The Digital Classroom – A History Teacher’s Viewpoint

I’ve shared a few blog posts on here from other bloggers, usually in situations where they’ve nailed the content in a way that I can’t really improve on! Today I read a blog post from an Australian History Teacher where they shared how they had transitioned their classroom to a digital environment. As a former teacher of history and social studies myself, I really enjoyed this perspective from the classroom of 2019.

Read the original blog post here

old vs new.PNG

The blog post compared the ‘old’ way of teaching to the “new” digital tools being used in their place. Red ink annotations are by me (courtesy of my Surface Laptop!)

What I liked about this blog post is the author has identified free solutions (based off Office365) to support their digital classroom, but based them on traditional, easily understandable classroom tools but supercharging them through technology:

I have found a whole range of programs that do exactly what my old resources did, while providing improved functionality. The digital solutions I found also provided a whole world of new experiences and opportunities that were impossible under traditional teaching styles.

To me, this is leveraging the SAMR model – something which I am a big fan of and have blogged about in previous roles when I was working in K-12 education:


The SAMR model provides teachers with a clear trajectory to integrating technology into their teaching practice.

In my experience, teachers inherently “get” the idea of taking a digital equivalent of a traditional teaching tool (Substitution) but then extending their practice through the added benefits of a digital platform (Augmentation). An obvious example of this is the Whiteboard app referred to in the blog post:

New: Whiteboard App

Whiteboard may be the simplest idea for an app, but also the most instantly useful for a teacher. At the most basic level, it works just like a physical whiteboard: you write information on it. However, you do so by writing on the screen of your computer, which means you never have to turn your back, and you can do it from anywhere in the room. Also, you can instantly add images from online. Finally, you can save any of your work digitally and share it with any student at any time, which means that no student has to ever miss notes from class again.

With time, increased confidence and competence, teachers can start planning how they can use these tools in more advanced ways, working towards Modification and eventually Re-Definition in the SAMR taxonomy. There is a whole world of how this can be applied by the creative teacher, including using Skype in the Classroom do stimulate learning through fun activities such as Mystery Skypes (see my blogs about this here)

Two examples of Mystery Skype I helped organize

Technology is a great enabler, but it should always remain a servant to pedagogy. This post shows how the teaching and learning must always remain front and centre of the lesson design, with the technology merely super-charging the delivery.

I am always keen to discuss what I've written and hear your ideas so leave a reply here...