By: Matthew Elliott, Head of History, King Edward VI School, Bury St. Edmunds
The 60 second histories produced by the team at Squaducation have been a real boon to us both within the classroom and in our planning for next year. We are currently an upper school and have used the WWI films extensively. In their brevity they offer something unique; a snapshot of a topic, a theme or an idea told from the point of view of a participant. Whilst there is a wealth of useful film material out there to use in the History classroom, to have something so lively in such small packages makes their use in lessons an obvious choice.
The clips themselves are engaging. Visually interesting, with simple hand drawn titles and pictures, the focus is on the actors as they speak directly to the audience. In this regard, they perhaps have most in common with those recreators who come into schools and present in character to students. Yet whilst those events take much organisation and, indeed, expense, the 60 Second Histories allow the history teacher to do this every day. Pupils can watch a set of the films together and in only a few minutes they have learned a huge amount of detail that they can then use in all sorts of ways.
In September 2016 this school will take in pupils in year 7 and 8 for the first time. This has meant that the History team here are madly planning two whole years’ worth of lessons. Again, the 60 Second Histories have helped us to think about the kind of enquiries we will be writing on, for example, the Norman Invasion and the Civil War. For some in the team, who haven’t ever taught these year groups, the films have offered a useful introduction to those topics.
We’re looking forward to seeing more 60 Second Histories over the coming years, certainly ones that help us in the planning and delivery of the new GCSE specifications. I’m very happy to endorse the resources that Squaducation offer.