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Encouraging History Teachers To Use ICT


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#16 Stephen Drew

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 10:01 PM

It all depends on which sections of the sites you are looking at really.

The online quizzes etc. are focussed on knowledge work.

However most of the downloadable lessons are clearly focussed on developing skills and analysis etc. I think any criticism is related to a lack of understanding of the full range of facilities and services offered by the sites, and a focus on the sexiest looking bits - be that Andrew's use of Flash for quizzes or Andy's use of the Hot Potatoes software for his revision exercises.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#17 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 11:25 PM

It doesn't work for all, I have found that my most "able" students, in History and Law, much prefer textbooks - that may be  me, that may be cultural - is it a common experince?

Just briefly since it's late and I am trying to get to get to grips with this thread quickly ...

My experience has been similar to Paul's at AS/A2 Level. I suspect that much of this is connected with their limited use of ICT lower down the school and I suspect that like everything else we have discussed recently (notably the development of essay writing and source evaluation skills) the key is in a build up of usage from Year 7 on. On the other hand the ones who are really liberated are those who now(using ICT) have more control over their own learning and who can go back over material as and when they need.

Andy

I agree it would be very helpful to hear from users what they would like to see more and less of


The area that I think is particularly successful, whether it be on Andrew's site or elsewhere is the 'online lesson' eg. Andrew's on Elizabeth I or the Rise of Hitler or Russ's Secret Agent (forget his name) one on Nazi Germany.
I appreciate how time consuming these must be to create, but to me it's doing something that can't be done so effectively with pen and paper and a textbook.

.... and surely that's the point? As has already been said... ICT is a tool (and a very useful one), but the History should be in the driving seat.

#18 John Simkin

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 06:45 AM

The major issue for many teachers is confidence in using ICT.

I have been involved in providing INSET on ICT in history since 1984 and Andrew is right to stress the importance of teacher confidence. To be completely honest, I was in fact strongly opposed to the use of computers in the classroom when it was first suggested to me by a teacher in 1982. At the time I was a member of the Tressell publishing cooperative and it was suggested to us by David Marshall, a local primary school head, that we should recreate one of our books, Into the Unknown, as a computer simulation. The whole group of ten teachers initially rejected the idea. None of us had computers and felt uncomfortable with the idea of using them in the classroom. Not that we said that in the discussion. Instead we stressed the importance of books in education and expressed fears about the dangers of the “dehumanisation of the educational process” (a common argument in the early 1980s).

How then did David Marshall convince us? By inviting us into his school to see his pupils use his only computer (a brand new 32k BBC B for those old enough to remember those early computers). It was the reaction of those children using a program called Granny’s Garden that convinced us. It was amazing to see the excitement of those children using this early computer. It was the knowledge that the computer had the power to motivate the children that persuaded us that this was the way forward.

As a result of the success of the Into the Unknown computer simulation I was invited to run INSET sessions on ICT. The reaction of teachers to the use of computers in the classroom was very similar to that of the Tressell group in 1982. Although plenty of intellectual arguments were put forward for not using a computer in the classroom, the main reason was a fear of using this equipment with students. (It has to be remembered that in 1984 it was extremely rare for history teachers to own a computer let alone use one in the classroom). In fact, it was a major problem just to get the teachers to touch the keyboard. I remember on one occasion a teacher at an INSET session in Gwent saying to me that he only had the confidence to touch the computer after he had drunk several pints of beer during the lunch break.

By the end of these sessions most teachers were convinced of the merits of using computers to teach history. However, very few were willing to use them in the classroom. At the time, the government had introduced a scheme that resulted in schools being given a couple of computers. Unfortunately, many of them were not being employed in the classroom so they introduced another scheme where teachers were given INSET training on how to use them.

Although it was possible to get a teacher to use a computer during INSET it was far more difficult to get them to use the computer in the classroom. There were several reasons for this. This included management issues. They knew they could organize a lesson using textbooks but could they do it with a computer. Would the children become over excited and too difficult to control? How do you manage a lesson when you only have one computer in the classroom? Will I have technical problems with the computer? Will my traditional expertise be undermined by my use of the computer in the classroom?

All these questions created stress for the teacher. The easiest way to remove that stress was to decide not to use the computer in the classroom. Although some history teachers enthusiastically embraced the use of computers, they remained a small minority. A survey carried out in the mid 1990s showed that only 7 per cent of history teachers used computers in the classroom (this was higher than most other subjects).

These figures are much higher today. One reason for this is that teachers are under a great deal more pressure to use computers. In fact, you could say that as a result of this pressure teachers suffer more stress today by not using them than by using them.

The most obvious way that teachers obtain confidence in using ICT is by being trained to use them during their PGCE courses. However, from talking to PGCE students I get the impression that this is still not being done well.

I would argue that the most important factor today in persuading teachers to use ICT when teaching history is the knowledge that they will receive good technical support if things go wrong. In my last school the history department had a classroom with 16 computers with broadband connections to the Internet. I created online history lessons for them and every member of the department was willing to use the computer room. However, the official technical support was extremely poor. The technician saw the room as belonging to him and resented the idea that children should be allowed to touch the computers. After virtually every lesson he would complain to the teacher about the settings of the computers, etc. He would also refuse to be in the room during the lesson and was reluctant to help if the teacher had technical problems with the machines. Eventually, I agreed to play the role of the technician in order to keep the teachers using the room. However, since I have left, only one of the history teachers uses the room (he now has his own website and is fully competent to run a lesson without technical support). The rest, despite having the facilities and the basic skills needed (all have their own computers at home), are unwilling to use ICT in their history teaching.

#19 Elle

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:13 AM

The most obvious way that teachers obtain confidence in using ICT is by being trained to use them during their PGCE courses. However, from talking to PGCE students I get the impression that this is still not being done well.

Gosh yes! I remember arriving at the training place several times, only to be told the system was down, and even when it was up it took against me and refused to let me log on, we would then sit around for a couple of hours before being told to return to our schools, where upon we would hit the pub!

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#20 johnmayo

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:47 PM

The most obvious way that teachers obtain confidence in using ICT is by being trained to use them during their PGCE courses. However, from talking to PGCE students I get the impression that this is still not being done well.


As a newly qualified teacher in Ireland (Higher Diploma in Education UCD) and having a previous background in IT, I was interested in the attidue of my teaching peers in the school to the use of ICT in the classroom. No teacher used a computer other than word processing. A handful used the Internet. Although the school would not have rated very highly in the technology stakes last year, there has been an significant improvement in the quality and quantity of PCs in the school this year but no teacher (apart from myself) has used any material of a similar standard or nature that is found in the resource section of this site.

In my H.Dip year, the general student group have four Lectures on ICT and Education which cover an academic view of the topic (interesting actually !) such as recent Irish DES projects such as School Intergration projects www.sip.ie etc.
Each method (Subject) lecture/tutorial should include at least part of one session on ICT but not all do. One or two do it badly. Here are an optional elective course which is ok for a basic requirement but not aimed for my needs. (An aside- this elective allowed me to answer the sweetest question I have ever answered in College exam. How to send an email with a word attachment.)

the ICT lecturer organised optional workshops in using powerpoint and Internet. I had the opportunity and pleasure to help out with this both last year and again this year. About 20% ? might have attended where they got a chance to see the possibilities of using powerpoint in the class and depending on subject teachers in the class a brief overview to resources available.

Compentence in ICT may become become a future skill requirement for all trainee teachers but I think a bit more needs to be done in teaching those who train the teachers before ICT in ordinary classes will really take off.

Even now just staring at the screen, I am hard pushed to remember any more than 1/3 of the teaching staff (37 teachers) in my school ever using the staff room computer. I wonder is this the case in everywhere?

:-P I think there should be an underground movement for the likes of us- rejected by the mainstream.

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#21 stevenyelland

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 09:49 PM

I experienced a brilliant lesson today - my ITT history student scanned the year 7 exam paper and produced a powerpoint to give feedback to the pupils. The group Set 7 is just below support level and they had an excellent and interactive lesson.

The pace by using a laptop and projector can be a tremendous advantage if handled correctly.

The effective use of IT as a tool to deliver materials will in my view grow and grow. The use of technology is not a 'cure all' but the benefits are many. Coupled with effective teaching; IT is a tremendous weapon in the teachers armoury. Obviously enabling pupils to use IT has other diverse benefits.

Personally I would like to see laptops and projectors in many more classrooms!!

In addition I have found that like minded teachers by sharing resouces help to reduce preparation workload. Teachers really do need to SEE the effective use of IT to apreciate it fully. I know I did!!

#22 Andrew Field

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 07:13 PM

Again, many further interesting posts. The recent messages seem to confim much about ICT within history - there are such a huge range of potential uses. The NC in action site (http://www.ncaction.org.uk ) have some good information about of uses of ICT in curriculum subjects - http://www.ncaction....ict/inother.htm. The information on history isn't comprehensive, but perhaps interesting for those considering ICT's potential use: http://www.ncaction....ory/ict-lrn.htm


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#23 ignoramous

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Posted 25 May 2003 - 11:09 AM

The most obvious way that teachers obtain confidence in using ICT is by being trained to use them during their PGCE courses. However, from talking to PGCE students I get the impression that this is still not being done well.


I am coming to the end of my PGCE course and the key phrase that has been used this year is 'ICT, ICT, ICT'. Sadly, I have found that it doesn't matter how proficient you become - and I have learned a lot from my course this year, but it can be an uphill battle when the teachers in your placement school do their utmost to avoid the subject.

Many of the teachers that I have encountered refuse to make use of ICT because they are (1) afraid of it (2) unwilling to learn, or worse still (3) see no point in it!

I am currently being asked to team teach a lesson using an interactive whiteboard so that one teacher can acheive this standard before statring a new job. I also had to teacha member from another subect area (the Dark Side!) how to do a powerpoint presentation so that she could attend an interview. It is not just a problem in History.

I am a firm advocate of the PGCE ethos whereby the teachers and mentors teach the student teacher and the student teacher reciprocates. However this is not always easy.

Much of my ICT development has occurred through trial and error as I struggle to learn things on my own and from advice provided by fellow students and members of forums such as this.

I cannot fault my training facility for the level of guidance they provide with regards to ICT - the PGCE is after very intensive. For me ICT is the way to go, although I don't advocate its use just because it is there. I recently taught a lesson on Castles using a 60 slide powerpoint that I had developed. This worked quite well but I wanted to find out what the pupils thought of it as a learning resource. The feedback was astounding. Pupils know so much about computers and I have been able to apply many of the ideas for imrovement suggested by them. The good thing about ICT is that we all, teachers and pupils, learn and improve by using it and learning from each other.

Ian


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#24 Andrew Field

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 09:37 AM

The feedback was astounding. Pupils know so much about computers and I have been able to apply many of the ideas for imrovement suggested by them. The good thing about ICT is that we all, teachers and pupils, learn and improve by using it and learning from each other.

Excellent - this is a really key area. Much of teachers' lack of confidence is linked to the fear that they will be undermined by a student in the class. When we are all willing to accept we are all learners in this, then the learning potential with ICT is so much greater.

Getting a student to demonstrate their historical conclusions and how they reached these using ICT is a fantastic plenary to a lesson. I haven't had the opportunity yet, but I can only imagine what this is like using a digital whiteboard or projector. Everyone wins - students are keen to share their learning, students are keen to share their expertise and your job is done (until the next lesson of course!).


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#25 Richard Jones-Nerzic

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Posted 26 May 2003 - 11:22 AM

The feedback was astounding. Pupils know so much about computers and I have been able to apply many of the ideas for imrovement suggested by them. The good thing about ICT is that we all, teachers and pupils, learn and improve by using it and learning from each other.

Excellent - this is a really key area. Much of teachers' lack of confidence is linked to the fear that they will be undermined by a student in the class. When we are all willing to accept we are all learners in this, then the learning potential with ICT is so much greater.

Yes this is critical.

But in addition, using ICT in the history classroom might also fundamentally change the way we teach history. As I write this I am 'teaching'. I have a class of students all working on individual assignments. They all have computers; they are all connected to the internet. In this lesson, there are no books anywhere. In a few moments I will get up and walk around and see what the students are up to, answer questions as they arise. I have to check that they're not just on MS messenger 'chatting' to each other or friends in other classes. It is very easy to appear 'on task', typing away on a laptop! New technology, old problems.

My role has changed. I find that I now spend far more time setting assignments up and assessing than I used to. Whole class teaching is far less important than it used to be. Perhaps some teachers might find this a problem.

Recently, we were discussing medieval musical instruments, someone asked about a hurdy gurdy. By the time I could remember what a hurdy gurdy looks like and started to describe it, one y7 student had a relevant website and was 'virtually' playing one. Then we had it up on the projector, through the speakers and we were off. This flexible approach to learning creates its own problems, but a kid with a networked PC and some search skills 'knows' more (in a narrow, traditional, content sense of the word) than any of us teachers. Again, the way traditional hierarchies of knowledge are undermined by the technology might unnerve some.

Last lesson I was doing revision with GCSE. The websites at the top of this page all have their admirers in my class. For example, some love John D Clare's mnemomics but for others it just doesn't work. But those students chose something else or make their own. This is potentially the most exciting thing about the technology and it ties in with the comments made in earlier seminars. A PC with multimedia peripherals, allows students to learn and express their learning in flexible, individualised ways that are unimaginable in a classroom that is only full of books, words and pictures. If we are to persuade the doubters that this really is the greatest thing since Guttenburg told the monks to put their quills away, then we need to demonstrate the added value.
All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
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#26 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 12:23 PM

The attached file is one of the ICT tasks I've used with my Year 10 group. The results of this work have been fantastic and many students are also planning to submit the work they did for their Key Skills portfolio.

Attached Files



#27 D Letouzey

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 09:01 PM

« Ask what ICT can do for history »

Thank you for the 3 seminars on this site.
I am a French teacher, in charge of an “Internet chronicle”, published by “Historiens & Geogaphes” (10 000 subscribers, mainly in secondary schools) ; I should add several points.

- Our working conditions are different : we teach all pupils, not only those who choose history, we have from 2 to 4 hours a week, official guidelines focus more on global approach than on case studies. And we teach both history and geography, along with Education Civique (politics) in some classes.

- ICT (TICE in french) is used by volunteer teachers, mainly when they teach smaller groups of students. Some schools are testing out laptop computers. But generally, we are working with 36 kids, using books, slides, OHP…

- Your question, “what ICT can do for history ?”, is the major one.
But it is a difficult and a nearly “impossible question” : what rely on using a computer ? what rely on the teacher or the pupils ?

- Most messages seem to deal with external factors : access to computers, teacher ‘s formation, time consuming… Writing a newspaper is not specific to history.

- If we consider more specific issues :
Computing is really useful when we can work with tools that help to change our point of view.
2 examples : in 1989, in Leeds, I saw spreadsheets on an English MP in the XVII°C.
They give useful informations for social or cultural history.

In geography, we use statistical mapping.
It is, usually difficult to get a quik view from simple figures and rough statistics.
With such a software, I can immediately see the wealth distribution , or the unemployment rate by regions. In history, we can get these maps of the XIX°C for wheat prices, birth rates…

- What we can found on Internet is generally different : your websites show original approaches, but most of the time, in France, we have access to materials that should be found in textbooks. Of course, hypertext and hypermedia are used. But it does not really differ from texts.

- And I should end with three more comments :
. ICT is one tool. I have recently taught French revolution, using sequences from a 1989 film.
In this case, a movie is far more efficient to deal with crowd feeling and reactions for instance than any software.

. If I teach Renaissance Art, I can use The Web Gallery of Art. But if my students can travel, and discover the Caen Art Museum ( Le Perugin ‘s Virgin ‘s wedding), or even the Musee d’Orsay, I know it will be better for them than pictures on a computer.

. Computers and books : History is written by historians ; in french, mainly in books, rarely on Internet. Sometimes teachers may use abstracts of some conferences, but most of the time they are not set for our students. In this country, we are envious of your “popularisation” printing which make new questions to old archives accessible to a broader audience.

Daniel Letouzey

#28 m242

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 11:02 AM

I work with history PGCE students, and I know that it is difficult for some trainee teachers to use ICT in their day to day teaching, but talking to my students, I do get the feeling that things are moving on a bit, partly because more schools are getting data projectors so that ICT can be used as just one component of an ordinary lesson, and partly because people are getting more ideas about worthwhile historical activities using ICT. One thing that my students enjoyed, and which I thought worked well was asking them to work in groups and choose the person from history who it was important for young people growing up at the start of the 21st century in Britain to know about. Groups then used the net and powerpoint to make a case for someone and argued it in front of the other groups, then we voted on which historical figure had the strongest case. It was the quality of the arguments that made it good, not how good on powerpoint people were. The figures chosen were an eclectic assortment- Garibaldi, Henry VIII, Goebbels, Mandela, Churchill and 'The unknown teacher'. Although it was good, I'm afraid I can't remember who won, but it led to an interesting discussion about the criteria for historical significance.

Terry Haydn, UEA

#29 ianwall

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 01:29 PM

Although not a history specialist, I have been doing work on the use of ICT across Humanities subjects and many of the comments in the discussion so far have croppped up in more than one subject that we have been the examining.

The major problem,(once the "kit") is sorted out, is just what do we want to use ICT for and, more importantly, where is the content. This seems to be problematic with most subjects ( bar Maths where they can always use a spreadsheet!).

Powerpoint seems to be one way forward - but we really do need to consider just how different the use of ICT is from our more traditional methods of teaching.(most of which work effectively). What are the specific uses which cannot be delivered in any other way?

I have seen one school which has proudly put all of its worksheets onto its intranet - and have to ask the question "why?' (OK it saves money on paper!).

What is the content that we need in order to make ICT a key part of the subject?

The Records Office site is certainly going down the right road.

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Posted 23 June 2003 - 01:42 PM

I have seen one school which has proudly put all of its worksheets onto its intranet - and have to ask the question "why?' (OK it saves money on paper!).

Also encourages home school links, lets parents know what's going on, allows absent kids to get the work they missed quickly and easily. I don't think we need shy away from using ICT in very straighforward and useful ways.




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