Mark Childs, Centre for Academic Practice
In this article, the first of two papers in this chapter about the ARCHES Project, Mark Childs explores some of the issues raised through the project. The ARCHES resource consisted of software to store and catalogue a selection of materials – pictures, video capture, animations and text – on Ancient Greece and Rome. The article described approaches taken by the Theatre Studies and Classics and Ancient History Department to working with the resource – involving students in varied activities. What is particularly interesting here is the use of technology within the classroom environment as a tool to stimulate learning. Students worked in groups using computers for discrete tasks and then presenting findings. Despite positive feedback from students about the collaborative experience of working with peers, the evaluation raised issues about student preparedness for this type of learning. There seemed to be a need for tutor direction to support the process, improve students’ confidence, reassure them and provide a clear framework for the activities. The findings suggest that introducing such processed-based approaches like this can be successful, but that the change needs to be gradual - with tutors having a key role in managing the transition.
First appeared in Interactions Issue 23 Summer 2004