There are some key strategies for integrating technology into social studies curricula. They are simulated problem-solving environment, graphic representations, virtual trips, adventure learning, digital storytelling, digital information critiques, electronic research, GIS and GPS lessons, practice of factual information and web-enrichment activities. Simulated problem-solving often let students interact with simulated events or locations. Graphic representations are used to help students visualize certain concepts. An example of this would be timeline generators. Virtual trips are as they sound. They allow students to visit different websites to see places that they would not normally get the opportunity to see. Adventure learning is a distance learning approach that gives students the opportunity to explore real world issues. Digital story telling is when stories are told by the use of images and audio. Digital information critiques is when students have the ability to review and critique digital information. Electronic research is when a student has the ability to research topics, such as, dates or events through a variety of different ways. GIS and GPS, also known as geospatial technologies allow students to see the world through multiple layering of data within a spatial environment, like Google earth. The practice of factual information is very useful. This is where students use drills-and-practice, instructional game software, or pay-to-view internet sites to help them learn better. Web-Enrichment activities such as news-2-you, social studies webquest or geocaching tutorials are great activities to use.
There are currently six issues affecting the acquisition and use of technology in special education classrooms. They are legal and policy directives, implication of the No Child Left Behind Act, need for trained personnel, requirements for Inclusive classrooms, universal design for learning and web accessibility. There are a lot of laws and policies that come into affect when dealing with special education. All school personnel are limited on what information they can share and also limited on how to act when certain situations may arise. There is the Technology-Related Assistance Act for Individuals with Disabilities that came into effect in 1998. It provides the money for technology and devices to help those with disabilities. The Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act came into effect in 1997. It states that the IEP team looks for technology that will help each individual. The No Child Left Behind Act for special education makes every school provide documentation of each child’s progress. Every child has to have documentation even those with disabilities. The need for trained personnel is extremely important. Teachers dealing with special education children need to be knowable and understanding. There are requirements for inclusive classrooms. Instead of placing students with disabilities in a classroom all on their own, they are placed into regular classrooms with their peers. Although children with disabilities are placed into regular classroom certain accommodations need to be made. The universal design for learning allows physical accommodations for those students who need them. Web accessibility is when web sites are made more usable to students with disabilities. These things would include enlarged print or screen readers.