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Can ICT turn students into historians?

I want to take a look at the way the web can be used to develop historical skills. This includes the production of online materials that will enable students to carry out in-depth research. This in turn would allow students to publish their research online. I also want to explore ways in which students can use Forums to interview witnesses and to discuss their research with fellow historians.

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The past in the future?

As I am unable to attend I shall provide a 'remote presentation' exploring some of the things I have produced already but with a major focus upon what would be amazing in the future - the fusion of online student presentations, interactive explorations and 'collaborative mindmapping'.

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I am going to examine how I have used ICT and e-learning to tackle some of the 'barriers to learning' experienced in a non selective school in a selective area - linguistic deprivation, low motivation, lack of study skills. I will also invite the group to evaluate my recent project with the LSDA to create an online A Level.

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The strand which I would like to pursue is the use of ICT in school history to develop pupils' political/information literacy. Although citizenship is now part of the National Curriculum in the UK, and political literacy is one of the three main strands, there is some evidence to suggest that many pupils leave school with very little understanding of the basic tenets of (or threats to) democracy. For many of them, their understanding of it is little more than 'the right to vote'. Linking the past to the present, and using the resources which are available on the internet could go a long way to redressing this situation. Picking up and developing this strand of citizenship could go some way to justifying (yet again) history's place on the school curriculum against the 'predator' subjects such as vocational ed and psychology/sociology. History ought to make a contibution to pupils' political literacy, but at the moment, it does very little.

The future offers the chance to build up powerful, high impact resources in this area by the incorparation of television, newspaper and internet archives into powerful 'learning packages' (A Ben Walsh term). At the moment, nobody is really bringing these resources together in a purposeful and meaningful way. I hope to give some brief examples of the potential of such material at the seminar.

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During a lot of years of debates and discussions between Swedish pedagogues and people involved in educational matter we always dreamed about a possibility to change the pedagogical environment with the help of ICT. And some of us did not only debate, they also actively involved themselves to make these changes. At their schools within their day to day teaching or as participant of different networks or institutions trying to create friendlier atmosphere for ICT and also ind the ways to fund these changes.

The basic three questions we tried to answer were: What to teach? How to teach? and Where to teach?

- Many of us dreamt about breaking the old curriculum structure dividing student’s days into separate subject without very little connections between them. Support for cross-curriculum teaching and learning was our goal.

- Of course this teaching and learning should be done altogether inside and/or with the help of computers connected to internet. Multimedia textbooks with abundance of pictures, movie sequences, music, speeches and text were expected to be doing the pedagogy in the near future. Altogether supported by a huge amount of interactivity!

- Was it then necessary to teach and learn in schools? No! Internet connection should allow anyone to find his own learning environment; at home, at libraries, far away in isolated houses at the north of Sweden …….

My presentation will be about my work at the Knowledge and Competent Foundation where these goals were promoted with the help of projects “New generation of school textbooks” and “School development project”.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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One way I've used ICT that had a direct impact on teaching and learning was a series of lessons on WW1. We started from the local war memorial - the names are familiar to local children and you immediately 'people' the war with real people. So far, so good, no need for ICT there. Except, by using the web I can immediately link the names to their graves via the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and make further use of the web to research these cemetaries or memorials. I can also discover where they lost their lives, and further research these events of the war via the web. All perfectly possible using text books, reference books; well perhaps possible, but certainly possible using the web.

I have used the power of the web to bring an immediacy to the research; to link the local with the war; and to open out to most campaigns of the war. All from a digital photograph. That, to me, gives an indication of the power of the web to encourage research skills, to investigate history, and to link the local to the national to the international. Not bad for a couple of lessons!

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Students in the archive with a computer...

I will present an ongoing local history project which is carried out by one of my classes at Hvitfeldtska Gymnasiet (Upper Secondary School). The topic will cover several different results that we get by using ICT; individually, as a team, for the school, for the archive, for the researcher...

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Using the Internet to teach Black and Asian British History

In January 2005 the Conservative Shadow Education Secretary Tim Collins wrote "in days gone by there was a saying that certain events and historical facts were matters "which every English schoolboy knows". There is a concern that these 'events and historical facts' may well herald a return to the days of 'dead white males' being the focus of the history curriculum. I would like to discuss how a muticultural British History can be integrated into the school curriculum and look at how the Internet and online activities such as Webquests can be used to promote this inclusive and engaging approach. I intend to look at a few examples of the resources available and use the webquest that I wrote about the contribution of Black and Asian soldiers in the First World War as a case study. The expansion of available material about black and asian british history would not have been possible without the development of the World Wide Web, but the challenge comes in creating teachers and students that are skilled enough to use the material effectively.

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My presentation will focus on the future. I have already posted my view on the improvements I hope ICT will provide in history teaching. I want to highlight two points:

• Setting up interactive resources that help students to use the tools, fulfil the tasks and acquire the abilities that have been traditionally linked to the art of teaching history.

I have to admit that I do think that we are not going to change dramatically the foundations of history science and history teaching by using ICT. We are simply catching up with our students’ reality. And that’s a lot. ICT provide us the tools to make that analysing a text, commenting a historical map, graphics… become a quite more relevant, didactic and attractive task, helping our student to get to acquire a sort of critical thinking that only historical awareness can provide.

As a consequence I will try to show some examples of what we are doing in our school. They are still a bit primitive but I hope that they will be more sophisticated in the next future.

• Collaborative work

That’s another of the main advantages of the internet. I don’t want to be too optimistic. There are serious barriers: language, different curricula, different teaching traditions… But the benefits are very important. Different didactical approaches, different points of view, getting used to working together with other teachers and students…

I will try again to show some projects that are going on now in Europe.

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The new paradigm: learning by sharing connected knowledge

Teachers are called to change their attitude to ICT which should not be considered a tool but be integrated into teaching. Michael Young, the founder of the UK Open University, saw teachers as educational companions who accompany students on part of their learning through life. The stress is less on the content of learning than on the learning process itself, which must teach young people to become expert learners. The overall goal is to teach students “to learn how to learn” and the quality of the learning process is even more important than the quantity of knowledge itself. ICT is fundamental in the process not only because it makes it possible to present content on different multimedia supports at the same time and organise it in non-linear sequences but because it involves adopting a really interactive approach to learning. Interaction goes beyond the single learner and becomes cooperation, because the Web is a shared medium on which to share knowledge, information and the learning process itself.

Using examples on the Internet I hope to suggest what and how dynamic real-time developing historical education resources could be provided and shared by the learning community.

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When are computers actually going to teach history?

I probably use as much ICT in my teaching of history as any other teacher in Europe, yet very little of the Information Communication Technology I use is actually designed for the teaching of history. The ICT enhances my teaching and facilitates my students’ learning but it doesn’t do much history teaching for me. In 1992, as a student teacher, I used a novel computer simulation called ‘Attack on the Somme’. I sat and watched as my students learnt important historical lessons without me, and more effectively than would have been possible from books or films. My point is, I don’t think we’ve made a great deal of progress in using computers to actually teach history since the early 1990s. Using examples from the world of ‘edutainment’, I hope to stimulate some discussion about where we could be going next in the world of history teaching and ICT.

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Below an outline of John Stringer's presentation.

John Stringer

Head of Legal and Financial Investigation Team - Socrates Leonardo & Youth Technical Assistance Office

Presentation Summary

The Commission’s new Financial Regulations have made it even more important for project managers to have in place sound financial procedures and processes for the management of EU funds. In the future, there will be far more emphasis on the auditing and verification of costs than there has been in very recent years. Personally, I would like to see all projects succeed and not run into problems because of a failure to understand the rules. Hopefully, in this presentation, we can highlight the problem areas and avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls in the financial management of projects.

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"I not only use all of the brains I have, but all I can borrow.": The uses of ICT for collaborative teaching and learning.

According to some estimates, more human beings were alive in the 20th century than in all the other centuries put together. At the same time the world is a smaller place than ever before: advances in methods of communication mean that a teacher on the other side of the world is often not much harder to contact than the teacher in the room next door. Yet many teachers do not avail themselves of the collaborative opportunities available to them. I hope to look at different ways in which teachers can share ideas and resources with their peers using ICT, as well as what the future may hold for such ventures. Hopefully this will provoke discussion focussing upon how the E-HELP website can best serve its intended audience, rather than the ins and outs of copyright legislation... :blink:

Edited by Doug Belshaw
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Maintaining your own History website. Is it worthwhile?

Thanks to the contacts in VS-History Department I’ve started to design and maintain my own Sintermeertencollege History Department website. In my presentation I’ll focus on the educational ideals I had when I started two years ago and on the problems I’ve encountered: technical, organisational, educational.

What lessons could be learnt?

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