E-Resource Feature Focus: History

April 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm 2 comments

As reported previously, each month, the Kong Chian Library Club will feature the online e-resources available to teachers and students at Hwa Chong Institution, grouped by academic subject. The aim of such a feature focus is to shine attention on the variety of resources available in order to increase the exposure and usage of the subscribed eResources. This month’s review will pertain specifically to History e-resources.

Active History is specially targeted for educators teaching history to students between 11 and 18 years old. It presents lesson packages that contain PowerPoint slides, hand-outs, worksheets and teacher help-sheets. As it is a United Kingdom website, the syllabus might not be entirely similar to those used in Singapore. However, it contains useful information on World War I and World War II history, such as the causes of WWI, the peace treaties (Treaty of Versailles) and the League of Nations, which are all covered under the Secondary 2 syllabus. For Secondary 3 students taking IHE History or HP History, there is also worthwhile information on Russian history, such as the 1905 and 1917 revolutions, the causes of these revolutions and insights on the leaders of the period (Lenin, Stalin, etc.).

This eResource is also particularly special as it contains interactive elements, such as games for better understanding of a topic or as a review of a whole topic, and mock interviews of historical figures such as Henry VIII, William the Conqueror, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. Furthermore, the use of interactive web elements like Google Earth and some Google Gadgets might appeal to tech-savvy students.

A predominantly unique element of this eResource is that it has tools such as the Essay Planning Tool and the Essay Marking Tool. The essay planning tool does help in identifying how a student should answer an essay question, which might be useful when students face troubles in organising their essays. The essay marking tool grades the essay based on structure (linking words), data (range of dates and chronological terms) and historiography (use and evaluation of quotes / raw data). Although it does not evaluate the content of the essay itself, the automated response is useful in that it offers some general advice for a good, organised essay.

One downside for this eResource is that the design of the website might not be particularly attractive, with a mundane blue background. However, the resources are fairly well organised and there should be no problem in finding the required information. Another point to note would be that this website often does not cite external sources of information and is single-handedly maintained by Russell Tarr, the Head of History at the International School of Toulouse. Therefore, students are to exercise their good judgment when referring to these resources.

Current History is a United States publication devoted to world affairs. As a periodical that has been published since 1914, subscribers not only have the opportunity to access both recent reviews of events around the globe, but also, commentaries and editorials of historical events dating back to the 1900s.

Although there might not be information that is practically useful in academics (unlike Active History), for interested students, it includes a whole wide range of topics like the Afghanistan Civil War, nuclear crises in a number of countries, and China’s economic power and its leaders. Furthermore, it would be useful for HP students doing the Humanities Research Project as these scholarly articles would be appropriate for the literature review.

The contributing editors of Current History include editors from distinguished US tertiary institutions such as Harvard University, Columbia Law School, Stanford University and Brown University. Therefore, the information is highly trustable, intellectual and analytical.

To use the eResource fully, it must be accessed on school grounds, utilizing either the Wireless@HCI wifi server or the school computer labs, as the eResource is subscribed by the school’s IP address. Full text articles before 2000 are not available online, which might limit the actual use of the eResource.

Many thanks to Keith Low (3H1), Foo Yang Yi (2I4), Koh Jian Way (2A2), and Shawn Wong (4O2) for their write-ups of the two e-resources featured above.

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Entry filed under: E-Resources.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cheong Yi Wei (03) 1A3  |  April 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I think that this type of learning is much better than just memorizing the facts. If one only memorize the facts because of marks, he or she would be probably bored of memorizing after a while unless that person find any interesting facts that he or she would be interested in looking for more information on that particular fact. However, in this case, one is not being forced to memorize facts because it is being tested or marks were being allocated to that particular topic. Contradictory, one is just reading casually about the history of countries and therefore, one would most probably find interest in doing this type of reading as there are no marks allocated so there would be no stress and one also would benefit from it as he or she would learn more about the history and would look for more information himself.
    However, as this website does not cite external sources of information and is single-handedly maintained by Russell Tarr, the Head of History at the International School of Toulouse, therefore, students are needed to exercise their good judgment when referring to these resources. Most students might think that this is very troublesome. However, through exercising good judgments, they would also develop critical thinking skills, which would help them in answering inference questions in Integrated Humanities. Therefore, I think that learning like this is much efficient than learning in the school as this is active learning but in school, most of the time we would only memorize facts.

    Reply
    • 2. keithlowsh  |  July 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Yi Wei,

      I fully agree! I am sure these eResources are beneficial to our learning, academically or otherwise. Hope you can use them well!

      Reply

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Library Club Leadership

Teachers In-Charge:
Mrs Rosalind Lee (SC)
Mdm Chan May Lun
Mdm Shieh Le-shiang
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