How history teachers should respond to the development of new technology in their teaching is an important question - for history teachers and trainee teachers, for their pupils, and for the health and vitality of history in the school curriculum.
Over the past several years, ICT has developed an increasingly high profile as an issue in the teaching of history, and in education generally. As recently as 1993, 50 per cent of a cohort of trainee history teachers reported that they had never used a computer in their teaching because 'the thought did not occur' (Downes 1993). It is difficult to imagine today's trainee history teachers providing a similar response, given the requirements for Qualified Teacher Status in England and Wales (DfEE 1998), the pressures on history departments to incorporate ICT into schemes of work and the high profile of ICT in the education media. The use of computers for teaching history is also one of the most common topics for questions at job interviews for new history teachers in the UK: a recent survey found that a question on the use of ICT featured in 93 per cent of interviews for posts as Newly Qualified Teachers of History. In the same survey, many heads of history acknowledged that they felt 'under pressure' to develop the use of ICT in their departments, and some expressed concern that if ICT was not seen to be an integral feature of schemes of work this would reflect unfavourably in an Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) inspection of their department (Haydn 2001). One recent British survey on teachers' use of ICT found that a main reason given by teachers for using computers in their teaching was that they felt they ought to. (Cox et al. 1999.)
Developments in new technology have not come, therefore, as an unalloyed benefit for history teachers and history teacher-trainees: they have also become, in a sense, a concern and a pressure. Part of the