Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pioneering Learning from the Archives

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pioneering Learning from the Archives

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicola Weatherall

THE basement of Newcastle University's Robinson Library is home to a collection of precious archives charting the spread of a deadly disease across the North East more than 180 years ago.

Listing the names of poor souls who lost their lives, it also details the treatments used and the methods introduced by officials to try to manage the spread of cholera.

For years, these documents and many others have been undisturbed, gathering dust. But now, for the first time, they are helping to bring history lessons to life for school pupils of all ages.

The archives are being made available to schools in the region and across the UK as part of a pioneering learning resource.

Called the Teachers' Toolkit, the online platform brings together around 250 teaching resources, outreach programmes and events to support teachers and inspire the next generation.

The web-based resource was launched at an event for school teachers from across the region recently by the university's Pro Vice Chancellor for teaching and learning, Suzanne Chollerton.

Covering a wide range of topics from biofuels to philosophy, the aim is to give schools easy access to the university's pioneering expertise to help shape interactive classroom lessons.

Science education liaison officer Simon Laing, who has led the project, said the aim was to create the Yellow Pages equivalent for schools outreach at Newcastle University. "One of the problems is the real world isn't divided up into university subjects and disciplines," he said.

"A teacher trying to find information about disease might go to the medical faculty website, but not search the historical archives which are housed in the library. "Other topics might fall under chemistry in the school curriculum but come under medicine or biology here at the university and teachers are just too busy to trawl through the website trying to find the right programmes and the right people to speak to. …

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