Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Hengtao Tang

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed methods action research study was to investigate the impact of collaborative teaching involving a school librarian and a social studies teacher on sixth-grade students’ unit projects, classroom engagement, and digital literacy skills. This study's innovation was twofold: academic content was infused with digital literacy skills instruction, and the librarian/researcher co-taught the unit with a regular academic content teacher. The study was designed to answer three research questions involving how instruction that integrates digital literacy and social studies content taught collaboratively by a librarian and social studies teacher influences sixth-grade social studies students’ performance on summative unit projects, what the effects are on student engagement when students receive this innovation instruction, and how this instruction influences sixth-grade social studies students’ performance on an online digital literacy assessment.

Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected during this study. Quantitative analysis revealed that students’ classroom engagement increased during the innovation unit, students scored higher on their digital literacy assessment, and students’ social studies project scores were significantly higher. Qualitative analysis revealed that students perceived bringing digital literacy into social studies content improved their awareness of and skills in digital literacy. Further, qualitative analysis indicated students perceived the presence of two teachers as beneficial to their learning because it increased their engagement, exposed them to a broader range of knowledge, and increased the pace of the class. Data analysis also revealed that students perceived that the inclusion of the librarian increased their interest in the class and that combining digital literacy instruction and social studies made social studies more engaging. Implications for this study include the potential for other librarians to use this research as an impetus to push harder to make collaborative partnerships in their schools more of a reality.

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