This CD-Rom on The Scottish People: 1840-1940 contains a wealth of photographic evidence, film clips, essays and resources for Secondary 3-6 pupils.
It has been put together by the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network, a millennium project that aims to give schools access to museum and archive materials via the Internet and a series of CD-Roms.
Although mainly aimed at older pupils, much of the photographic evidence can be used to support the 5-14 environmental studies topic of "Understanding people in the past". This should prove of particular use when Level F, with its requirements for more independent study, is fully implemented.
There are three separate but linked parts - topics, resources and essays. Twelve topics in all are covered, including industry, transport and leisure. Each one is broken down into a range of issues.
For example, "housing" looks at a key Scottish problem area, some of the causes of the difficulties and attempts at improving the situation. Not all of this is relevant to Standard grade, but it gives the pupils a lead into the topic which is interesting and stimulating.
Most of the topics are accompanied by essays. These are particularly useful for demonstrating to candidates what is meant by a good introduction, development and conclusion.
They have also, with their bibliographies, been very helpful to history staff wishing to explore the issues in more depth. The ones on leisure and religion, for instance, have helped to extend my own knowledge for the forthcoming Higher Still section on Scottish culture.
The photographic evidence can be printed off, though it took me five minutes on average to print off one image. Information relating to the source is also given, such as when it was produced and where it is now located. Comparing fashion through the different periods was particularly popular with my classes.
One of the great virtues of this disc is the ease with which pupils can move from the topic to the resources to the essays, within each theme. All the pupils have commented very favourablyon this feature.
My one complaint is that the disc was not available earlier in the life of Standard grade. With the decision to remove the investigation element from the exam, many might think it is now redundant. I would urge them to think again.
There is a range of information here that could help teachers to devise investigative exercises for the new enquiry skills. The essay section, too, will help Higher candidates and I, for one, look forward to the next production, based on the period 1450-1800.