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      casahistoria - web site for students of modern history!

                                       

It was before iPads, iPhones and Twitter, before Facebook, and at a time when even Google had not yet appeared on most computer screens that during the summer holidays of December 1998 and January 1999, whilst teaching history in Buenos Aires I had the idea of creating a list of basic web sites that would help my IB students find resources on the web. We used the key search engines of the day, Alta Vista and the up and coming Yahoo to look for links of value and we called our growing list casahistoria, meaning house of history or more appropriately, the history home.

Since then that single page has grown to over 100 as a result of my teaching and examining students at AS, and A2 as well as IB level. Casahistoria now has several thousands of daily users in term time and has had over 6 million visitors in total.

 



Who recommends and makes use of casahistoria

Some examples of the scope of the site's use and recommendations:

  • Many universities and colleges cite it as a valuable resource including departments at Harvard (USA), Valencia (Spain) and inclusion in the UK Intute joint university database of web resources.
  • Casahistoria is included on the resource lists of numerous educational authorities including Edexcel examination materials (UK), the US Library of Congress list of recommended internet materials for teachers and the New South Wales Education list of history resources (Australia).
  • School resource sites across the globe, including many completing IB (International Baccalaureate) courses link to pages on the casahistoria web.
  • Conventional media sources as diverse as the New York Times (USA), la Nacion (Argentina) and the BBC (UK) link to it as a resource to support articles.

  

What casahistoria hopes to achieve

  • My main intention has always been to provide a critical listing of sites that are of value to undergraduate, IB and Advanced Level modern history courses. I have tried to view as a selection criteria what as a teacher I would feel would be of use to my students if they were working on this topic. Young casahistoria also provides a small number of core sites with an indication of differentiation by level of difficulty. These are now amongst the most popular pages on casahistoria.

 

  • Although there are numerous "history" sites on the web, many were and are of dubious use. Casahistoria is designed to help history surfers to use the web more effectively and efficiently by reducing the amount of time spent "filtering" the valuable from less valuable. As well as a brief comment on selection, casahistoria will often give some indication of the usefulness of a particular site. Topics are not comprehensive, but they do emphasize those themes most commonly studied and within each topic my intention (wherever possible) is to provide a variety of links to sites that not only inform, but also allow users to see divergent views and make judgements. Only very rarely is a web site a substitute for the written word, but if used carefully it does provide many useful resources, especially for initial study and research.

 

  • Over time as the internet has expanded the primary advantage of the site to users has changed a little. Initially it was more of a "first stop" to find out the basics of a subject or topic. In recent years this has been taken over more by an improving Wikipedia and the value of casahistoria has been to provide a broad spread of available resources and ideas, often from differing viewpoints that can be used and cited by students increasingly dependant on directed studies based otherwise solely on textbooks containing brief pre digested extracts from the work of historians. This hopefully gives a taste of the genuine history skills of researching and evaluating a range of items not preselected by text or examination material.

 

  • Although edited since 2002 in Europe, one additional aim of casahistoria and its news-site cafehistoria (shown below), has been to put more weight on Latin American history links, especially for those sites appearing in English.

 

  • Equally, it has also been an intention to provide resources and documentary materials for history students in the developing world especially, who might not have immediate or easy access to written texts (although the web can never replace those textual materials.........).

 

  • On a practical level, the current site design shows well enough on mobile devices and smart phone devices for it to be used by students working away from their desk or laptop.



Cafehistoria

Set up six years ago, this blog draws attention to items in the news of general historical interest or that have a connection with some area of the casahistoria web. Sources for items and images are acknowledged to allow for further follow up. It is also the place where news of changes to the site are published as well as reviews of history books read by the editor. These reviews then appear on the casahistoria Reading Lists.



 
 
Help and support

I would like to thank those students and teachers who have written to me with words of encouragement and support (or for some assistance with an aspect of researching links).

It is good to hear how casahistoria is being used in schools and colleges worldwide and how it is being of help to you. With over 100 pages the site has probably reached it's maximum to enable maintenance and updating to be done within a reasonable time frame - any future additional pages topics will most likely be at the expense of an existing one.... So any help with identifying useful new sites, dead links/gaps and so on is most welcome!


Equally, if you have comments in general on the site, or would like to see a new section, let me know at lesfearns@casahistoria.net



the editor at large!




Happy history surfing!  

Les Fearns 


           









casahistoria is recommended by many sites including:
     

 
   
    
   


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