DEVELOPING AND INCORPORATING DIGITAL APPLICATIONS IN TODAY’S SECONDARY EDUCATION HISTORY CLASS
The purpose of this paper is to present some aspects of teaching History with the use of digital learning objects, developed “ad hoc” by educators and integrated in History lessons’ routine. These History Learning Objects (H.L.O.) constitute an educational digital platform, in which audiovisual, textual and multimedia digital material for History is being developed and displayed. This platform is accessible to secondary education pupils/students and teachers, through different modes of educational material in digital form. The aim of the project in terms of History is multiple: first, it is aimed to serve as a contribution to the development of certain learning skills of the pupils/students related to historical “literacy”, given that digital material is nowadays accepted as a key contributor to the development of pupils/students’ research and thinking skills. Secondly, the production of this material emphasizes in the creation of a repository of reference material in the field of History.
It would be a commonplace to underline the increasing integration of ICT facilities and tools in modern educational systems. Moreover the growing importance of ICT in teaching and learning History has been supported by national government investment and a variety of cross-Europe initiatives.
In this context, apart from the development of historical thinking skills, one of the major pedagogical roles of ICT in terms of History didactics is to develop pupils/students’ information management and information literacy, to make them more discerning about what they read or what they watch. In any case, part of historical education in the twenty first century should be the development of pupils/students’ understanding for the status and reliability of information from various media sources, the development of their visual “literacy” with the use of digital maps, images and portraits, as well as their training on the comparative advantages and disadvantages of using different approaches.
In this framework, this H.L.Os’ project can also, in long term, contribute to the evaluation and improvement of digital educational material through the co-examination of other case studies which are carried out on platforms of this type, thus establishing quality standards and criteria within the concept of didactic standards in such digital environments. Part of this process could be the implementation of the transmission of knowledge and, therefore, communication with pupils/students through the use of different codes or semeiotic systems as the visual, textual, verbal or non-verbal codes.
The ambition of this initiative is on the one hand to develop and adapt a large number of digital learning objects for History and, on the other, to provide educators with customized digital interactive tools, which will “support” standard History textbooks and enable teachers to enrich their teaching and broaden the range of their educational goals.