Weighing a century with a website: teaching Year 9 to be critical


By Lindsey Rayner, published 10th September 1999

Two years ago the history department at Hampstead School was one of two history departments chosen to model very effective use of IT in history for a BECTA research study. Two years on, what has the department been up to? All of the factors identified in that study -an ICT co-ordinator with deep curricular expertise and interest, a history department with detailed plans for progression, constructed collaboratively, a focus on direct and systematic teaching of particular historical skills-are on view again here, but this time in the context of work with the web. Lindsey Rayner starts by analysing the hidden difficulties which her students were still presenting, particularly in more independent research. A close analysis of their problems led to a website designed to achieve the possible, to teach the pupils to learn independently. She concludes the article by drawing the threads together to present a case for history's distinctive role in fostering critical use of the web, and therefore in teaching active, informed participation in the democratic process.

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