One of the strands of my ‘archaeological audience’ research is an exploration of the use and usefulness of online materials produced by archaeological organisations to support teachers and the national curriculums of the UK, Sweden and beyond. I am also looking how education providers in a variety of contexts use archaeological resources to support their work beyond mainstream education. In my previous work in community archaeology before I did my PhD, I helped produce online material to support the UK history curriculum, and I know that many of my colleagues who work in archaeology education in the UK also create these resources on a regular basis, often as part of short-term funded projects, which have educational elements to their evaluated outputs.
These online resources, most often as PDF downloads, are well-researched, content-rich and carefully aligned to the national curriculum. But are they used? How are they used? Are they useful? One of the most surprising things I found as I casually Googled for examples online is that there is no centrally-held database in the UK of educational resources available to teachers. Perhaps this is something that would be very difficult to maintain, but the perhaps the benefits of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for teachers would at least ensure that the material so carefully produced as part of so many archaeology projects had a chance of seeing daylight?
So the next stage of this thread of my project will be to work on gathering opinions from teachers on these resources, and trying to find out what they need and use, and what they would like to use, and see how that might align with the information that the archaeological sector already produces. I will be working on this in part with Brighton Museums, starting with a meeting next week to look at the potential use of 3D models of artefacts in the classroom, and methods for teaching the Stone Age through these technologies. I am really interested in hearing from any UK or Sweden-based archaeology education providers, or teachers, who would like to work on this with me, so please do email me if interested.