📝 Historian Briefing Notes

These notes will help you get the most out of your experience with I’m History, Get me out of here.
Any questions, or issues not covered, please email support@imaresearcher.uk

Top tips

Fit the activity around your schedule

There is no minimum time commitment required for this outreach activity. Complete your profile, take part in live Chats whenever you can and answer follow-up questions when it suits you. It can also be useful to get your colleagues and boss onboard as most live Chats will be during working hours.

Be friendly and yourself

Be yourself in your answers. You don’t have to pretend to like Lizzo/Charli D’Amelio/MrBeast for young people to relate to you – being genuine is more important. Try to be open and personable from the start. You will get a range of questions – from the Zone theme to your favourite cereal. Some questions may be outside of your area of expertise. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’; this will help students see that experts aren’t all knowing-geniuses.

This is not a seminar for super smart students

There will be a wide variety of students taking part, meaning a wide variety of ages and abilities. Some will be ‘gifted and talented’ students, some will be lower ability classes, or have additional educational needs. The point of the activity is to provide a space that engages all students. Keep your language simple and avoid using technical words.

Don’t “identity”; “find”. Don’t “utilise”; “use”. Don’t “investigate”; “look at”.


I’m History, Get me out of here is an outreach activity giving school students the chance to get to know lesser-known historical figures . We focus on engaging students from different backgrounds and schools, with a focus on underserved schools and disadvantaged students.

The activity gets young people talking to historians, to learn about figures from the past. Students have fun but also get a well-informed and fuller understanding of history and learn how history relates to present day. Taking part will also help develop their critical questioning and thinking skills, as well as discussion skills.

The Chat-based platform of I’m History gives each student an equal voice and allows them to have an experience valuable to them.

You also get to find out the students’ opinions on history and society and get them thinking about how this affects their lives. All you need to take part is a computer with an internet connection.

There are 3 parts to I’m History

You will use this site to connect with a wide range of young people (typically aged 9 to 18) at schools across the UK.
There are 3 parts to the site:

  1. The profile, where students get an insight into who the historical figure was.
  2. You Chat with students online in live, fast-paced, text-based Chats.
  3. Students Ask follow-up questions which you can answer at a time that suits you but the sooner the better.

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Log in and get started

You should have received your username and login instructions by email. If you have not received these, please get in touch with us.

The first time you take part, you will need to create a password to set up your account.

Once you’ve logged in, you will be taken to your dashboard. This is where you can see upcoming Chat bookings and your Unanswered Questions. You can also edit your profile.

To return to the dashboard, either click on the dashboard in the menu bar or on your name in the top right-hand corner.

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Your Profile

Your profile is designed to give students and teachers an overview of the historical figure you’re championing. It includes pictures, information about the historical figure and how they influenced Britain today. There is also a small section about you.

Please make sure to complete the sections about the historical figure you’re championing in the third person. We want to make sure the students know they’re talking to a historian about the historical figure, rather than an actor or the figure themselves.

It’s really helpful if you fill in your profile as soon as possible. We estimate it will take around 60 minutes to complete.

To edit your profile: log in and go to your Dashboard. Click Edit your profile.

Writing the profile

Feel free to add as many pictures as you like to your profile – under ‘Your photos’. Images are very accessible to students with lower literacy, and quickly give some physical context. Show the students the places that the historical figure might’ve lived and worked or what people around them might’ve looked like.

You can also embed videos. Please note some schools’ will block YouTube and many other video hosting sites. This isn’t necessarily a reason to avoid videos, as they can be very effective, but don’t make understanding your profile dependent on viewing a video, as it will leave out some students.

For some questions you’ll be asked for a short summary (e.g. Biography (short)), and a longer version. The short versions are always displayed for students. The longer versions are displayed if students click ‘read more’. This is for accessibility: testing showed this makes it much easier for students with lower literacy to read profiles, whilst allowing students with a higher literacy to access more detailed answers. It’s also important to remember that students could be aged between 9 and 18.

Note on social media accounts: Please do not add links to personal social media accounts (e.g. Twitter handles, Instagram). This helps keep the school students’ interactions with you during the activity in a fully moderated space, i.e. this website.

To edit your profile, log in and click Edit your profile on your dashboard.
Tip: When filling out your profile remember to save regularly by clicking Update Profile at the bottom of the page.

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Live Chats

Throughout the Zone, teachers can book live Chats for their classes. These will typically be during school hours, i.e. 9am to 3pm.

Live Chats are consistently the most popular part of the activity for students, teachers and participants (like you!). They are text-only, instant messaging-style interactions, typically lasting 40 minutes.
There will always be a member of our moderation team present to ensure live Chats run smoothly.

Teachers tell us that due to the text-only nature of the Chats, quieter students are more active than they would be in a face-to-face interaction, providing an interesting change to class dynamics.

Managing Chat bookings

Check your dashboard regularly to see upcoming live Chat bookings that teachers have made.
‘✔ Accept’ a booking to let students and teachers know that you’re attending.
‘X Reject’ a booking if you can’t make it. If you become available later you can always change your mind, or join a Chat spontaneously on the day. Any Chats you can see on your dashboard have space for more historians.

You can accept a maximum of 10 Chat bookings at a time. Once you’ve taken part in some, you can accept more again.

Unfortunately, sometimes a Chat gets cancelled. If a teacher has had to cancel a Chat it will disappear from your ‘Accepted Chat bookings’ view.

Tips for taking part in live Chats

  • Keep it simple: de-technify your language, don’t worry about spelling mistakes and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Chat. Try to answer the question on the level it was asked as you’ll be chatting with a range of ages.
  • Keep track of questions and replies: Chats can be fast paced. Make sure to hit reply to a students’ question. Look out for the number indicator next to students’ names to see how many replies the student has had. Click Show Messages in the top-right corner to see questions directed at you.
  • Go with the flow: Be aware that young people’s turn of phrase and use of language is different. Try to understand what they’re asking and don’t take offence at blunt questions. Some questions will be personal but answer them as best you can -it will allow students to connect with you.

If you have any issues, let your Chat moderator know or contact us.

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Answering Follow-up questions

We will notify you by email when new follow-up questions are asked. You can answer them in your own time, but the sooner the better.

Answer questions by logging in and going to My Unanswered Questions on your dashboard.
Some questions will be asked to all the historians in the Zone, others may be specifically for you.

Try to answer the questions honestly, straightforwardly and use clear plain English.

You will also be able to view other historians’ answers. You can answer other people’s questions too if you like! It is up to you which questions to answer and how much detail to go into.


Moderation of questions: Our policy

All follow-up questions sent in the Ask section are moderated by our team before they are sent to you. The moderators aim to strike a balance between making your lives easier as participants, and giving students the chance to ask the questions they want answered.

There will be some questions that are similar. The moderators will weed out the duplicates but will let the question through if they feel it raises different points.
Any rude or offensive questions will be removed but challenging questions will likely be allowed, as well as irreverent but friendly questions.

Remember most students taking part are aged between 9 and 18 and will be from a range of backgrounds and schools.

If there are questions you’re not sure about answering, please contact us.

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Contact us

Please let us know if you’re having any issues. You can email us at support@imaresearcher.uk.You can also connect with us on Twitter at @ImHistoryUK and with the hashtag #ImHistoryUK.

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The small print

By accepting your invitation to I’m History you are agreeing to these terms and conditions ❯We think you’ll agree with them, but it’s best to be sure, so please have a read.

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