Computers don't bite! Your first tentative steps in using ICT in the classroom.


By Alf Wilkinson, published 1st November 2000

This article is for beginners. It will also provide perspectives and ideas for those training history teachers in the use of ICT for improving pupils’ learning. Drawing upon his experience in managing the HA’s NOF training programme, Alf Wilkinson outlines some practical activities that are ideal for getting the novice and the nervous started. (For an explanation of NOF see Nutshell on page 24). He focuses here on practical ICT activities that have proved successful in building the confidence and thinking of history teachers who are new to using ICT in the history classroom. The article talks the beginner through, more or less in the style of the materials provided in the HA NOF training approach. Alf emphasises some key principles underpinning the HA NOF training: the discipline of history, pupils’ learning and teacher planning must be placed at the centre of the professional training process. Like Dave Atkin, the Advanced Skills Teacher writing about ICT in Teaching History 99, he is unequivocal about the need to ‘put history first’. The history classroom must not become a setting for repetitive, pointless or unfocused ICT activities, nor for activities that merely use historical content but do not teach historical thinking. Nor should history teachers incorporate ICT for ICT’s sake. It is important that teachers are able to justify their ICT-based tasks – creating, adapting and applying them so that they add specific value to some aspect of pupils’ historical understanding.

This resource is FREE for Secondary HA Members.

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