Bold New Digital World for Social Studies Classrooms?

I rarely read the San Francisco Chronicle. However, I happened to be in the Bay Area this weekend and picked up the paper while eating breakfast at a cafe (yes, the print paper!) Much to my husbands displeasure, I couldn’t put this article down once I started reading it. The article, Tech’s Big Three creating bold new digital world, provides a vision of what the future may look like if Apple, Google and Facebook get their way. The article is a quick read, but it also links to three articles that dive deeper into the philosophies of each of these companies.

All together, it paints a picture of a very interconnected world where powerful search engines or applications give us the exact information we need at the exact moment that we need it. Of course, all of this interconnectedness and information comes to  us via our portable devices, not the good, old laptop that I’m writing on now. This great infographic provided by the Chronicle provides an at-a-glance summary of the visions of the three companies:

Visions of the Valley’s Big Three

  Apple Google Facebook
The vision PCs will give way to portable devices, and users will increasingly use apps instead of Web browsers for their online activities. Apps are a key  selling point for its devices. To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible. The more time people spend on the Internet, the more they will use its services. To turn the entire Internet into one interconnected “social graph,” where sites and services are linked through networks formed by Facebook members.


As educators, this article provides a glimpse into the lives that our students will live in as adults. So, are we preparing our students with the 21st century skills they will need for this bold, new world? The jury is still out on this one, and we certainly still have time to make adjustments to our education system. However, one thing I know for sure is that in this new world students will need to be critical  thinkers who can find information, organize and analyze it and then create something new from it. The good news is that the social studies classroom is a great place to teach these skills. Now, we just need to figure out the best practices for creating a 21st century social studies classroom while still handling all the other things that are required of us as teachers.

 What do you think is needed to begin creating a social studies classroom for this bold, new world?

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