College of Education > News and Publications > 2016: 01-03 news > State-of-the-art Social Studies Lab opens

State-of-the-art Social Studies Lab opens

The new Social Studies Lab will support instruction of students across the three social studies education certification levels — elementary, middle and secondary grades — and give faculty members options in their teaching methods.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Education today (Jan. 19) unveiled its new Social Studies Lab.

Social studies lab opens
Scott Metzger, associate professor of social studies education, teaches his first class in the new Social Studies Lab in the College of Education.
Located in 224 Chambers Building, the lab houses state-of-the-art, interactive digital technology, including communications and audio/visual tools. It will support instruction of students across the three social studies education certification levels — elementary, middle and secondary grades — and give faculty members options in their teaching methods.

“The lab is an enlarged, flexible classroom that contains everything needed to support any possible instructional approach, including small group collaboration, whole-room presentation, discussion pods, writing activities, peer revision teams, web teleconferencing, and media-infused instruction or interaction,” said Scott Metzger, associate professor of social studies education. “Students will be able to use this space for virtually any kind of activity or project that the instructor can envision.”

Students and faculty can take advantage of the lab’s wireless capabilities as well as four high-definition video projectors, two drop screens, and an interactive whiteboard. The new learning facility also has an 80-inch, high-definition touch screen that synchronizes with the lab’s built-in computer system as well as Apple TV.

Social studies education is a core part of school curriculum in the United States, Metzger said. He cited it as a necessity in American schools and the Social Studies Lab will provide teachers-in-training with high-quality educational experiences. It also will be used to support advanced coursework in social studies topics by graduate students.

Social Studies lab
The University approved funding for the new Social Studies Lab in Nov. 2014 and by Aug. 2015, renovations were already underway.
“Social studies classes in schools is where students learn to study publicly contentious topics in responsible, evidence-based ways that encourage productive civil discourse,” Metzger said. “Our graduating teachers will go out into schools already exposed to the future of digitally interactive and collaborative teaching and learning. This will directly benefit children and teens throughout Pennsylvania and the whole U.S., as Penn State teacher-graduates are in demand nationally.”

Use of the lab will begin this semester with a number of courses already planned to take place in the new space. For more information about the social studies education undergraduate programs, visit bit.ly/1O9erug online.

By Jessica Buterbaugh (January 2016)