Using technology in the history classroom

Author: Dave Stacey
Published: 12/05/2022
Students in a school computer lab

With the rapid pace of change in technology, it’s easy to feel swamped when asked to ‘integrate technology’ into your classroom. In fact, without a clear sense of what you’re hoping to achieve, this can become a distraction.

These 20 ideas are intended to provide some food for thought, regardless of how comfortable you feel with technology or how much of it you have access to. Some just extend things you’re probably already doing. Others may be whole new opportunities. Some will allow you to make really effective use of devices in student hands, but if you don’t have that option, others provide clever integration between the analogue and digital.

Whichever you pick, try it with one class and see how you get on. If it works, make it part of your teaching toolkit. If it doesn’t, try something else!

Turn your PowerPoint presentations into videos. Use the built-in features of MS PowerPoint or Keynote, or an app like Explain Everything to record a narrated version of your resources that pupils can refer to in their own time, as many times as they need.

Use your camera phone to snap the best. Whether it’s examples of excellent student work or snaps from a visit to a heritage site, build up a library to share with your students. Back up your photos to the cloud so you can quickly access them on any computer and share via a projector.

Share your homework online. Your school may have its own platform, or you could use a free solution like Twitter or Padlet (see #11). Putting homework online means students can click through to the resources they need and less time is lost to recording details from the board. Plus no more ‘lost sheet’ excuses!

Strip the comments from YouTube videos. YouTube is an excellent source of documentaries and archive footage, but you’ve no way of knowing what comments or related videos may appear below or beside the video. Use a service like to show just the video.

Become Wikipedians. The Simple English’ version of Wikipedia is in much need of some articles on a range of history topics. Why not get your students involved in writing some pages for everyone to benefit from, and give their work a real audience?

Online historic maps. There has been a growth in the online availability of historic maps recently and these are great for anyone looking to build a local history study. The National Library of Scotland is particularly good, allowing you to compare two maps, side by side.

Historic images and other sources. A growing number of museums and archives are digitising their content and putting it online. Try the National Archives and Flickr’s ‘The Commons’ collections as starting points.

Online tools. There’s a wealth of tools that can be used with a projector or on pupil devices. Try which has an excellent range and supporting blog which explains how to deploy them for maximum effect.

Download the free resource: 20 ideas for using technology

This article was first published as a newsletter.

Dave Stacey

Dave is a lecturer in Initial Teacher Education at the University of Wales, Trinity St David. He taught History, ICT and the Welsh Baccalaureate for 13 years at a large 11–18 comprehensive school in Swansea, where he was the school’s e-learning coordinator. He can be found on Twitter @davestacey.