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Local History

The subject I had with the Transition Years this year was Local History. I had them for the last two classes on Friday afternoons so that we could go out as often as possible. The students were of mixed ability though generally good. As I never was given the chance of using the computer room I did not achieve one of my objectives-creating a website filled with local history which my Junior Cert history students could use in the future. My intention was to enable the students to gather information over the three sessions to add to a simple website which we would create. The first group's focus would be on buildings in Kilkenny City, the second group, famous people (residents or visitors) who were in Kilkenny and then the third group would look at the rest of the county.

 

To engage their interest in this, whenever we could we went down town and the students followed printed Tourist Trails created over the years by my former classes. When the weather was bad, which was not very often, the students researched local history in the forty/fifty books on Kilkenny which I brought to class. We met down town, usually at the Bank of Ireland, at 3.00pm, they were given a 'Trail' to follow and to fill in the answers, meeting again for discussion at 3.45pm. At the end of the three modules the girls had to give me a brief account of someone or someplace which might eventually be incorporated into the site. I brought in my laptop one day when I knew I would only have four students and they made a start on the website. We used Publisher because it was what I had learned at the 'Teach to the Future' course. One might ask why I did not have the students give me their work on disks and I could have uploaded it onto the fledgling site? If I had had more class contact time and/or access to the computer room with them this would have been feasible. Apart from the computer problem, it was a chaotic year which militated against any bandaid solution. In my opinion this was a valid idea for Local History but a non-starter for I.T. given the lack of timetabled access to the I.T. room.

_______________________ Catherine Loughman 26.04.01

 

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