Webquest – Using Standard ICT Applications

Using Standard ICT Applications

You know that these applications work on the computers in your room.  You know that the students have used them before.  It seems sensible to base your lesson on one of the three main types of ‘office’ application.  You decide to look at each in turn:

  • Word – a word-processor
  • Excel – a spreadsheet program
  • Power Point – a presentation program

Why use a word-processor?

It seems that word-processing software is a good place to start with whole class ICT activities.  All but the most technophobic student will have used such a piece of software before.  Perhaps their expertise might cover your own inexperience.  After a quick search you come up with a website that offers complete lessons using ICT.  One lesson on appeasement appeals to you in particular, because it uses Word.  The lesson write up promises that:

“By the end of the lesson pupils will:

  • know the main arguments for and against Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement;
  • be able to develop a personal opinion on the overall effectiveness of the policy”

and that

“This module will give you the opportunity to:

  • develop skills in using word processing software;
  • teach aspects of twentieth century history;
  • evaluate different interpretations of historical events;
  • plan questions that will encourage pupils to reflect on their learning.”

Which sounds great.   You’ve just been covering the rise of Hitler, and this would be a great thing to impress the head, and the outcomes sound promising too.  The lesson seems to be built around a virtual card sort and a writing frame.  There’s a very gimmicky “you receive an email from Chamberlain” bit, but it seems possible to avoid it.  You decide to investigate further.

Download the virtual card sort and writing frame (either directly by navigating the site, or by right clicking on the links above and saving them on your local computer).  Take a look around them before thinking about the following questions and recording the answers in your own file:

  • what advantages are there to you as a teacher and to your students as learners in using word processor as a glorified card sort?
  • are there any disadvantages?
  • in what ways could this card sort be adapted so that it takes further advantage of the technology, either by using features of the wordprocessor, or of the internet?
  • what about the writing frame?  Would this activity help students to construct a written piece of work that answers this question and deepens their understanding of the events, and helps them to extend their skills of historical argument?
  • Could you improve either activity?

Excel – Do Maths and History Mix?

You find a great thread here about Numeracy and another website here that contains lots of numerical data, that you might be able to use to make a good lesson using a spreadsheet.  However, you don’t have time.  You do spot something that looks interesting, on Hitler’s rise to power.

Using the excel file attached here, and this ‘how-to’ guide make a graph to show the relation between unemployment and political success in Germany between 1928 and 1933. What kind of questions would this kind of resource generate?  Could you tweak the activity to help students get more from it?

Taken from The International School of Toulouse humanities website here.  Interestingly the excellent teacher who came up with these ideas is no longer employed by the International School of Toulouse, after they sacked him, for seemingly spurious reasons.  If you’re interested, you can read all about it here.

Power Point – Just for Presentations?

You’ve got students to use Power Point before.  They spent a lot of time cutting and pasting pictures of Henry Tudor from the web, playing with fonts and embedding annoying tinkly “Greensleeves” tracks.  That’s not going to be good enough this time.  If you decide to use Power Point, then it has got to add something.  Perhaps though Power Point is merely a way of transmitting information efficiently (though in a dull fashion)?

You do another search.  Firstly you find this (right click and “save as”) at the great GCSE revision website run by Simon Ross, www.ilovehistory.co.uk.  Could you use this to present ideas?  Could your students use it to present ideas to each other?  How about this excellent homework on Peterloo, or the debate lesson from this mini scheme of work from www.onedamnthing.org.uk (err, sir, this website is biast).

Take a closer look at the ‘Peterloo’ resource set out here.  How could you adapt it so that students are making presentations rather than newspaper articles?  Would this be a good reason for using Power Point?  Record your thinking in your document.

Now you’ve completed this section, evaluate how much this webquest has helped you achieve your goals by clicking on the link to evaluation.

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