Voting with their hands

Electronic voting handsets may hold the key to persuading pupils to stick with history, teachers of the subject believe - but only if they are used more imaginatively.

The Historical Association is running a research project with six secondary schools south of the border to see how the gameshow-type devices could spark teenagers' interest in the subject.

Ben Walsh, a member of the association's secondary committee, said the systems, which allowed instant pupil feedback, are often ignored by history teachers.

The problem, he said, was demonstrated by internet resources provided by whiteboard manufacturers which were just multiple choice tests examining recall of facts.

The solution, he believes, is to go beyond questions like "What date was the battle of Hastings?" and instead use the technology to test pupil opinion of historical events.

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