Johnson earns NTLI paper award

Aaron Johnson and colleagues were honored with the NTLI Technology Paper Award from CUFA.
Aaron Johnson and colleagues were honored with the NTLI Technology Paper Award from CUFA.

Aaron Johnson, assistant professor of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, and colleagues received a National Technology Leadership Initiative's (NLTI) Technology Paper Award by the College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA), a research affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). The award was presented in San Francisco at the CUFA/NCSS annual conference Nov. 15-17 in San Francisco. Johnson is a former middle school social studies teacher who specializes in social studies education, technology integration, global education and citizenship education.

The award was given for the presentation and paper, "Making the Invisible Visible: Evaluating the Use of Mixed Reality to Teach a Forgotten Local History - School Segregation - with 5th Graders," co-authored by David Hicks (Virginia Tech), Todd Ogle (Virginia Tech), Stephanie van Hover (University of Virginia), Doug Bowman (Virginia Tech) and Eric Ragan (Texas A&M). Presented at the CUFA/NCSS conference, the paper looked specifically at the use of augmented reality to sustain student inquiry.

The project used an app to allow students to explore the 100 plus year history of the former Christianburg Institute (CI), an all African-American school in Montgomery County, Virginia. The vocational school was closed following the passage of segregation laws in the 1950s.

"This award represents the culmination of more than three years of work that included a committed interdisciplinary team that willingly embraced opportunities to learn from each other," said Johnson. "It also represents the role research can have on the local community. As a result of the experience students in one class developed a series of letters and plans that were presented to the local school board calling for the CI campus to be memorialized and turned into a museum. These calls eventually led to a local high school installing a small permanent exhibit of CI within their school and a number of elementary schools have since invited CI alumni as guest speakers to talk about their experiences at CI."

Each year the CUFA Awards Committee selects/awards an exemplary conference paper that addresses technology integration in the social studies. The award is sponsored by the Society for Information and Teacher Education (SITE).