Outcomes of Various Scaffolding Strategies on Student Teachers' Digital Historical Inquiries
In this study, 30 students in a graduate level social studies methods course used digital historical resources to respond to a single question about the Cuban Missile Crisis: "How was the Cuban Missile Crisis resolved?" The participants were placed in three groups and each group was given a different scaffolding strategy for using online sources to answer the question. Participants searched for information using the Google search engine, were directed to a specific collection of 275 documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, or were directed to 5 specific documents relevant to their inquiry. Four primary findings resulted. 1) High quality sources are accessible by doing a simple Google search using terms such as "Cuban Missile Crisis." 2) Learners need mediating pedagogical structures when using large and medium size archival historical collections for historical inquiry. 3) Participants who used the 5 pre-selected documents were more likely to retain contextualized knowledge. 4) Residual learning effects are related to reflective thinking which occurs during and after using digital historical resources. We recommend that web developers consider the limitations of online historical resources and recommend that social studies teacher educators and K-12 teachers carefully select web based historical resources for use in their class.