Historiana: a new source collection on Medicine and Anatomy is now available!

EUROCLIO continuously works to improve its innovative educational platform Historiana. To do so, it has been collaborating with Europeana in the creation of source collections. The aim of this collaboration is to guarantee to teachers across all Europe the possibility to have free access to historical content, learning activities and innovative digital tools. We are now working on many new collections focusing on the Renaissance, and on how the ideas of the Renaissance fed into different disciplines (painting but also sculpture, cartography, music, literature, architecture, philosophy, and science), across different countries.

Newly available is the collection “Medicine and Anatomy” that focuses on how Anatomy and Medicine evolved as the scientific method gained prominence during the Renaissance period. This collection gives an overview of some of the key ideas that influenced medical thought, as well as of all the important thinkers of that era. The main purpose of this source collection is to give students the possibility to explore and understand the changes throughout Europe of how people perceived medicine and the human body, as well as scientific advancements. Ultimately, it helps students to pose questions about progress and declines of the Renaissance period.

Starting of cooperation with makers TV Documentary “In Europe Now”

Together with the VPRO broadcasting company and the VGN, the Dutch History Teachers Association, EUROCLIO is working on a new exciting project In Europe at School – History Caught in the Act. The project will result in an educational toolkit based on the follow-up of the VPRO series In Europe, made with Geert Mak, the author of the books on which both series are made. The new series will focus on the question what changed in Europe during the last twenty years.

As part of the project, students will make their own documentary on a topic from the series, which means they will have to do their own research on history and learn to communicate it to others. There will be lesson plans for the topics and tutorials on how to make documentaries. There are history lessons on the specific topic to show the continuity and change in, of example, migration. Furthermore there are lessons to show how to find this topic locally and how to research it in order to produce a documentary. The produced documentaries are shared with a partner school from a different country, which means that the students will see the same topic, but from an entirely different perspective.

The first meeting with VPRO’s Educational Coordinator, Odette Toeset, and the EUROCLIO authors of the lesson plan, Daniel Bernsen, Harri Beobide and Marian Heesen, took place this month at the EUROCLIO Secretariat in The Hague. The team agreed on a structure that could be used for all topics, and decided on the topics and key questions for the first two lessons. We are looking forward to work more with our partner and authors on this creative project.

The first lessons of the toolkit will be ready when the series airs in the end of 2019.

Webinar: Reading Visual History, Using Digitised History Sources to Promote Visual Literacy and Historical Thinking

EUROCLIO Project Updates, Uncategorized

In the final week of my residency at EUROCLIO, I delivered a webinar entitled Reading Visual History: Using Digitised History Sources to Promote Visual Literacy and Historical Thinking which was free for EUROCLIO members. The webinar took place on the afternoon of 13 May and was attended by participants tuning in from all over the world, some of whom were able to join us even whilst travelling home from work. We are excited about offering webinars more often as they are a convenient way to bring our membership together for professional development and discussion and this session formed a first step in this direction.

Visual Literacy

We began by discussing the importance of visual literacy and some general principles for analysing visual sources in the history classroom. According to Bristor and Drake, “visual literacy is a person’s ability to understand, interpret and evaluate visual messages, and in turn to use visual language to communicate with others.” While we all have some level of visual literacy, it is important that students develop the skills to critically engage with visual sources in their daily lives and in order to improve their historical thinking skills. Visual literacy can aid the development of skills like using sources, contextualising, and taking historical perspectives. It can also spark student interest and provide an alternative way to increase substantive historical knowledge in what is often a text-heavy subject area. Some of the general principles for supporting students to enhance their visual literacy skills include:

  • Work from the surface to the depths
    • Begin with what stands out in an image and then ‘read’ in greater detail, asking questions of the image along the way. Consider how factors like position, colour, shape, symbols, etc. serve to attract the viewer’s attention and communicate messages.
  • Describe and interpret
    • Ensure students are making clear links between exactly what they see in the image and what they interpret this to mean. This helps to avoid false assumptions, encourages students to always justify their interpretations and assists them in identifying how ideas and messages are communicated in visual sources.
  • Consider different perspectives
    • There are three important categories of perspective to consider when working with historical visual sources: the perspective of the creator, the perspective of the contemporary viewer, and the perspective of the present-day viewer.
  • Using contextual knowledge and captions
    • Contextual knowledge from both your teaching and image captions can support students to make sense of the image and identify the perspectives above. In some cases, it can be useful to withhold these until later in the analysis process in order to encourage more open ‘reading’ or to demonstrate the importance of context.

Using Digital Sources and Online Activities

The second half of the session focused on the use of online learning activities to promote both visual literacy and historical thinking skills. The example activities presented showed how digital sources, coming from Europeana Collections and curated for educators on our own Historiana website, can be used in different ways in the classroom. They were created using the eLearning Activity Builder with a focus on the ‘Analysing’ and ‘Sorting’ tools.

An activity using the Posters from Communist China source collection promoted deep reading of propaganda posters in order to understand the type of society the Chinese Communist Party hoped to create. The image above is an example of one of these posters, and you can see it is a rich source of messages about the ideal Chinese Communist society. The second activity, using The Visual Front source collection of official WWI photography, asked students to analyse and evaluate the strategies used in this photography to make the lives of soldiers look appealing. In presenting these activities, we discussed the advantages of online learning activities and some possible ways to integrate this into the workflow of the classroom.

Webinars

The webinar software allowed participants to share video and audio and therefore engage in real discussion throughout the session. This was a great way for us to connect and collaborate. EUROCLIO is keen to make webinars a regular feature for members so keep an eye out for information on upcoming sessions.

References:

Bristor, Valerie J., Drake, Suzanne V. ‘Linking the Language Arts and Content Areas through Visual Technology.’ T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education) vol 22, no. 2., https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-16175245/linking-the-language-arts-and-content-areas-through.

Bridget Martin, EUROCLIO

Football Makes History* : Addressing the Inclusion of National Minorities

Agustin De Julio Project Updates

From the 2nd to the 5th of May, the 2rd Short-Term Staff Training for the Football Makes History project took place in Bucharest, Romania. The Training was organised by the Romanian Football Federation, one of the partners in the Project.

28 enthusiastic developers from all over Europe met in the capital city of Romania for this meeting, which focused on the inclusion of national minorities, both in football and in public life in general. Presentations on this topic, which is of high relevance within the Romanian context, were given by the Florin Sari, CSR Manager of the Romanian Football Federation, and by Ms. Lacziko Eniko Katalin, State Secretary for Interethnic Minorities.

During the meeting, developers presented the topics that they would like to touch upon in the educational material they are creating to each other (such as how to use football and football teams to teach the concept of border, on to promote the integration of refugees). Then, guided by EUROCLIO and the consortium partners, they dived into their materials, further structuring the activities and defining future steps to be taken.

Materials will continue to be developed during the summer, also by means of piloting throughout Europe. The Consortium and Developers will meet again at the beginning of November 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany, hosted by the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum.

In the coming weeks, we will publish a complete report on the Bucharest Short Term Staff Training: Stay Tuned to know more about the event and its results!

Read here the public report for the Bucharest Short-Term Staff Training.

* Project implemented with the financial support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union as part of the initiative “Football History for Inclusion – Innovative collaborations of school education and youth through the prism of local football history for social inclusion and diversity”.

Football Makes History*: Third Transnational Project Meeting in Bucharest

Agustin De Julio Project Updates

The 3rd Transnational Project Meeting for the Football Makes History project took place in Bucharest, Romania on the 6th of May 2019.

The partner organisations: Anne Frank House, EUROCLIO, Eintracht Frankfurt Museum, Evenzo Consultancy, Fare Network and the Romanian Football Federation, met in order to discuss the development of the project and further develop the strategy to successfully bring the project to fruition.

An evaluation of the Short-Term Staff training that took place from the 2nd -5th of May in Bucharest was performed, and specific intellectual outcomes of the project were discussed. Among them, the results of the survey for the Needs Assessment were analysed, the design of the Policy Recommendations was presented and the tentative design of the Public Awareness Campaigns were addressed.

This meeting will be followed up during the next Transnational Project Meeting, which will take place in Frankfurt am Main, during the 8th and 9th of October, in preparation for the subsequent Short-Term Staff Training, taking place in early November 2019 in Frankfurt.

* Project implemented with the financial support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union as part of the initiative “Football History for Inclusion – Innovative collaborations of school education and youth through the prism of local football history for social inclusion and diversity.

What do teachers have to say on debating controversial subjects in the classroom?



In the early stage of the Learning to Disagree project, Georg Eckert Institute researchers performed a needs assessment, to collect the opinions and input from educators on the issue of debate, dialogue, and discussion in the classroom. Six focus group discussions were held, involving 25 participants from 23 European countries. Based on the data collected, a survey was developed, which gathered information from 117 respondents.

A number of findings were made based on the data collected. Firstly, the inquiry identified a working definition of contested issues, which refer mostly to disputes based on competing, often irreconcilable values. Contested issues were mostly found in recent history, and were often of a national rather than international character. Concrete examples of contested issues teachers deal with in the classroom are both World Wars, Fascism, Communism, the Cold War, and migration, among others.

Participants of the focus groups and respondents from the survey identified dialogue, discussions and debates as tools of paramount importance in order to encourage students to deal with multiple perspectives on contested issues. The ability of educators to implement these tools is often hindered by factors such as a lack of resources representing different viewpoints, the duty of neutrality of educators, ingrained nationalism in society, and political pressure by authorities.

From the data collected, three main teaching approaches to contested issues were identified: the critical thinking, the “battling” stereotypes and the creation of empathy approaches. The critical thinking approach is based on critical assessment of sources taken from a variety of perspectives, underlining how different societal groups experienced the same events differently, and encouraging an understanding of history as a complex, multi-perspective discipline. Secondly, the “battling” stereotypes engages students directly on biases they may have. Students are confronted with the historical wrongdoings of their own social groups, and challenged on their potential lack of knowledge on minorities and other perspectives. Lastly, the creating empathy approach attempts emotionally engage students in order to prompt feelings of genuine interest and care, which will aid the creation of empathy in the classroom.

These findings identified in the Preliminary Needs Assessment will inform the creation of material for the next intellectual outputs of the Learning to Disagree project, such as the exemplar content the teacher’s guides, the training package and, eventually, the recommendations to policymakers.



“Sharing European Histories” Kicks-Off in Gdansk

From April 5-7, the Kick-off meeting for the Sharing European Histories Project was held in parallel to the Annual Conference in Gdansk. EUROCLIO partnered with the Evens Foundation on this project because both organizations believe that opening up a space to engage with the dissonant and often conflicting nature of European history is the first step in discovering common positions or overcoming divisions while acknowledging existing differences. On behalf of the Evens Foundation, Chairwoman Monique Canto-Sperber welcomed participants to the conference during the opening cermony, introducing the Sharing European Histories project.

The Sharing European Histories Project aims to inspire and support history educators across Europe since we find that history educators are uniquely positioned to engage young people in confronting the dominant national narratives of history to overcome the divisions between nations and cultures.Back in September 2018 EUROCLIO and Evens Foundation put out a call for applicants; from over 70 applications received, two project partner organizations and five individual contributors were selected to join the Sharing European Histories project team. Rounding out the project team are two teacher trainers, Richard Kennett and Iryna Kostyuk, who will work with the individual contributors to help them develop their projects.

During the kick-off meeting all the team members had an opportunity to introduce their project ideas. Individual contributor, Helen Snelson, from the UK, shared her proposal for an oral history collection on how people around Europe experienced the end of cold war. Gentian Dedja, from Albania, proposed a practice that explores local historical heroes in cross border contexts to demonstrate how historical figures can surpass national prejudices. Elisabete Pereira, from Portugal, proposed a study of the hidden history of objects that explores the life cycle of their development and circulation around Europe and the globe. Presented in workshop at the Annual Conference, Juan Carlos Ocana, from Spain shared his proposal for actives that help history and citizenship educators confront the complex issues of Jihadist terrorism and the rise of the radical right in Europe in their classroom. In another workshop Joanna Wojdon, from Poland, demonstrated her proposed resource which explores how the historical thinking concept of continuity and change in historical events and processes changes perception depending on different perspectives.

Our project partners also shared their proposed projects with conference members during the Marketplace of Ideas. Sonja de Leeuw from EUscreen in partnership with Maja Drabczyk from National Film Archive-Audio Visual Institute, Poland (FINA) and Karolina Dziełak from the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS), shared their project proposal to develop interactive learning activates which explore migration in Europe using EUscreen’s large collection of digitized audio-visual sources. From the Croatian History Teacher’s Association (HUNP), Vedran Ristic shared the proposal for a project to investigate local material heritage and the personal stories connected to these materials from a contemporary global perspective.

The team decided that the individual contributors will spend the next year working with the teacher trainers to create a set of unified teaching strategies that form the basis of their proposed projects. These strategies will be peer-reviews and published on Historiana so teachers from across the globe can use them to teach history in a way that respects diversity, counters nationalist narratives, and promotes a critical enquiry about the past. Additionally, the individual contributors and project partners will be sharing the outcome of their proposed projects next year at the EUROCLIO Annual Conference 2020 in Serbia. Keep an eye out for further updates on this exciting project!

EUROCLIO and Partners Continue to “Open Up Historiana”



EUROCLIO and Europeana continuously work to improve its innovative educational platform Historiana. At the moment we have several projects contributing to these improvements, including the Opening Up Historiana project. This project aims to include a wider range of developers and partners in the web development of the platform, in addition to EUROCLIO and Webtic. At the same time we are opening up to our community of educators to involve practitioners in the decisions we make for changes and additions to the site. In that framework, we organised a feedback session on new ideas for the Historiana eActivity Builder. The session took place on Sunday 7th of April, 2019 as part of the EUROCLIO Annual Conference in Gdansk, Poland with 38 participants.

Ideas for the Historiana eActivity Builder

Teacher in residence Bridget Martin presented three concepts for future possible tools for the eActivity Builder on the Historiana website in sketch form and collected feedback for each of these individually. The concepts were as follows:

  • The Annotating Tool which would enable the annotation of visual sources. This would enable students to add an annotation in the shape and colour of their choice in which they could type text according to teacher instructions. The tool would allow for the analysis of a single source or the comparison of multiple sources.
  • The Highlighting Tool which would enable the annotation of textual sources. This tool would allow teachers to add textual sources of their choosing with which students could interact. Students would be able to highlight sections of the text in different colours and add written annotations which would appear like ‘post-it’ notes beside the text.
  • Support Buttons which would appear within each activity block (such as Annotating, Highlighting, Sorting, Prioritising) and allow teachers to provide instructions which students can access without losing sight of their workspace. These three buttons would allow teachers to add contextual information, instructions and questions for students to respond to.

Feedback

The majority the participants to this session were not very familiar with the eActivity Builder, most indicating they had ‘never seen’ or only ‘generally seen’ the tool with just a few having gone into the builder in the past. Respondents were very positive about the usefulness of the proposed tools, particularly the Annotating Tool which the majority indicated they would use in their teaching. Teachers expressed a further desire to have the possibility of comparing and annotating visual and textual sources within one activity. Teachers also suggested the creation of a function which would allow students to collaboratively annotate and respond in activities.

What is next?

The project partners met in the margins of the annual conference to first prepare, and later discuss the feedback collected. They agreed the collected inputs will be taken on board in the next steps of the project. The proposed new tools will be sketched in more detail, and will be part of an open call for web developers that will be send out in April to find external web developers to create these tools. At the same time, we plan to have regular (online) feedback sessions to gather further inputs on the desirability and usefulness of the proposed developments. If you are interested to join us, please send an email to the project manager Judith Geerling (judith@euroclio.eu) and we will make sure you receive updates and invitations for feedback sessions.



Workshop: Using Photographic Sources and Online Tools to Promote Historical Thinking

Agustin De Julio Project Updates

By Bridget Martin, History Teacher in Residence

As part of my residency at EUROCLIO, I attended the Annual Conference in Gdansk, Poland, where I presented a workshop entitled Photographic Sources: Bringing History to Life? : Using online tools to promote historical thinking. The workshop took place on the 7th of April and was attended by over 20 participants from all around the globe. The focus of the workshop was on the use of the Historiana website which provides teachers with a wealth of historical content, teaching and learning activities as well as a tool with which to build their own online activities for students.

Historical Content Available on Historiana

We began with an explanation of the Historiana website, an invaluable resource produced by, with and for history teachers which is freely available to all. In the area of Historical Content, Historiana provides teachers with a variety of resources:

  • Comprehensive sets of content, sources and learning activities connected to ‘key moments’ such as WWI, WWII and the Cold War
  • Thematic units such as ‘Changing Europe’ or ‘Silencing Citizens through Censorship’, and
  • Numerous source collections curated by EUROCLIO staff, trainees and volunteers.

Many of the sources used are drawn from our partner, Europeana, an online portal which provides access to over 50 million digitised sources from thousands of European archives, libraries, museums and audio-visual collections as well as their own online collections and galleries.

For this workshop, we concentrated on The Visual Front source collection which provides many examples of official war photographs from various nations, all taken during the First World War. These sources were collected from the Imperial War Museums and, like all source collections on the Historiana website, assembled with contextual notes for use by teachers in the classroom.

Analysing Photographs

The Visual Front source collection highlights the nature of official photography and its tendency to emphasise and deemphasise aspects of the war, often staging photographs for propagandistic purposes. This collection provided the perfect springboard for discussions of how to support students to question the assumption that photographs always capture things as they really were and encourage them to critically analyse photographs in the same way they would any other historical source. Participants took part in a rich discussion about the types of questions they would ask students to consider when presented with one of the photographs from the collection.

We also discussed the questions suggested by Cory Callahan who has drawn upon research by Sam Wineburg in which he identified three heuristics used by expert historians when reading textual sources: sourcing, contextualising and corroborating. Callahan suggests that when analysing photographs we could invite students to ask questions in the same areas, such as:

eLearning Activity Builder on Historiana

The second half of the workshop allowed participants to observe and test out Historiana’s eLearning Activity Builder. This tool allows teachers to create their own online learning activities to promote historical thinking using Historiana source collections as well as their own resources. Using different building blocks, teachers can:

  • provide instructions
  • create activities where students annotate, sort or prioritise sources
  • ask questions, and
  • receive student responses.

After looking at a few examples, participants worked in groups to create their own eLearning Activity focusing on the usefulness of photographic sources from The Visual Front collection. These activities were presented at the end of the session and ranged from tasks for assessing how realistic the photographs were, to those centred on considering the impact of the photographs as well as those which explored the representation of women and their roles in the collection. The range of activities developed in this short space of time provides an excellent example of the vast variety of activities that teachers can develop with this tool for use within their specific teaching contexts.

References

Cory Callahan. ‘Analyzing Historical Photographs to Promote Civic Competence.’ Social Studies Research and Practice 8, no. 1 (2013): 77-88.

Sam Wineburg. ‘Historical Problem Solving: A Study of the Cognitive Processes Used in the Evaluation of Documentary and Pictorial Evidence.’ Journal of Educational Psychology 83: 73-87.





Teacher Training Workshop on Representations of Women at Work in Groningen

This post has been written by Marissa Young, trainee at EUROCLIO.

On 11 March EUROCLIO provided a teacher training workshop at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands on “Women at Work: Analyzing and comparing visual sources from the Europeana Collections.”

The hour long workshop focused on demonstrating to participants how Europeana source collections on Historiana—specifically the Women Working source collection—could be used in the Historiana eActivity Builder to help students critically analyze visual sources. The workshop was generously hosted by Dr. Tim Huijgen, professor of History education at the University of Groningen. Participants were trainee teachers enrolled in master’s level education studies at the University of Groningen and all were working part-time as history teachers at local schools.

The workshop began with an introduction by Steven Stegers (EUROCLIO), who shared background information on Europeana and Historiana with the participants. He introduced the trainee teachers to the basic functions of Historiana.

Following Steven, I led an exploration on using the “Women Working” source collection.  The source collection was built as an eLearning Activity to help guide students’ analytical and critical viewing skills to help answer historical enquiry questions.  Such as, “what can representations of washerwomen tell us about how this profession was viewed by the rest of society?” or “How do representations of women medical practitioners differ between cultures?”

Why Women Working?

When asked to create a Europeana source collection for this workshop, I was inspired to focus on representations of women for two reasons. One, a personal interest in women’s history and two, due to the relevance of March as Women’s history month.

As I browsed through Europeana looking for visual sources of women I was struck by the number of sources showing women washing clothes, grinding grain, weaving cloth, hulling coal, healing others, and producing goods all across different cultures. These images offered a different interpretation of women workers than the now popular celebration of women entering the workforce as a result of wartime labor shortages. These images showed that women throughout history, and across cultures, had a more diverse profile of work than often acknowledged.

While curating this collection, my criteria for selecting sources was that they had to show women actively engaged in doing work, and that the work was not dependent upon a grand moment in history.  Resulting images show the everyday experiences of women.

What caught my attention, when looking at the complete collection, was that women’s work usually had social component represented. Women did their work with others, mostly other women. In many of these sources there is a sense of community, collaboration or assistance among the women. Does this social element represent the actual conditions of women’s work? Or do these sources serve to further the stereotype that women are the social gender?

There is much to explore in this collection, which is why we felt it would make for an interesting workshop on analyzing and comparing sources.

Analyzing representation in visual sources

During the workshop I reviewed the concept of representation with the participants. Representation is the production of meaning of concepts within a culture.  One participant gave the example that teachers are usually represented as standing in front of a board, wearing glasses, and probably holding an apple. When we see the board, glasses and apple and we recognize this person represents a teacher.

Representation is a process we constantly engage in, yet do not t usually stop to consider. However, taking the time to contemplate representation in an image can help students learn how to analyze and discuss visual sources critically. A great tool for teaching students to view sources critically is the Analyze tool in the eActivity Builder.

As we demonstrated during the workshop, you can use the Analyze tool to have students annotate visual sources to help them articulate the process of visual source analysis. A good annotation of a visual source has two components: a description and a meaning. For example:

The tree is arched over and all the leaves are pointing in one direction (description) which indicates this landscape is windy (meaning).

Participants were asked to assume the role of students and make at least three annotations on three images of washerwomen using the annotate feature in the eLearning Activity. Participants discovered how this simple tool can be used to help structure students’ process of visual source analysis and prepare them to answer historical enquiry questions with reasonable and justified evidence.