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Biography: Ed Podesta


Ed Podesta
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I am a history teacher in my third qualified year of teaching. I teach history to 11-18 year olds in a comprehensive school in Reading, Berkshire.

Before training as a history teacher I was a practising information technology and intellectual property lawyer. In my spare time I studied history and completed a certificate in post graduate history with the OU. As time when on I realised that it was history and not law that was important to me, and that I wanted to communicate my interest in discovering history, so I applied for various PGCE courses. In October 2002 I started my PGCE at Oxford University; more by luck than judgement I stumbled across two fantastic history educators in Dr Anna Pendry and Dr Katharine Burn. Since then I've started (with mixed results) a diploma in teaching and learning history, with the aim of getting my masters and even more (I'm hoping that the more people who I tell this, the more likely I am to get on with the bleeding thing!).

I want my students to do history, not to learn it. I refer to my pupils in lessons as historians and because of my lack of content knowledge (I’ll catch up!) I find that often I am learning alongside my pupils through the activities that we do together.

I don't think I really have a specialism in terms of teaching, but I have experimented with the use of Digital Video and with Bogs and Wikis. In my second year of teaching I got heavily into using DV technology, using the documentary form for pupils to improve their essay writing skills and the creation of video footage by teachers for their use in their classrooms.

In the first aspect I’ve taken an idea from some research by the BFI into the use of DV to improve narrative literacy. I used a guidance frame to encourage students (a year 9 class on my PGCE and a year 7 class in my current school) to plan and make documentaries, using a traditional “source sheet” as their starting point.

I'd want to encourage teachers to make their own, focused footage. If they don’t want to set out specifically to make a film on a distinct topic then I hope to inspire other teachers to take a video camera with them on holidays, days out, going to town, and if they see something interesting and potentially useful, to stick it on tape, and to use this footage in their lessons.

You can see an low quality example of a video that I’m currently working on at:

http://www.podesta.org.uk/

This example took me a couple of hours to shoot and a couple of hours to edit using windows movie maker.

This year I've been looking at blogs and wikis. I've been running a blog for my cold war year 13 students here and one for my year 8 students here. The second also includes links to the (fairly new at the date of this edit - april 2006) blogs run by some of my students themselves.

In terms of wikis, then it's all a little more theoretical. You can see an example of a completely under-utilised wiki here, which I devised as a pilot for this years cold war students, (they took to it like, well like people who aren't a bit interested thank you all the same!). I've just started a wiki for history teachers, you can see it develop here, if you wish, and please feel free to PM me if you want to get involved.

Currently I'm writing for the HITT website about using research to inform the design of ITT in history.

Edited by Ed Podesta
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