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The Past in the Future

Andrew Field

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I agree with what has been said above - very professional, thought-provoking and, as always, using ICT in a very practical and interesting way! B)

;) Doug

PS We didn't pause it, we were too interested! :D

Edited by Doug Belshaw
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Thanks from Spain as well. It was very interesting and thought-provoking.... The only fault was not being subtitled in Spanish B)

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Fascinating seminar. It was interesting that your website came out of your desire to improve the quality of your teaching. I suspect that all the best websites have emerged in this way. This is in direct contrast to those that have been created for commercial, rather than educational reasons.

I believe your interactive storyboard has tremendous potential. I like the way you are using technology to improve the ability of the student to communicate information. It is the same reason why I like your idea of a online video editing tool.

The Internet has tremendous potential for student collaboration. I agree with you about the importance of student forums in this. I have written about this on the thread on the future of ICT in the classroom:


One thing I would like to see is a government funded project that would allow students to carry out their own in-depth research. For example, say a Y9 class was studying the First World War. They would be able to go to this website to look for a research topic on the subject. There might be one on Sir Douglas Haig’s tactics at the Somme in 1916. The web page would provide an outline on how the student could tackle the topic. It would also provide links to a wide variety of source materials on the subject. There would also be advice on how to use search-engines to discover more information on the Somme. For example a list of keywords to use.

The student would probably be the only person in his school to be studying this topic. However, there would be students all over the world carrying out the same investigation (this material would of course be free and therefore could be accessed by all English speaking students). This web page would therefore be linked to a forum dedicated to this topic. This would give students the opportunity to discuss the subject with others carrying out similar research. The forum would also include adult volunteers with specialist knowledge on the subject.

As well as completing the research project the student would also have responsibility of producing a 15 minute presentation for the rest of their class.

This would only work if there was a large selection of topics to chose from. However, if the government say seconded 25 teachers with experience of producing online resources for a year you would end up with a database of thousands of these project outlines. This would only be at a fraction of the cost of the current e-learning credits scheme. What is more, the money would be used to produce teaching materials that would exist for everyone, including those outside the UK state school system.

Your reference to “Death in Rome” was also very interesting.


Your point about adapting commercial products was mirrored in some of our discussions in Toulouse. For example, games manufacturers are creating some excellent virtual environments set in the past. Alf Wilkinson told us about one set in a medieval town. Most of the work has been already done. It would be great if they allowed teachers to use these already produced environments to create educational historical simulations.

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Thank you very much for all the positive comments about this seminar. It must have been a little odd to have my voice booming out from the presentation. I suspect the most welcome aspect was the ability to pause and forward the presentation if desired. B)

My intention - which I hope has been achived - was to provide some explanation of the materials I have already developed and then make a few suggestions about what would be possible yet exciting in the future.

The basic ideas for 'the future' were:

  • Collaborative mind-mapping - enabling students to put a mind-map together in the same way forum posts are made. This would combine the accessibility of mindmapping with the dynamic communication of forums
  • Online video editing - in relation to student presentations - enabling students to access and edit video resources online through the use of Flash technology. The key aim here would be to remove the tiresome and challenging setup issues and focus students' attention on the historical use of video content
  • Interactive investigtions - merging 'commercial' standard presentations together with current decision making exercises. Producing effective ICT-based historical investigations but with a far more attractive and dynamic front-end. Yet rather than a 'flashy front end' the goal has to be student control and student freedom

The aim was also to identify 3 levels in which such things - as any content produced with this project - can be used. Firstly simply by creating the resources you develop a freely-available leading-edge resource to use in teaching. Secondly the development process itself is interesting - students developing their own versions (especially of the interactive investigations) gain ICT and, most significantly, historical skills through the creation process. Thirdly if the development and creation process is carefully documented with clear guidance and support it becomes even more useful. Other teachers and students can develop their own versions and the resource thus evolves further.

We should be celebrating the fact that many students are more advanced in their use of ICT than their teachers - if students are engaged in the learning process their enthusiasm and skills offer even more opportunities for effective teaching and learning. Differentiation by collaboration? Perhaps.

Such things as I've suggested above can be used by one student or one class in a single location, but become much more effective when used in a collaborative way.

Of course, the above ideas are not hard nor fast suggestions but I hope the presentation put forward a few key ideas that can be adapted and made use of in the production of any effective eLearning materials.

Edited by Andrew Field
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After so many interesting presentations, your presentation was in several ways so different. The flash animation kept us glued to the screen. No need for a pause. The examples you set were so clear that I immediately showed the storyboard-ideas to my collegues. We'll certainly pick the idea up and hope to creat our own boards in the future!

Well done! :rolleyes:

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