Digital time machine
Ann Logan discovers a history treasure trove at the British Newspaper Archive site.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a time machine to go back and see what it was like when the slave trade was abolished, or witness the charge of the Light Brigade?
The British Newspaper Archive has the next best thing. Whether you are studying British life in the 19th century or the sinking of the Titanic, the archive offers millions of searchable pages from local, regional and national UK newspapers.
The archive’s papers mainly date from the 19th century, but there are articles dating back to the first half of the 18th century. Read eyewitness accounts of the building of the railways, and newspaper reports on the Crimean War or the temperance movement.
Easy to search
The archive is easy to search and there is some free content you can view once you’ve registered (this is free). You can locate articles by keyword, name, location, date or title from the homepage. Search for your chosen topic or browse the archive by selecting a specific paper or region.
The site will grow over the next ten years, as scanning and digitising progresses (up to 8,000 pages are added each day). The archive will eventually span 250 years (from 1700 to 1950) of events from UK and Irish newspapers. By 2021, there will be up to 40 million pages on the site.
The archive includes titles from cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Leeds and York, and titles from London boroughs.
You can search for news, family notices, letters to the editor, obituaries and advertisements. The aspirations and anxieties of the time are laid bare in the searchable ads and classifieds, which promote everything from the latest fashion to miracle cures for baldness.
The timeline on the homepage contains a sampling of articles that are free to view
• the Battle of Waterloo
• Queen Victoria’s coronation
• the Tay Rail Bridge collapse.
The archive team posts free content on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ TheBritishNewspaperArchive) and Twitter (twitter.com/ BNArchive). For instance, there is a gallery of scary stories (in the photos section on Facebook), ‘Victorian Schooling and Corporal Punishment’.
The British Newspaper Archive website is a partnership project between the British Library and online publisher brightsolid. www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
My ICT favourites
Gary Spracklen is a year 2 class teacher and ICT coordinator in Dorset.
I have always been impressed by 2Simple and their range of educational software. Their latest, cloud-based www.purplemash.com has transformed learning with ICT for our pupils both at school and at home. The range of tools is phenomenal and many are supported by a video or picture stimulus.
My MacBook has to be my favourite gadget! Although Lego WeDo Robotics is another. These excellent kits, designed for use with KS1 and KS2 pupils, support a basic introduction to control and programming.
www.twitter.com is where all my quality CPD takes place. If you’ve never tried it, why not join #UKEdChat 8pm to 9pm every Thursday, or follow me (@Nelkcarps) or some other educators (@DeputyMitchell and @IanAddison)?
www.gallery.nen.gov.uk provides a collection of copyright-free images, sounds and video clips that you can use in school. The site, where you can also upload your own content, is a safe and more ethical alternative to Google image search.
www.mrthorne.com is an incredible free resource to assist in the teaching of phonics. We use it all the time in my year 2 class as part of our letters and sounds work.
Which websites, software and gadgets help you most in your professional life? Email your favourites to email@example.com by 16 April and you could see them published in the May/June edition of The Teacher. You’ll also win a £15 New Look gift card courtesy of Countdown – see page 45.