Friday, December 9, 2016

2016 National Council for the Social Studies Conference

Washington D.C.

The AEC at NCSS 2016

Have you hugged a social studies teacher lately? You should! They're doing an amazing job of teaching the nation's students about the importance of history, the social sciences, and civics. Go ahead, go hug one. We'll wait.

Make sure they're cool with it first.

We just returned from the 2016 NCSS annual conference held, this year, in Washington D.C. The conference hosts thousands upon thousands of our nation's social studies teachers, bringing them together for several days of exhibits, talks, and workshops all focusing on how to better engage and educate their students. We were in attendance as part of the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse (AEC)-a joint effort by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) , and the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA)-to provide teachers with outreach material and curriculum developed by our organizations so that they can more easily bring archaeology education into their classrooms.

Plenty of exhibitors were on hand for the event.

The AEC is comprised of the AIA, SHA, and SAA

The AEC is just a few years old, but right from the start we recognized what an excellent opportunity it was for all of us to engage social studies teachers at one of their biggest conferences. The NCSS has as its guiding framework for programming the following themes:

  • Culture
  • Time, Continuity, and Change
  • People, Places, and Environments
  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
  • Power, Authority, and Governance
  • Production, Distribution, and Consumption
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Global Connections
  • Civic Ideals and Practices
Do you see archaeology in there? We see it in every single theme! We asked every teacher who stopped by the booth if they taught about archaeology in the classroom. Many answered that they didn't without realizing that much of the material they regularly cover deals directly with archaeology/anthropology. Much of the curricula developed by the SHA, SAA, and AIA touch on these themes in one way or another and our work at the conference was to highlight these connections for the educators.

3D models and 3D printed objects were a big hit with teachers

Some big takeaways from our conference conversations were that teachers need packaged material that they can "plug and play." They also are being tasked with incorporating more technology into their classrooms; most teachers we spoke to had 3D printers in their schools, for example, and were being asked to find a way to get students using them. Finally, teachers are always trying to find novel ways to bridge past events with present events. That was certainly big topic as we spoke to teachers in our nation's capitol. 

Maureen Malloy (SAA) and Bernard Means (VCU) setting up shop

The AEC held a brief workshop introducing teachers to our educational materials

The AEC will continue to collect and disseminate material for educators. The best part? It's free! The even better part? Teachers can contact us with any questions they have about educational material. We're doing everything we can to assist those working on the front lines to educate tomorrow's leaders, voters, legislators, and public. Do you know an educator who needs classroom curricula for social studies? Point them on over to the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse and let them know we're here to support their hard work! And, give them a hug from us.

Text: Kevin Gidusko
All by Kevin Gidusko except,

One Response so far.

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