Saturday, 8 September 2012

Using Web 2.0 tools to teach Primary History

I've mentioned many times on this blog how useful Web 2.0 tools are to engage students and harness their learning, but what about the practical application of these tools in the Primary classroom.
I teach history to 6 classes from Prep (K) through to Year 7. Abilities vary wildly between classes as does available technology in the classroom (3 out of 6 of my classes have no Smart Boards). My Year 7 students, however, have 1 to 1 laptops which have made for an exciting and challenging teaching environment. I am also extremely fortunate in that my Year 7 class are bright, eager to learn and excited about history - I couldn't wish for more! However...I desperately want to harness the power of their laptops to allow them to engage in and explore history in a self-directed way.
We are studying Roman history at the moment and are working towards a class display to display some of their learning and facilitate discussion between our lessons (every fortnight) with the classroom teacher.
Listed below is how I intend to use Web 2.0 tools within our Roman History lesson.

I've set up a Wallwisher so students can share their WILT (what I learnt today) at the end of the lesson. The aim of using Wallwisher, rather than just asking them, is to have a record of their responses for formative assessment purposes and students are able to consider their responses more carefully before answering in their own time.

Students have been using Wordle to create word clouds and have been printing, cutting and mounting them on the wall display. So far, they are enjoying using Wordle (at first it was a novelty but that quickly wore off). For display purposes it's fun and useful but other than that I see little real benefit to using it as a formative assessment tool?

Poll Everywhere
I'm considering using Poll Everywhere to assess student learning at some point during the lesson, however, I think I need to think carefully about the multiple choices I give them. Perhaps this might be best used to ask 'What would you like to learn more about?' from the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) style of lesson planning!

I aim to allow students to use Glogster to create interactive multimedia posters on an aspect of Roman History. This will challenge and, perhaps, over-engage some students so I'll have to monitor this to ensure students do not go off track in their work but I'm fascinated to see what they produce.
I would love some feedback. Are there things I could/should do differently? Are there other useful tools I could use?


  1. One other tool I would suggest is Creaza. It has a comic editor called Cartoonist among its suite of three tools. Reason? It has a variety of "worlds" among its templates/elements and one is the Roman Empire. (Once you register, look under Tools.) I think this would make a great place for your students to create their own stories that demonstrate learning.

  2. Thanks for all the feedback on both here and my work blog on the Learning Place.

    Suggestions so far include:
    Creaza - (will have to check this one at the school as might be blocked?)

    Wallwisher - I was warned this might be blocked at school but it appears to be okay (fingers crossed).

    Glogster - also might be blocked at school... will again have to check this out. - looks interesting.. need to do some exploring on that one

    and Edstudio (our own internal system within and between schools here in Queensland)


    Todays Meet

    all of these sites I will explore and report back on... tbc

    thanks for all the feedback :)