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About this website (and about getting better at using ICT in your teaching)

You may by now have noticed that compared to many history websites that are available to history student teachers (see page 220, Chapter 9 for some examples), this one is not very sophisticated.

I am not naturally very good at ICT; I am not a quick learner in this area, I don't find it easy. I haven't even worked out how to use the timer on my DVD/video recorder at home and I could probably have written the equivalent of War and Peace in the time that it has taken my to put together this modest site.

However, I did manage to put something together. I never ever thought that I would have my own website (however amateurish) or be able to use digital video editing, spreadsheets etc.

It was quite saluary to have to persevere at something that I was not naturally talented at. It gives you insight into what it must be like for some of the pupils in your lessons who are not good at history. It is also interesting (I think), in terms of what is involved in 'getting better' at ICT as a student teacher.

Part of it is about just having a go, showing a bit of patience and perseverance (see The Stanford Marshmallow Study, http://www.sybervision.com/Discipline/marshmallow.htm). I used to be one of the most hopeless people in Europe at using new technology. Now I am not bad. I firmly believe that anyone can become capable at using ICT in their teaching and many of my students have been really pleased when they have learned to do something with ICT that they couldn't do before, whether is is putting together a basic PowerPoint presentation, or making a webpage.

See how you score on the 'ICT quotient' (pages 183-7) at the start of your course and then try it again later in the year. some of my students go from under 60 to over 200 in the course of the PGCE year. Very few of them express regret or reservations about the time and effort they have put into getting better at this facetof history teaching, they nearly all report that it has really helped their teaching and their confidence generally as a teacher, knowing that they have made real progress in an important aspect of teaching. Remember also that ICT is a commonly asked question at interviews for history posts - it's quite handy if you can talk about your ability to make websites as something that you could bring to the department - not all history departments have a departmental web site.

This is Mark 2 of the site and I am grateful to Richard Jones-Nerzic for helping me to improve the original version by reframing it and providing some links to his site. Perhaps this is cheating on my part but I wanted to provide a bit more insight into the potential benefits of having a personal or departmental website. (To see Richard's site, go to http://www.internationalschoolhistory.net ). Anyway, good luck with your progress in ICT, I hope you find it an interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile bit of the course.

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