Daniel, D., Froman, R., & Mathie, A, 2005).

One report notes that multimedia presentations of material in classroom results in more material being covered during a lecture and causes the flow of information in class to be less disrupted (Ronald H. Nowaczyk et al., 1998). Though curriculum has been altered, and updated teaching methods used, little ground has been gained in the struggle to win over students’ enthusiasm (Byford & Chiod, 2004). One way to keep lessons up to date and relevant is by the use of current multimedia sources. Multimedia programs can teach students to think critically about how history is used in our society. It can help students see the relevance of the past and connect it to current issues and events. Multimedia simulations can help students make these connections. Learning from our past can be applied in a matter of minutes through simulations with out any harm. Students are even able to view history from both sides of an event, taking ownership of their learning. Understanding the motivations of nations and leaders of the past in ways that they could not understand before are possible as the students step into the shoes of leaders in a virtual past (McMichael, 2007).

Research on motivating students suggests that visual aids and activities that engage students and helps to motivate the learners allow students to see the relevance of the lesson. Showing students how the lesson is relevant to their culture helps build enthusiasm within the class. This builds energy and enhances the learning process for all involved. Research suggests that this is the best way to motivate students. Any activity that requires students’ participation and attention and allows students to create their own observations is an essential element to successfully motivating students (Hazelman et al., n.d.).

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Student self-esteem and confidence rises when they are allowed to explore their lessons through the use of technology. Students who are used to being lost in long lectures and the black and white pages of dated text books suddenly find themselves engaged. Prior knowledge is more easily activated through this method. Students begin to feel that they are in control and learning, as they build on that prior learning. Student motivation begins to grow, and with it self-esteem (Byer, 2002). They begin to realize that they are capable of succeeding in the classroom. Student attitude begins to change for the better, as does the way the teacher views the student (Ivers, 2003).

Students are allowed, through the use of technology, to experience learning in meaningful contexts. Problem solving skills are learned in authentic scenarios than those provided by textbooks. Students are now able to use a hands-on approach to history, something that was not possible in the decades before (Rice & Wilson, 1999, p. 29).

Many studies have looked into the question of whether or not multimedia-based lessons are more successful than traditional text-based lessons. This review has found that there are several reports that back up this claim. The ability to reach students from several channels of learning is essential, and best done through the use of technology. This method allows learners of various styles to be reached at the same time. Many multimedia tools offer visual, interactive and critical thinking interfaces. Learners of all levels are able to manipulate lessons to their advantage (Ioannou et al., n.d.; Macaulay & Pantazi, 2006; H. Nowaczyk et al., 1998; Velleman & Moore; 1996).

Many studies have shown that multimedia lessons take less time, are more enjoyable, and increase learning and retention. Interactive media is even better than the standard graphic presentations often used. Student participation is much higher, as opportunities to participate are greatly increased using these methods (Hick, 1997). Higher order thinking skills are learned from diving in and simulating strategic plans and societies through computer simulation. Students also master technology skills necessary for success in today’s work place (Federation, 2005). While some research shows that students lack the background knowledge to read and translate historical texts for relevance, students can quickly master modern computer based technology. Asking these students to master learning methods that seem dated and out of touch has made some students hostile to social studies, almost viewing history as myth (Barab, Squire, n.d.)

The use of multimedia in lessons has made organization and communication much simpler for teachers, as well as students. The chalk board was replaced with the white board and dry erase pens; the overhead is now replaced with the actual projection of the teachers computer screen onto the wall for the entire class to see. However, the most remarkable change is the ease in staying up-to-date with new methods and ideas. Multimedia presentations allow the learner to relate experiences better through the use of graphics and up to date data that can be easily inserted into the lesson without starting from scratch (Bellaver, n.d.). As social studies are the study of our changing world and history, the need to consistently update lessons is essential. Several of the reports note the need to keep lessons up to date and relevant. Often, lessons need to have more added onto them as years go by. Rather than handing out supplemental handouts to add to dated textbooks, multimedia lessons can simply be extended without disrupting the flow of the lesson (Sanders, 1998). Research by the National Center on Assessing the General Curriculum (NCAC) claims that computer simulations develop conceptual change, skill development, and content area knowledge. These simulations help students confront and correct misconceptions about history, as well as other subjects.

One major problem with using modern PC technology in the classroom is the abundance of inaccurate sources disguised as legitimate research. The internet has allowed for the dissemination of information, but many of these so called researchers publish articles that seem to be based in imagination. Teachers must monitor and research what kind of research is available. In an attempt to organize lessons many teachers have only discovered more headaches than benefits when experimenting with unknown and untested technology (Shiveley, Vanfossen, 1999).

Research suggests that teachers must keep abreast of the changing forms of multi media and technology available. Students respond better to modern, relevant methods of instruction that incorporate technology designed to react multiple styles of learners. The most efficient method to do this is through the use of computer technology and simulations that activate prior student learning. When this happens students become engaged and motivated to learn and begin to view their experiences as fun and rewarding.

Research Questions and Goal Statement

  1. What non-traditional methods or activities can be used to better engage students in the social studies classroom?
  2. How can a computer simulation game affect student success in learning complex social studies concepts such as economics, diplomacy, cultural advancements, and geographic influences on a culture?
  3. Will this simulation help to build knowledge that can be activated in subsequent classroom lessons?

If these questions can all be answered positively, then social studies teachers will be able to replace their outdated media presentations with a more effective learning tool. Students will be able to see the big picture and will understand that social studies is more than memorization of dates and names. Students will learn to enjoy these lessons and understand social studies concepts with a newfound clarity. This will lead to a vast improvement in student achievement levels.

The purpose of this research project is to determine if a popular computer game, Civilization III, can provide an adequate media tool for a social studies lesson. This game requires students to take an active part in ancient world history and events. Players of this game must create a city, build a nation, manage diplomatic relations, and build wonders relevant to their culture and time. Students also will have to react to the geography of their region in the simulation. Students will be engaged as they begin to understand how all the aspects of social studies can affect their lives. The goal is to increase student achievement by motivating the students and sparking an interest in social studies. Student excitement and motivation will lead to better understanding of social studies topics. When students hear about clashes between civilizations, the bronze armored Greeks against the wicker armored Persians, they will understand these differences better. The students will be able to connect better to the events, as they will have controlled them and related to them through the simulation. Students hearing about how our current administration wishes to enter into diplomatic negotiations, rather than jump to military actions, will understand why. They will have seen the effects of war and benefits of negotiation through their simulated struggles.

If the curriculum is effective the number of students actively engaged in the social studies classroom will increase by at least 30 percent, the unit test scores of the participants will improve by one grade, the knowledge acquired by means of simulation game will be used in subsequent classroom lessons as firm background knowledge facilitating the absorption of new information.

As students accomplish tasks through their simulation, they will be asked to reflect on their experiences and the results of their actions. Students will also be given a series of multiple choice short quizzes (See Appendix J). Students will not be required to write more than a short response in the journal (See Appendix A). When students begin to write longer and more detailed responses, this will be an indicator of growing motivation. Since students will be required to write short responses, a desire on the student’s part to explain their experiences more, beyond what is required, will be seen as a growing excitement about their experiences. An active desire and effort to share and elaborate more on their experiences will be an indicator that the students are excited about what they are learning. Teacher observations will also record any visible increase in motivation through added participation and improvement on classroom work. Students will begin to relate lessons from the classroom to the simulation or even from the simulation to the classroom. These are all signs of learning and motivation.

Thus, the computer game Civilization will be introduced as a new non-traditional method of teaching social studies which would help to fight the boredom in the class. At the end of the research it will be possible to state whether the computer simulation contributed into the students’ success in the sphere of economics, diplomacy, cultural advancements, and geographic influences on a culture as well as whether it helped enlarge their knowledge beyond the lesson plan. If the experiment is successful, the students will start participating in class discussions more actively which will prove their interest in social studies.

Hypothesis statement

According to veteran social studies teacher, Mike Spiess, social studies students have little motivation to learn and explore their subject. They do not see the relevance of studying the past and ancient cultures; they feel a general disconnect with the topics and lack enthusiasm (personal communication, August, 2009). Another high school social studies teacher, L. Bailey, commented on how students do not understand why they need to know what is going on in other parts of the world, areas that they may never visit (personal communication, January 2007). Many students find this subject dull and completely irrelevant. This negative attitude spreads and is picked up at home and in the administration as well (Ballou, 1985). Telling students that a subject is important has never been an effective motivational tool. Some activities used to motivate social studies lessons, holding a class Olympics for a lesson on Greece are fun diversions, but do not do much to motivate students beyond that day. The use of multimedia to change and add images and the overall look of lessons, captures the students’ attention, however, it fails to hold on to it. Students need to be involved and allowed to explore and interact (Byford & Chiod, 2004). Playing games and allowing students to navigate through interactive tutorials do not help the unmotivated student. Introducing a more stimulating multimedia tool that simulates historical events and cultures that the students can control will increase student success, motivation, and attitude.

Participants

The participants in this study will be a middle school class of sixth graders at a local private Catholic school, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Their ages range from 11-12. The class consists of 6 girls and 12 boys 78% of the class is Caucasian and 22% is Hispanic. The students who did not want to take part in the experiment will not made to do this.

(Name of the school) is located in (city). Describe the demographics of the community here.. (Name of school) is a private Catholic school with grades (list grades taught at school). The school is funded (primarily? Exclusively?) by students’ tuition and families who are active Catholics receive a discount in tuition.. Families are also strongly advised to volunteer at the school as monitors and lunch room helpers, therefore there is substantial parental involvement. The school is well respected in the city and is well known throughout the state, and most of the Pacific Northwest, for its academic and athletic accomplishments, winning several state titles in athletics.

(Name of school) does not have a special education program or in class-tutors. Students have a technology course (or computer time??), therefore most students have the requisite computer skills to navigate a computer-based simulation without much instruction.

A preliminary poll was distributed to the students in the call and the results showed that students understand the importance of learning social studies though they admit that they are not interested in most of them since the presentation of the study material includes mostly “boring text-books” containing only bare listing of facts. Test scores showed that all these learners are slightly above average as far as education. Most of the students keep to visual and auditory learning styles though the number of those who keep to the visual one prevails due to the fact that this is how they are typically taught.

The group of the students who participate in the research consists of volunteers. The students who did not want to take part in the experiment were not made to do this. Parents’ permission for taking part in the experiment is obligatory and obtained by a written note stating their consent. Each learner has an assigned number which he/she puts on the paper when writing the tests. At this, the numbers are given at random by the learners’ pulling a card with a number anonymously. The teacher needs to know the numbers of the learners as he/she has to record the progress of the students’ participation in the class discussions.

Below is proposed timeline for the completion of the data collection portion of this project.

  • Date: Lesson 1 – Giving the students the questionnaire (See Appendix D). Acquaintance with the game. Allowing students to create a city, set taxes and budget
  • Date: Lesson 2 – The students are supposed to create two cities with different terrains and build a road connecting them which will allow to open a trade route
  • Date: Lesson 3 – Building Sparta and a neighboring city to provide Sparta with tribute. Giving the students a quiz (See Appendix J)
  • Date: Lesson 4 – Building roads to the rival cities and searching out natural resources. Preparing the cities’ economy for the war. Starting the war. Date: Lesson 5 – Ending the war by negotiating peace at any cost. Redirection of economies
  • Date: Lesson 5 – Ending the war by negotiating peace at any cost. Redirection of economies. Giving the students a quiz (See Appendix J)
  • Date: Lesson 6 – Introducing tax collectors thus creating a revolt. Reducing education and science. Altering budget and production mode. Giving the students a quiz (See Appendix J)
  • Date: Lesson 7 – Creating a new civilization. Building no more than four cities
  • Date Lesson 8 – Allowing students to create a new civilization on the basis of the wrongs they listed in the review. Creation of no more than four cities
  • Date: End of unit test administered

Instruments

Data will be collected to measure a change in attitude toward social students and to measure the academic performance. The students will be offered to rank their subject on a scale from 1-5, 1 being the most favorite subject and 5 being the least favorite one (see Appendix D) as well as add a brief explanation why they gave a subject a particular score. The journals that will be used to record daily data will coincide with a daily instruction of how the students should perform during the simulation. The journals will also contain a brief daily survey in the form of short answers (see Appendix F). The journal responses require students to describe interactions, advancements made, and unexpected encounters. The purpose of the journals is to trace the progress and to find out the students’ opinions about the introduced changes. A series of short quizzes will be administered to test learning (see Appendix J). The purpose of the quizzes is to find out how much the students learned from the lessons and how well they understand the subject. The teacher’s unit test will be administered as well (see Appendix H). The unit test scores will be compared with the results of quizzes and responses in journals to find out whether the desired results were achieved.

Materials

The materials needed are 3 computers with speakers, and three copies of the computer simulation program, Civilization III. Civilization III is a commercial computer game published in 2001 by Infogrames. This game was developed for retail sale that can be purchased online or at any retail store for approximately $30.00. Civilization III requires a basic PC, cd-rom drive and monitor. The game has been rated “E for Everyone” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, so it is appropriate for students of this age and grade level. Civilization III was selected for this project because.

Documents, including journal prompts, researcher survey, quizzes, observation forms, are located in the appendix (See Appendices A-F).

Research Design

My project will be carried out using experimental research. I will introduce a new variable, the simulation, and observe its effects on student motivation and acheivement.. Data will be collected through participant journals, daily quizzes, observations, and unit test results. Students will dedicate 20 minutes a day to this project for 8 days.

Qualitative data will be obtained through student journals. It is anticipated that students will share their achievements and impressions after using the game. Daily journal questions and tasks will coincide with the textbook unit objectives (see Appendix G & J). Students will be given a task to complete in the simulation and will then be asked to comment on and justify their actions.

The teacher observation questionnaire will simply ask the teacher to measure the student participation on a number scale, 1= active (more than 3 comments or questions) participation in class discussions, 2= minimal (1-2 comments or questions) participation in class discussions, 3= zero voluntary participation in class discussions. Any observed deviations from the students’ typical participation will also be noted (see Appendix C).

The teacher will provide information from the students’ previous and current test results to provide a baseline for this study. The post-test from the textbook, Harcourt Brace Social Studies-The World, will be administered following the simulation unit. The results from the post-test following the simulation unit will be averaged with their score from prior to the project. The questionnaire asking students to give subjects a score on a scale of 1-5 that was administered at the beginning of the study, will be re-administered to measure student change in attitude.

The questionnaire is a reliable source of necessary information about the learners as it is anticipated that they will give precise and fair answers to the questions which will help determine why they are more interested in particular subjects. The student journals will help to show the influence of simulation game on the students.

Research Procedure

This instructional unit will be presented in 8 class sessions over approximately two weeks, then a final test. There will be some preliminary information gathered prior to entering the class for the instructional unit. The first step in this project is to circulate questionnaires regarding student attitudes toward the subjects they are studying. This researcher will also collect background information such as students’ previous test scores and grades , as well as anecdotal information from the teacher about the students’ previous level of participation in class. (See Appendix E). This information will establish a baseline and will serve as a guide of the entire study.

The next step will be to conduct teacher interviews asking how to best approach the students, and where and when to conduct the project, as well as any special teacher needs or concerns. Once this stage is completed, this researcher will administer the questionnaire regarding student attitudes toward the subjects they are studying approximately two weeks before entering the class to begin the simulation unit (See Appendix D). The questionnaire will ask the students to rate the subjects they are studying on a scale of 1to 5 and ask for a brief explanation of why they gave each subject the score they did. This information is important because it helps to understand which subjects the students dislike and what can be done in order to make them interested in these subjects. This researcher will also get a report from the teacher that provides average test results of previous test results for the participants. This data will be compared to the end of unit test administered at the conclusion of the simulation unit.

The Friday before beginning the instructional unit portion of the project, the researcher will meet with the participants and will give a brief introduction to the simulation program and answer any technical questions the students or teacher may have. This researcher will demonstrate how to maneuver through the simulation, and point out different options and graphics that are relevant.

The project will begin on the next Monday. The students will be taught by the normal teacher and then a group of students will be selected to do the simulation. The students will be randomly chosen but taking part in the experiment is voluntary. During the activities, observation, quizzes and unit tests will be the main data collection method. The students will be lectured and given the normal reading assignment from the textbook and will then be given 1-3 tasks to complete in the simulation (See Appendix G for daily lesson plans). An example of a task may be to create a city next to a swamp, and then later they will be asked to comment on how that swamp may have diverted attention from other tasks and resources. They may also be told to seek out another city to trade with. A task like this will give them a firsthand understanding of how geography can effect a city’s growth, what and how resources are distributed and how relations with other rival cities require compromise or even one sided. There should be additional time for the students to further interact with other cultures in the simulation and develop theirs as they wish. Students may use this time to follow up on newly developed interests or continue to maneuver through the simulation.

Every action students complete in the simulation will be discussed through a Q and A session at the end of the class. Students will then be given approximately 20 minutes to write their answers and reflections in their journal. The researcher will grade the student journal responses on a level of 1-3, with 1 being an excellent response and 3 being a minimal effort. Responses will be graded, for research purpose only, based on depth of response and the students’ understanding of their actions in the simulation and whether or not they recognize how their actions affect the reactions they are receiving from other civilizations.

The classroom teacher will also be filling out an observation sheet daily tracking the students’ participation in classroom discussions. As the unit progresses, the teacher’s classroom observations will also show how the students’ behavior and performance has changed, if they participate more, turn in assignments early, and if there is a marked improvement in their daily work.

At the conclusion of the unit, the classroom teacher will administer the unit test from the required textbook. The scores from this test will be compared to students’ average scores on prior unit tests to gauge any improvement in academic achievement.

Role and bias as the researcher

In this research method, very little bias is expected. The researcher will be providing guidance on using the program; however, the researcher will not be leading the students. The students will be given guidelines on what to do and how to interact in the simulation game; their experiences will be providing the foundation of the lesson. Students will be told that this simulation should help them learn more, so they may give more attention to the lesson than usual. However, it is possible that a student who is less computer literate than his/her peers will not get the full effects of the project, as extra time may be spent in basic computer instruction.

Data Collection Methods

This researcher will collect data on this project through personal observations in the social studies classroom. This researcher will make observations of student motivation levels and daily journal entries and annotate them in my log on a daily basis (see appendix B). Students will have a journal in which they keep a daily log of their activities and their own interpretations of their experiences (See Appendix A).

Host teacher observations will be made during the second, fifth and eighth lessons (see Appendix C). This researcher will administer quizzes and journal questions (see Appendix G & J).

The researcher will also measure the improvement of student test scores based on a teacher-provided average from the students’ previous work, and the score of the unit test following my study, as well as improvement in daily journal quizzes. As the teacher continues with his/her daily lessons he/she will report the scores of his/her tests to me for me to compare to student scores prior to my project. The teacher’s unit tests will not be altered from his/her norm in any way.

Data Analysis

This researcher will use inferential statistic analysis to break down that data and use it to explain how and why the group has changed its behavior. Their ranking of social studies will have rank of 1-3 or possibly a 0 if it was not mentioned, 1 = that social studies was their favorite subject, 2 = their second and 3= their worst, with 0= not mentioned at all and a. As the project begins, students will be given the afore mentioned survey questionnaire to fill out; these will be administered in the end as well. This will give a numerical translation as to what the class motivation level is. An example is 20% of students reported social studies with a score of 2, while only 2% identified with a score of 1. This survey will be issued again at the completion of the project to measure and shift in the numbers.

The Integrity of Data

Student journals will be graded by the researcher based on the overall average of their daily entry scores. Their daily scores will be measured to see if they are increasing in grade, decreasing, or maintaining. The researcher will carefully analyze student journals. Every student entry will be read and compared to the prior day’s entry, and graded under the standards and methods laid out earlier in this proposal. Students who spend more time commenting on the day’s session will be seen as more motivated, as they are going beyond their daily norm and effort levels. As the journal progresses this researcher, will look for any hint that the student is commenting on actual scenarios, showing an understanding, and not just reporting what was done. Any movement towards a more descriptive entry will be measured and viewed as a change in attitude and understanding, as it will show that the student is voluntarily going beyond what is expected. Any specific examples that can be cited from the questionnaires will be noted to help explain the shift in student interest. After the project has run its course, the teacher will report new test score averages. These score reports will be compared to the final reports of the participants. These scores will be analyzed to measure if their project progress can be translated to their classroom progress.

The method of using surveys and student journals is the best way to show if student attitude has changed. The surveys will give students a direct voice to rate their attitude towards social studies. The student journals will help to measure the shift in attitude and motivation towards social studies. Simple test results will not reflect a change in attitude, but will help to enforce the findings of the journals. If student journal scores increase and so does student test scores, than it can assumed that increased motivation led to better student classroom performance. The unit tests will be given on the last day of the experiment. The results of the test will show whether the students improved their knowledge on the subject and whether they became more interested in it. This method allows the researcher to break down complex student entries and feelings into statistical scales that show movement towards a goal.

If there is a significant movement in a positive direction, being that students are elaborating more in journals and participating more in classroom discussions, then this researcher will be able to show that through the course of the project, a change in attitude has occurred. The same movement in test score averages will apply. As students become more motivated, their test scores will improve, as will as overall participation in the class. If the results of the test scores will be high, this will show that the students learned the material properly and will be able to use it in the subsequent classes. If the project thesis is a failure, then the statistical presentation of the data will show no movement, or negative movement.

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ChalkyPapers. (2022, July 15). Motivating Social Studies Students Through the Use of a Computer Simulation. https://chalkypapers.com/motivating-social-studies-students-through-the-use-of-a-computer-simulation/

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ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'Motivating Social Studies Students Through the Use of a Computer Simulation'. 15 July.

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ChalkyPapers. 2022. "Motivating Social Studies Students Through the Use of a Computer Simulation." July 15, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/motivating-social-studies-students-through-the-use-of-a-computer-simulation/.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Motivating Social Studies Students Through the Use of a Computer Simulation." July 15, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/motivating-social-studies-students-through-the-use-of-a-computer-simulation/.


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ChalkyPapers. "Motivating Social Studies Students Through the Use of a Computer Simulation." July 15, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/motivating-social-studies-students-through-the-use-of-a-computer-simulation/.