EDC Invites Social Studies Teachers to Field-Test New Digital Tool

Photo of PI Bill Tally

EDC is seeking Grade 6–9 social studies teachers to help field-test Zoom In, a free online learning experience funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that engages students in historical thinking and “deep dives” into primary and secondary sources. Zoom In’s mini-lessons align with NAEP assessment chronological periods, the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy, and the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The field-test will feature 10 lessons—on topics such as women’s role in the American Revolution, slavery, early industrialization, the Civil War, immigration, World War II—as well as a rich array of resources for teachers. Zoom In’s PI Bill Tally (at left) notes, “Zoom In offers a highly interactive and supportive learning environment for students and teachers. The site guides students through the same process of analyzing a source that historians use to discriminate among and make meaning of historical documents. Who wrote this? What do we know about them? What audience were they trying to inform or persuade? This process hones students’ ability to critically evaluate sources—a key part of being a discriminating consumer of information in the Digital Age, as well as a historian—and builds skills in close reading of complex texts, citing evidence, making arguments, and communicating reasoning orally and in writing.”

Researcher Noah Goodman adds, “Zoom In is designed to help social studies teachers foster students’ acquisition of literacy skills. One of the site’s most unique features is a set of real-time formative assessment tools that help teachers ‘look in on’ student writing and note-taking as it’s happening, do some diagnostic work, and refine their instruction to give kids the help they need. The site also offers tutorials and videos on how to guide students through the source analysis process, well-crafted ‘hooks’ to help teachers get students excited about the topics, slides to give students essential background knowledge, and more.” Goodman and colleague Ilisa Guarneri will present a July 1 poster session focused on Zoom In at the upcoming 2014 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Are you a Grade 6–9 social studies teacher who is willing to use a minimum of two Zoom In mini-units in the course of either the Fall or Spring 2014-2015 school year? If so, please contact Heather Kim immediately. Teachers who participate in all data collection activities in the study will receive compensation.
  • Would you like a sneak preview of Zoom In? Or would you like to learn more about the project? Visit Zoom In’s website.

Last Updated: June 2014