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Teacher praises Dunkeswell War Stories

( Last Updated: 11-11-2013 )

A Devon teacher has described how an innovative multi-media project has transformed her pupils' understanding of the Second World War, and created lessons for anyone to use.

Kate Prince's class of Key Stage 2 pupils at Broadhembury Primary School, close to Dunkeswell airfield in East Devon, were closely involved in developing the interactive, video-based website Dunkeswell War Stories. Through working with the class over several weeks, the project team developed the site's dedicated schools' area of free lesson plans, printable resources and short films to use in the classroom.

During the collaboration, the children discovered the heritage of their area, which hosted the only US naval airbase on British soil, and learnt film-making skills which enabled them to conduct their own interviews of older local people.

Kate says:

"Throughout the project I was thrilled to see the way the team interacted and inspired the children in the area of ICT, media and history. The children were completely immersed and inspired in the technology and the opportunities it was bringing into the classroom. The class has many children who lack self-esteem and who have specific special needs and it was a joy to see the children being fully involved. It has also obviously had a great impact on the children's learning about the local area and the Second World War. What better way to learn than interviewing people who have been through the war? Along with the well prepared and resourced history lessons, the children were fully inspired and learnt a great deal about the effects of the war.

"The second impact on learning will be the many schools who now have access to the resource, not only local schools but schools all over the country.  This means that hundreds of children can learn and be inspired by the project.  It fully fits in with the history curriculum being taught in schools, and the lessons and films are tailored to the Key Stage 2 Curriculum. We're required to teach a study of the impact of the Second World War or social and technological changes that have taken place since 1930, so what a great way to do it: a resource prepared with lesson plans and films of eye witness accounts.  This links ICT together neatly with the history curriculum. 

"It could be also be used for older and younger children, for example with Key stage 1 by finding out about the past from eyewitness accounts, pictures and photographs and the use of ICT-based resources.

"The lessons are set out with clear learning objectives, and lesson activities which are easy to follow.  The resources are listed and when needed provided.  For each lesson there are short films to support the learning objective.  This makes it so easy to be taken into any Primary classroom.

"What is most exciting about this project is that it has produced a child and teacher-friendly resource that has already impacted an a small amount of learners, but has the potential to impact on hundreds of children both in Devon and all over the country."

Dunkeswell War Stories is at www.dunkeswellwarstories.com

The project was developed by the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership and produced by Dream Machine Media, thanks to a £39,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Additional funding came from Devon County Council, Dunkeswell Parish Council, Cllr Paul Diviani and the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership itself.


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