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Richard Jones-Nerzic

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A group of European teachers have just won a 3-year Comenius contract called E-HELP. People involved include Terry Haydn, Andy Walker, Alf Wilkinson, John Simkin (UK), Richard Jones-Nerzic, Les Albiston (France), Juan Carlos Ocaña, Javier Méndez, Vicente López-Brea, Ramón Burgaleta (Spain), Nico Zijlstra (Netherlands), Anders Macgregor-Thunell, Dalibor Svoboda (Sweden).

Here is a summary of the project.

The European E-Learning Project (E-HELP) will empower European history teachers to take the teaching and learning of history into the 21st century. Designed to enlighten and initiate history teachers into the pedagogic possibilities of ICT in the history classroom, E-HELP will, through a website, online forum and residential course, enable history teachers to exploit the revolutionary potential of ICT.

E-HELP is designed as a three year, three-phase project:

Phase 1 will begin by identifying and evaluating existing good practice, examining the potential of the technology to revolutionise current methodologies. We will research and produce online curricula and assessment modules designed to enable European history teachers, whatever the language competences of their students, to teach history issue-based themes of importance beyond the boundaries of the nation state.

Phase 2 will see the launch of our E-HELP website and online forum to share our work and begin to create a pan-European community of history teachers with an interest in exploiting the potential of ICT.

Phase 3 will consolidate our project by preparing the first in a series of residential conference designed to bring European history teachers and history teacher trainers together to learn the skills that will make this revolution possible.

The E-HELP team is interested in working with other educators on this project. If you are interested in becoming an “associate member” of E-HELP, please post your details and explain in what ways you may be able to contribute to the project.

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For the on-line course that I am currently developing and teaching (I am teaching it as it is being created--quite stressful), my biggest complaint is that any question function on the course requires the exact response by a student as I have entered into the computer for the answer. Now while this may seem silly, if I require an answer of Soviet Union, and the student answer is "the Soviets", in my mind this answer is close enough, although the computer counts it wrong. Any on-line course needs to be able to fix this problem. Additionally, I feel that to get a true feeling for what the students are are learning, as far as skill, there needs to be plenty of "forum time."

Part of "revolutionising current methodology", in my mind, would be to create what we call "life long learners." These are students that can find the information that they want on the internet. In a history class, it can be used to help answer difficult questions (ask and expert) or to simply find different views that those of the teacher or text book.

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