You may have recently seen a list of trainers approved by the Teachers Training Agency under the New Opportunities Fund. Nestling among the giants of the computer industry is the humble Historical Association.
Why should the HA bother?
There are several good reasons. Most of all, there is the concern that the NOF will be technology, rather than subject- led, as it claims. The HA is clear that its training plans are focused on history teachers getting to grips with ICT.
The training work will be a combination of practical, individual work, supported by distance learning and help from a mentor through e-mail and conferencing. A key part of the package is the material produced by the Department of Education and Employment's History and IT Support Project, jointly managed by the HA and BECTA. Even skills such as managing directories or changing file types will be given a familiar context for a history teacher. This is where the HA's major partners come in. In terms of the training, Staffordshire education authority is involved in the partnership, and history adviser Dave Perrett is writing a good deal of the distance learning materials. The other main partner is ACTIS, a company specialising in Internet services for education.
History Online is the HA's Internet subscription service for teachers. It aims to save time, stimulate new ideas, provide ready-to-use resources and support professional development. Some of the main features are:
* Gateway to the Internet: A large and ever growing collection of website reviews are organised under the kinds of headings teachers will recognise, such as medieval Britain, or Russian revolution.
* Classroom resources: There are collections of original source material on a range of subjects from the Vikings to the Cold War and activities to go with these materials. The British Library is providing resources for student investigations and links are being established with other organisations, such as the Imperial War Museum.
* Professional development: These are articles on subjects such as teaching and learning methodologies, the use of ICT and strategies for teaching chronology.
Anyone interested in the NOF Training should consult the TTA's catalogue of providers, or contact the Historical Association on 0171 820 1939 or by e-mailon enquiry @ history .org.uk. Details of History Online are available on the Internet at http:www.historyonline.co.uk, or from ACTIS on 01773 534000