Skip to main content

Meghan Manfra

Faculty Chair and Associate Professor

Director of Graduate Program/TELS

Poe 402 P

View CV 


Meghan McGlinn Manfra (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on the integration of technology in secondary social studies classrooms and action research as a professional development tool for teachers. She is the author of Action Research for Classroom, Schools, and Communities (Sage) and editor of the Handbook of Social Studies Research (Wiley Press). Her research has been broadly publised in numerous journal articles and book chapters. As the technology section co-editor she regularly publishes a research column for Social Education, the top journal of National Council for the Social Studies. She has extensive background in educational research and evaluation, including serving as evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History Grant program, “History LINK” (Durham and Franklin counties), and as the assessment coordinator for education programs for the NSF Nanotechnology Engineering Research Center, ASSIST, at NC State University. She was recently awarded a grant from the Spencer Foundation for her project, “Changing Teaching Practice: Integrating the C3 Framework through Action Research.”

Dr. Manfra is a former high school history teacher. She attended Elon College as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and began her career at Northwest Guilford HS. She completed a master’s degree (MA) in history at the University of North Carolina -Greensboro and received her doctorate (PhD) in education at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Research Description

My two main areas of research are: 1) the integration of technology in secondary social studies classrooms and 2) action research as a professional development tool for teachers.

Ever since I was a classroom teacher, I have been interested in understanding how web-based technology can be used to create authentic learning opportunities for students. In the early days I studied webquests, whereas today, I am interested in digital history and web 2.0 tools, including student created digital documentaries, social media, and digital blogging tools. My research related to technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) emphasizes that pedagogical decision making fundamentally impacts the direction and scope of technology integration. Without a shift in pedagogy, technology alone cannot improve student learning.

At the same time, I have worked with many schools and teachers on curriculum development and school reform initiatives, including the integration of technology. This work has made it apparent that traditional approaches to professional development (short, one-size-fits-all workshops) are ineffective. Action research orients professional learning towards issues that arise from practice. More than just informal reflection, action research is systematic and intentional inquiry into practice. It follows a cycle of inquiry and generates “insider knowledge.” When used as a tool for professional learning, action research is more likely to bring about changes in practice. My current research is exploring ways that action research can be used to bring about change at the classroom and school levels through partnerships with university-based researchers.

An example of a project that builds on my two research interests is the Connecting Carolina program. Through a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, I have been able to collaborate with the NC Museum of History and social studies specialists from across the state. We are focusing on improving social studies education by providing teachers with access to digital history materials and inquiry strategies to teach historical concepts. Embedded within this program is an emphasis on teachers as action researchers, studying student outcomes, and as teacher leaders, sharing their expertise with colleagues. See for an example of the curriculum materials we have developed over the course of the program.

Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Manfra, M.M. (2021). Action research for classrooms, schools, and communities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Reviewed in Teacher’s College Record here: {}
  • Manfra, M.M., Grant, M., Turcol, K., Boop. L., Beller, D., Grow, M., & Grondziowski, A. (2021). Issues and opportunities in the digital transformation of social studies instruction. Social Education, 85(2). 93-97.
  • Manfra, M.M. (2020). Digital history 2020. Social Education, 84(2), 118-122.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Greiner, J.A. (2020). Integrating the C3 Framework in the social studies: An action research study. Social Studies Research and Practice.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Holmes, C.** (2020). Integrating media literacy in social studies teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 20(1). Retrieved from Awarded the National Technology Leadership Initiative Award.
  • Manfra, M.M., Lee, J.K., Grant, M. (2020). Designing inquiry during a pandemic: A professional learning experience for social studies teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education , 29(2), 1-11.
  • Manfra, M.M. (2019). Action research and systematic change in teaching practice. Review of Research in Education, 43, 1, 163-196
  • Manfra, M.M. (2019). What’s new about fake news? Integrating digital history for media literacy. Social Education, 84(3), 113-117
  • Manfra, M.M., & Holmes, C. (2018). Media literacy and fake news in the social studies. Social Education, 83(2), 91-95.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Bolick, C.M., Eds. (2017). The handbook of social studies research. NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Bolick, C.M., Eds. (2017). The handbook of social studies research. NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Manfra, M.M. (2017). Practitioner research in the social studies: Findings from action research and self-study. In MM Manfra & C.M. Bolick (Eds.) Handbook of Social Studies Research (pp. 132-167). MA: Wiley.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Saylor, E.E.** (2016). Which woman should appear on U.S. currency? Using primary sources to explore important historical figures. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 29(1), 27-32.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Greiner, J. A**. (2016). Technology and disciplined inquiry in the world history classroom. Social Education, 80(2), 123-128.
  • Marshall, P.M., Manfra, M.M., & Simmons, C.G. (2016). No more playing in the dark: Twenty-first century citizenship, critical race theory, and the future of the social studies methods course. In Alicia Crowe and Alex Cuenca (Eds.) Rethinking social studies teacher education (pp. 61-79), NY: Springer.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Brown, S.** (2015). Digital history and the Holocaust: Student documentaries based on the C3 Framework. Social Education, 79(2), 111-114.
  • Bolick, C.B., Franklin, C., & Manfra, M.M. (2014). History through a child’s eye: Preservice teachers making sense of children’s understandings. Social Studies Research and Practice, 9(3), 1-20.
  • Manfra, M.M. (2013). Grand challenges: Nanotechnology and the social studies. Social Education, 77(2), 97-100.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Bullock, D.K.** (2013). Action research for educational communications and technology. In J.M. Spector, D. Merrill, J. Elen, and M.J. Bishop eds. (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology. NY: Springer.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Spires, H. (2013). Creative synthesis and TPACK: Supporting teachers through a technology and inquiry-rich graduate degree program. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education.
  • Berson, I., Berson, M., & Manfra, M.M.* (2012). Touch, type, and transform: iPads in the social studies classroom. Social Education, 76(2), 88-91.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Lee, J.K. (2012): “You have to know the past to (blog) the present:” Using an educational blog to engage students in U.S. history. Computers in the Schools, 29(1), 118-134.
  • Manfra, M., & Lee, J. K. (2011). Leveraging the affordances of educational blogs to teach low-achieving students United States history. Social Studies Research and Practice 6(2), 95-105.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Coven, R.M.** (2011). A digital view of history: Drawing and discussing models of historical concepts. Social Education, 75(2), 102-106.
  • Manfra, M.M., Gray, G.E., & Lee, J.K. (2010). Blogging to learn: Educational blogs and U.S. history. Social Education, 74(2), pp. 111-113, 116.
  • Hammond, T.C., & Manfra, M.M.* (2009a). Digital history with student-created multimedia: Understanding student perceptions. Social Studies Research & Practice, 4(3), 139-150.
  • Hammond, T. C., & Manfra, M. M.* (2009b). Giving, prompting, making: Aligning technology and pedagogy within TPACK for social studies instruction. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(2), 160-185.
  • Manfra, M.M. (2009a). Authentic intellectual work on school desegregation: The digital history of Massive Resistance in Norfolk, Virginia. Social Education, 73(3), 131-135.
  • Manfra, M.M. (2009b). Critical inquiry in the social studies classroom: Portraits of critical teacher research. Theory and Research in Social Education, 37(2), 298-316.
  • Manfra, M.M. (2009c). Action research: Exploring the theoretical divide between practical and critical approaches. Journal of Curriculum & Instruction, 3(1), 32-46.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Bolick, C.M. (2008). Reinventing master’s degree study for experienced social studies teachers. Social Studies Research & Practice, 3(2), 29-41.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Hammond, T. (2008). Teachers’ instructional choices with student-created digital documentaries: Case studies. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(2), 37-59.
  • Manfra, M.M., & Stoddard, J.* (2008). Powerful and authentic digital media strategies for teaching about genocide and the Holocaust. The Social Studies, 99(6), 260-264.
  • Manfra, M. M. (2007). The course of the republic: American responses to technology in the nineteenth century. Social Education, 71(3), 146-152.
  • McGlinn, M. (2007). Using the “Documenting the American South” Digital Library in the social studies: A case study of the experiences of teachers in the field. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 7(1), 529-553.
  • Rogers, D., Bolick, C.M., Anderson, A., Gordon, E., Manfra, M. M., & Yow, J. (2007) “It’s about the kids”: Transforming teacher-student relationships through action research. The Clearing House, 80(5), 217-222.
  • Bolick, C.M., McGlinn, M., & Siko, K.L. (2005). Twenty years of technology: A retrospective view of Social Education’s technology themed issues. Social Education, 69(3), 155-161.
  • Bolick, C.M., & McGlinn, M. (2004). Harriet Jacobs: Using on-line slave narratives in the classroom. Social Education, 68(4), 198-202.
  • McGlinn, J.M., & McGlinn, M. (2004). Opening their eyes: Picture books in high school social studies classes. The Dragon Lode, 22(2), 22-29.

Courses Taught

  • ECI 501 Foundations of Curriculum
  • ECI 523 Teacher as Researcher
  • ECI 525 Contemporary Issues in Social Studies Instruction
  • ECI 526 Theory and Research in Social Education
  • ECI 700 Curriculum Theory
  • ECI 709 Doctoral Seminar on Teacher Education
  • ECI 727 Digital History
  • ED 730 Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • ED 731 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • ED 795 Special Topics in Research: Action Research
  • ED 795 Special Topics in Research: Case Study

Honors and Awards

  • North Carolina State University Faculty Scholars, Nominee
  • BRIDGES Academic Leadership for Women Program
  • National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship Award
  • Outstanding Service Award, Social Studies Research Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • The University of North Carolina’s Graduate Education Advancement Board (GEAB) Impact Award

Editorial Boards

  • Editor, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Social Studies Teacher Education, 2013-2017
  • Co-editor, Social Education Journal, Instructional Technology Section, 2008-present
  • Consulting Editor, The Social Studies Journal, 2009-present
  • Reviewer, Journal of Social Studies Research, 2011-present

Services and Engagements

  • Education Advisory Board of the NC Museum of History

Media Appearances


Doctorate (PhD) Education University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master's of Arts (MA) History University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Baccalaureate (BA) History, secondary social studies Elon College