Beyond Multiple Choice: Questions and Answers, Pedagogy and Technology in the History classroom


By Author: Ben Walsh. Web Editor: Simon Brown, published 20th March 2008

*This unit was produced a number of years ago and whilst still relevant from the pedagogy side of things many of the ICT aspects are outdated.

Interactivity: A Grail-like Quest
In recent years the buzzword in many sectors, whether it be business, communications, entertainment or education, has been interactivity. One of the ways in which organisations try to achieve or improve interactivity between themselves and their audiences is through polling. This comes in many different forms, including telephone polls or internet based response systems.

Education has not been slow to realise the importance of this trend towards interactivity, and yet interactivity poses challenges for educators. To begin with, educationalists begin from a standpoint that interactivity must be meaningful, constructive, purposeful and above all educational!

Technology or pedagogy?
With this in mind, the Historical Association began an investigation in 2006 into one type of technology which claimed to deliver or enhance interactivity in the classroom. The technology in question was the voting handset and receiver system which was coming into use in many classrooms. However, it soon became clear that this project was also going to involve looking deeply at aspects of pedagogy. Because voting and feedback systems are based on questions, all those involved in the project found themselves reviewing the questions they asked in the classroom, the nature of those questions and the purpose of those questions. As a result, it became an investigation into pedagogy as well as technology. The rest of this resource sets out the lessons learned from the investigation in the form of an E-CPD resource.

We would like to thank the teachers, pupils, schools, colleges and publishers whose talent and generosity made the project possible. Click here to see a list of acknowledgements and contributors.

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Level 1: Exploring the issue

  • 1. Introduction
  • 1.1 The pedagogy: Questions and Answers in the History classroom
  • 1.1 Task 1
  • 1.1 Tasks 2-4
  • 1.2 The technology: How can voting technologies broaden our range of questioning?
  • 1.2.a The technology: How can voting technologies broaden our range of questioning?
  • 1.3 Contexts: Pedagogical, Assessment and ICT

Level 2: Addressing the issue

  • 2. Introduction
  • 2.1.a Planning and Pedagogy
  • 2.1.b Case Study: Haig and the Battle of the Somme
  • 2.1.c Planning and Pedagogy: Task
  • 2.2 Developing effective approaches
  • 2.2 continued...
  • 2.2.a Case Study: The Slave Trade
  • 2.2.b Case Study: Women's Suffrage
  • 2.2.c Case Study: The English Civil War
  • 2.2.d Case Study: The Causes of World War Two
  • 2.2.e Case Study: The Treaty of Versailles
  • 2.2.f Case Study: Dunkirk
  • 2.2.g Case Study: Nazi Propaganda
  • 2.2 Task
  • 2.3 Pupil responses
  • 2.4 Responses and reflections
  • 2.5 References & Resources
  • 2.6 Credits