While studying at the Open University I became convinced by the ideas of Jerome Bruner on active learning. Since I began teaching history in 1978 I have attempted to produce materials that enable active learning to take place. This has included educational computer programs such as Attack on the Somme, Wall Street and The Russian Revolution. The internet provides the best opportunity so far to make active learning a reality.
Over the last twenty years I have written several history books including Gandhi (1987), The Vietnam War (1988), Race Relations in the United States (1988), Slavery: An Illustrated History of Black Resistance (1988), Hitler (1988), Stalin (1987), The Roman Empire (1991), Making of the United Kingdom (1992), Expansion, Trade and Industry (1992), The Medieval Village (1996), The Norman Invasion (1996), etc.
In September, 1997 I established the Spartacus Educational website and over the next six years I produced online material for the Daily Telegraph, the European Virtual School and The Guardian and its educational website, Learn. I was also a member of the European History E-Learning Project (E-Help), a project to encourage and improve use of ICT and the internet in classrooms across the continent.
I have published ten e-books, Charles Dickens: A Biography (October, 2012), First World War Encyclopedia (October, 2012), Assassination of John F. Kennedy Encyclopedia (November, 2012), Gandhi: A Biography (December, 2012), The Spanish Civil War (December, 2012), The American Civil War (December, 2012), Henry VII (September, 2015), Henry VIII (September, 2015), Anne Boleyn (September, 2015) and Mary Tudor (September, 2015).
I also contributed an article to the recently published book, Using New Technologies to Enhance Teaching and Learning in History (December, 2012). In September 2015 I was one of the historians interviewed for the BBC documentary, The Hollywood Spy.
John Simkin (BA, MA, MPhil)
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