London History Schools Day: digital resources to support children’s learning

With our London CLC Humanities conference coming up on 1 May and the third London History Schools Day on 24 May we direct the spotlight onto London’s rich history and the benefits of using digital technology to support children’s learning, especially to bring the local context to life.

London History Schools Day, which was launched in 2017 as the sister event to Historic England’s London History Day, celebrates the capital’s unique history and heritage. Schools are encouraged to bring London’s unique characters, past and present, to life with a dress-up day and activities.

This year the themes will be Celebration and Local Culture, supporting the Mayor’s wider #LondonisOpen campaign, showing that London will always be open to the world and to celebrate its culture and diversity. There’s a great teachers’ guide full of ideas of Londoners to dress up as and low-cost, creative ways to come up with the costumes.

Whether you’re planing London History Day or simply looking for some fresh inspiration for history in the classroom, there’s a wealth of excellent online resources to pick and choose from. London’s museums are a great place to start.

The British Museum continues to inspire across KS1-3 and beyond with interesting artefacts relevant not just for Britain but world history – see for instance Teaching history with 100 objects as well as extensive resources in the Learning section of its website, while the Museum of London’s new Beasts of London exhibition explores the fascinating role animals have played in shaping the capital.

For teaching through key figures, try the London History Schools Day guides from 2018 and 2017, which give some ideas for an inclusive range of London historical figures but there’s still plenty of scope for selecting your own area, borough’s or school’s own local heroes, female and male. For example, the Brixton-based Black Cultural Archives’ current exhibition features five black women leaders in portraits by artist Franklyn Rodgers. If you’re based in Clapham you might want to check out Van Gogh’s connections to Brixton, Lambeth and London. Google Arts and Culture has an excellent, very visual archive of the suffragette movement in London.

Layers of London is definitely worth a look. It’s a map-based history website where you can access free historic maps of London and contribute stories, memories and histories to create a social history resource about your area.

Finally a reminder that in our Humanities conference on 1 May we’ll be considering a current hot topic – developing children as critical learners. London CLC’s co-director, Sarah Horrocks, will address this issue in her keynote: it’s crucial as historians to sift through and compare evidence for how we interpret and understand the past, and that includes what we find out and encounter online.

There will also be a chance for hands-on exploration in our workshops as we believe that one of the ways children will become aware of how technology and digital can influence what we think is if they themselves to have a chance to use tools creatively and playfully to express themselves and their knowledge and understanding. So watch out for talking statues, portraits and photos as well as 3D digital environments, plus a great talk from the British Museum to kick off the day.

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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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