Introduction: Editor

Dr Rebecca Cairns, Unit Chair EHI702

The activities in Historical thinking for senior secondary students: A collection of learning and teaching activities 2022 were developed by the pre-service teachers in EHI702 History Curriculum Inquiry Senior Years, a unit in the Master of Teaching at Deakin University. The collection celebrates their capacity to develop learning and teaching activities that align with the requirements of their curriculum contexts, engage with historical thinking concepts and utilise copyright compliant materials. In addition to showcasing their burgeoning pedagogical content knowledge, this Open Education Resource (OER) indicates their growing sense of collegiality and openness to sharing their work with the wider history education community in the form of an Open Educational Resource (OER).

During this unit, students explored the potential of open pedagogy and using and creating OERs, which included learning about Creative Commons licences and copyright. Here we were very ably supported by Deakin’s librarians and copyright team (see Acknowledgements). OER-enabled pedagogy is conceptualised as teaching and learning practices that embrace the possibilities of OERs and the 5R permissions: retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute (Wiley & Hilton 2018). Learning to apply these permissions and attribute material appropriately enhances students’ digital literacy but is also particularly relevant to them as history educators who will be regularly working with their students to locate, evaluate and attribute historical sources.

The activities herein come from a renewable assessment task in which students were asked to design a sequence of learning and teaching activities for Year 11 History. This included developing a rationale to support their planning by drawing on literature and theory related to historical thinking, approaches to history education, backwards design and OER-enabled pedagogy. As a renewable assessment task, the learning is extended well beyond the life of the task. Student agency is respected as they are recognised as the authors and copyright holders of their work (Wiley & Hilton 2018). They can revisit the OER as graduate teachers to get ideas for activities and the OER remains a shareable resource for other pre- and in-service teachers.

Following best practice principles for creating OER, these activities have been peer-reviewed by senior secondary History educators. As our Deakin students are largely located in Victoria, the majority of these activities connect with the VCE History Study Design (VCAA, 2020). However, they are easily adapted to other curricular contexts and the structure of the activities may also be ‘mixed and matched’ with content relating to other historical contexts. Owing to the book’s CC BY-NC-4.0 licence, these activities may be remixed, adapted, and built upon for non-commercial purposes, as long as the author of the activity is credited. The students have also taken care to attribute the materials and sources they have drawn upon to create these activities, including the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (2022) very helpful advice for teachers.

As this is the inaugural OER for this unit, I am grateful to the support of my Deakin colleagues and particularly the willingness of this terrific bunch of pre-service teachers to embrace this innovation. I wish them all the best as our future history educators!


Introduction: Pre-service teachers

Nicolette Arranga and Nicholas Reynolds

In the spirit of reconciliation, we would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We would like to further Acknowledge the Bunurong and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, whose land we work, study, and reside on. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging and extend this respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. Indigenous people have a continual legacy of sharing history through storytelling. We are proud to continue this tradition.

This year the first EHI702 history assignment took a new direction by aiming to create a renewable assessment task that enabled us to utilise our own skills and those of our colleagues. As freely accessible and adaptable resources, creating an OER was a great opportunity to develop our emergent teacher identities, progress our teaching expertise and interact with the prescribed curriculum in order to develop meaningful classroom skills. This included the use of copyright compliant and public domain materials, assisting in the development of our capabilities and allowing us to model compliance as best practice for future students. Further, the use of images and other digital formats allowed us to explore a range of resources which can be utilised to meet diverse learner needs.

Navigating the curriculum can be overwhelming as a graduate teacher given that the history curriculum is home to a substantial amount content. This can make it daunting to create innovative activities and take risks as an educator. However, this assessment provided us the opportunity to get to know the content and demystify the process by purposefully drawing out key skills and knowledge. Developing students’ historical thinking skills is pivotal to the pursuit of historical inquiry.

The collegiality of Open Educational Resources can enhance student learning and remove pressure from educators. This fantastic opportunity developed our practical teaching skills and engaging us as members of a broader learning community. By developing the activity with the knowledge it would go towards a wider educational project, we established an awareness of our place as community members with valuable insights and pedagogical skills. This awareness also evaluated our work in a cycle of critical praxis as we reflected on its relevance outside the narrowed scope of a university project.

This was ultimately an invaluable experience, and we are greatly appreciative of the opportunity to have been involved.




Wiley, D. & Hilton, J. (2018) Defining OER-enabled pedagogy. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(4) 134-146.

VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) (n.d.) Teaching and Learning Activities, accessed 23 September 2022.

VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) (2020) VCE History Study Design, VCAA, accessed 23 September 2022.




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