Meghan 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 editor of the Handbook of Social Studies Research (Wiley Press). She has extensive background in educational research and evaluation, including serving as evaluator for the US DOE Teaching American History Grant program, History LINK (Durham and Franklin counties), and the assessment coordinator for education programs for the NSF Nanotechnology Engineering Research Center, ASSIST, at NC State University. Dr. Manfra is a former high school teacher and a past chair of the Executive Board of the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies. She has published numerous journal articles and is the author of the author of the forthcoming book Action Research for Classrooms Schools, and Communities (Sage Press).
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 ncww1.weebly.com for an example of the curriculum materials we have developed over the course of the program.
Doctorate (PhD) in Education from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Master's of Arts (MA) in History from University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Baccalaureate (BA) in History, secondary social studies from Elon College
- Doctoral: Social Studies Education
- Master: New Literacies and Global Learning
- MAT: Social Studies (Middle Grades)
Selected Scholarly Publications
- 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.
- ED 731 Qualitative Research Methods
- ED 730 Qualitative Research Methods
- Curriculum Theory
- Social Studies Education
Honors and Awards
- Outstanding Service Award (2013) Social Studies Research Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
- The University of North Carolina’s Graduate Education Advancement Board (GEAB) Impact Award (2006)
- 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