Sociological and cultural analysts have noted the reticence of public secondary schooling to recognize and build academic activities around the participatory culture in which adolescents are so readily involved (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton & Robison, 2009). Despite the Common Core State Standards having required students to demonstrate they can maximize technology to perform a range of skills involving targeted specialized research, organized writing, and visually intentional presentation (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices [NGA], Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], 2010), very few classrooms have followed through. The avoidance and or failure of these educational technology integrations in secondary subject content classes raised questions. A survey of the literature showcases the many ways in which technologies were not fully matched to the tasks, expectations, or teacher skills. The mystery of epic technological classroom can be resolved if we apply the lens of Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge (Shulman, 1986; Mishra & Koehler, 2006) which speaks about the interactions and alignment tensions among these three areas. When one has applied this TPACK lens we can best understand a range of surveyed literature that speaks to disconnect among technology affordances, teacher pedagogies, and requirements of content knowledge. Among a range of TPACK research emerges a sub-set that advocates for the value of cognitive scaffolding through hard scaffolds and soft scaffolds (Saye & Brush, 2002). Previous research has suggested the hard scaffolds can offer a built pedagogy filled with student project expectations and that soft scaffolds can provide specific practices support that is customized and relevant for participants. This research study engages in design-based research to refine hard and soft scaffolds to support high school social studies students through a multi-phase oral history project. Engaging 2 sections of students at a progressive public high school, the researcher engaged in a two-iteration cycle of design activities between November 2014 and March 2015. A student work digital portfolio was turned in after students used the first iteration scaffolds. After a teacher-provided analysis of student work using the researchers provided rubric, tweaks were made to the scaffolds. A post-interview with participant teachers provided further refinement.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Educational technology -- Evaluation; Education, Secondary -- Curricula -- Evaluation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Polin, Linda;