Christine Counsell and Terry Haydn
The computer can be a fabulous tool…. But the dirty little secret is that no one really knows what to do with this stuff.
(Warhaftig, quoted in Banks and Renwick 1997)
The relationship between ICT and learning is a complex one. The usefulness of computer applications varies from subject to subject. It is taking time to find out how best to integrate ICT with day-to-day teaching and learning across different subject disciplines. Progress has been hampered by misconceptions about computers and about learning, including the belief that school subjects should be used to teach children about ICT rather than the other way round and that an increase in the volume of information transmitted across the educational system would lead to a commensurate increase in learning. Pacific Rim education systems have been quicker to realise that education in the twentyfirst century is not primarily a question of filling up learners' hard-disk space, but one of developing the sophistication and power of their information processors (Galton 1994). This involves thinking about how children learn and taking their needs into account in the way that we design and use ICT materials and activities. It means thinking carefully about what it means 'to get better' at history. It means asking pupils to do something worthwhile with the historical information that they access using ICT.
Above all, it means investing in teachers' pedagogic expertise in the subject. If pupils are to succeed and grow in the discipline of history, then teachers need to know how to frame rigorous enquiry questions, how to locate ICT within an enquiry journey and how to think clearly about the interplay between a pupil's growing knowledge and the