In Europe Schools: What do teachers and students say?

Eugenie Khatschatrian EUROCLIO, Project Updates , ,

In 2019, EuroClio joined forces with Dutch public broadcaster VPRO for the development of an online exchange project for European schools - In Europe Schools. Inspired by the VPRO television series In Europe - History Caught in the Act on modern European history, EuroCio and VPRO, alongside a team of authors, created four Education Kits on Difficult History, Migration, Climate Change and Gender Equality. Part of the online exchange programme are documentaries made by students on their local histories, which they share and discuss with their peers from the partner schools. Students engage in research on their local histories and are supported by various Tutorials on Filming, Editing, Research, and Interviewing, in which the makers of In Europe - History Caught in the Act share their tips and tricks for making good documentaries.

Following a piloting phase in Spring this year, nearly 100 schools have just started a new round of In Europe Schools. EuroClio has taken a moment to reflect on the project with two teachers who successfully completed the piloting phase and are currently participating in the new round. and Anila Beshaj from Albania and Cristina Gila from Romania took a moment to share their experiences with the project.

What prompted your participation in the project? 

An image from Starter clip Migration

For Anila, who worked on the topic of Migration, the making of the documentary was a specifically appealing aspect of the exchange project . Cristina, who worked on Difficult History,  found out about the project during the 2019 EuroClio Annual Conference held in Gdansk, where In Europe Schools was presented. The collaborative aspect of documentary making and the exchange of ideas was  of particular interest to Cristina.

Anila: The idea of making a short documentary was rather captivating. It was also instructive as the students (and I together with them) had to go through different phases (research on the subject, creation of some kind of script, carry out the filming), which was at the same time challenging, but also very interesting from the student/teacher point of view.

Cristina: I found the idea of involving students in a collaborative European project interesting. Young people exchange ideas, document themselves and carry out their own research. Also, the fact that the students assume different roles: interviewer, director, cameraman, to create a documentary seemed a challenge to me. We felt that learning through the project in history classes has a strong impact on the future training for the lives of young people.

How did your students experience documentary-making as a part of their history classes? 

Anila: The making of the documentary was an interesting experience for the students. They had to combine socio-historical research and art which, in itself, was a new thing to them. They were very involved at a personal level and tried to find and use personal connections that might be of help in the making of the documentary. They were delighted when they saw the final product of their work.

Cristina: The project started in January 2020, so we had time to go through the materials, analyze and decide on the documentaries that we will make. By March, one of our documentaries was already finished.  The students experienced documentary making by collaborating in different teams and working together on creating our final product. The video editors got to learn the different techniques in video editing, while the writers and researchers got to discover the stories of the people they interviewed for the topic. The participation in the project, for some students, was a chance to assert themselves, to come out of anonymity and to prove their personal talent or their passions (film editor, writer). Although they were enthusiastic at first, after some time a part of them withdrew as it took a lot of work and involvement. Those who retired were replaced by other school classmates, curious and attracted by the idea of making a documentary on a historical theme. Involvement in the project, documenting, creating interviews, filming and editing films were moments of learning, but also moments of relaxation for students - they appreciated the stimulating and collaborative way of working. 

How did you experience the outbreak of Covid-19 and how did this affect the project at your school? 

As the piloting phase of the project took place in the beginning of this year, the participating schools faced different challenges related to the global outbreak of Covid-19. 

Anila: The Covid-19 experience was a unique one, as for almost everybody worldwide. The physical separation (due to the school closure) made the communication more difficult but they were able to fully use the technology to stay in touch, continue their work and get the final product ready on time. I believe that the difficulties helped, in a sense, making them more organized and attentive towards the challenges.

Cristina: Our school continued its teaching activities online. The second documentary was not fully completed, although it was in progress and the third documentary was never made. The students were not prepared for the activities at a distance, and this affected us all.

How did you experience the contact with your partner school? 

Project participants are matched to another school in Europe for the exchange of documentaries. Right from the very beginning of the project, the pairs are introduced to each other and advised to get to know each other (and their students) as soon as possible. After the first introduction, both schools continue working on the project separately, and exchange their documentaries online, following a final moment of contact for reflection: How is the same topic approached from different perspectives? For most schools participating, contacting the partner school remained to be a challenge due to local lockdowns and restrictions. 

Anila: I would say that the contact was rather superficial, just a few email exchanges - the pandemic weighed also on this situation.  

Cristina: Since the beginning of the project we have cooperated with our Dutch partner, from Zeven Linden College, Linda. Linda created a common space in Google Drive, where we uploaded our students' materials: their presentations. We conducted a Skype meeting, where our students were able to exchange ideas and opinions with our partners. 

What was the most challenging part of the project overall?

Anila: All the phases had their own difficulties. Of course, the film-making was a novelty for them and it took an important part of the preparation time. The research was, also, I would not say challenging but time consuming as they looked at a lot of materials and talked to different people in order to get a clear picture of the facts dealing with the documentary subject. 

Cristina: The most challenging part of the project was the lack of equipment (as in good cameras, different lights and semi-professional software) that could've made the workflow so much easier. Our experience last year was really fun. We got to experience video editing  and filmmaking for the first time, all while learning about our past.  

Student Perspectives 

Two of Cristina’s students were happy to share their own experience working on the project. Octavian (17 years old), worked together with his classmates on the history of Communism in the Romanian context and interviewed his grandparents. For Rares (15 years old), the project contributed to his personal development as he very enjoyed working together within a team. 

An image of the video Cristina's students made on the history of communism in Romania

Octavian: For me, this project represented a beneficial experience because I had the opportunity to work with some of my classmates. Also, I documented and I learned a lot of interesting things about life and about the priorities people had during Communism. I started my project activity by writing information that my grandparents told me about the Communist period. Moreover, the most important events from that time have happened during their youth. Also, I studied some materials with my teammates and we cooperated with Dutch students. I’m so proud of the effort I put in to achieve the desired goal and I'm glad I took part in this project!  

Rares: This project was my first experience working in a strong team that overcame all the difficulties.  I realized that I have managed to climb a new level in my personal development. I learned a lot with my fellow classmates, did the interviews and did the subtitles. The refusal of the elderly to answer our questions and to remember a painful history for the majority of the population was a challenge though. However, I am proud that the work done has paid off and our film has been appreciated at the European level. 

Understanding History & Media Literacy  

The overall aim of In Europe Schools is to contribute to the teaching and learning of modern European history from a transnational perspective, creating an (online) international working and learning environment for both teachers and students. One of the main learning objectives in this regard,  focuses on the development of skills related to media literacy. In this case, media literacy is not merely the making of the documentary in terms of filming and editing, but perhaps even more so in doing research and reflecting on each others’ work. Conducting research on their local histories, students make use of different media (mostly on the Internet) and are challenged to critically reflect on the sources they use. 

To see how the project has impacted students’ understanding of history and media literacy, the VPRO conducted a survey among the participating schools following the piloting phase. For most students, completing the project has resulted in an increased awareness and understanding of how history and the media framing of history can influence opinions. Even more so, 80% of the students indicated that their own views have been affected by the project and the documentaries they have made. Some of them state that, ‘’I better understand why migrants are fleeing from their home countries’’ or, ‘’I can see now that a lot of parts of European history have never been told (...)’’.  The educational materials encouraged students to think about issues like: What makes a source reliable? How does fact-checking work? How does recent (difficult) history impact one’s own views and opinions? What role does the media play in forming views and opinions? In Europe Schools seems to have helped students on their way in exploring such questions and challenges. 

Would you like to find out more about the project or participate with your students? Visit the website or the project page and have a look at the In Europe Schools YouTube Channel for all the documentaries, Starter Clips and Tutorials. For questions or more information, please contact us via eugenie@euroclio.eu

New Contested Histories research collaboration sparks a call for more

Grace Sahota Project Updates

This article was triggered by a new collaboration between the Contested Histories Initiative and students in ‘Narratives of the Past’ from France. Contested Histories is a multi-year project designed to identify principles, processes and best practices for addressing these contestations at the community or municipal level and in the classroom. As of September 2020, the project has identified more than 200 cases around the world with research conducted on more than 120 cases. Each case is catalogued in a database and added to a digital map. The long-term goal is to complete in-depth research on each case for review by experts, and create an online platform as a resource for a wide range of stakeholders.

Without research trainees and interns this feat would not be possible; collaborations with bright, motivated and dedicated students are the heart of the project. Research trainees come to the project from EuroClio’s traineeship programme, while research interns join us from associated universities. In addition, we welcome select independent researchers as interns and professional volunteers. 

Which research organisations are involved? 

Contested Histories (CH) is associated with a number of higher education institutions, namely Harvard University, University of Oxford and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Since 2017, more than 70 students--local and international--have taken on a research internship with CH and in doing so have made valuable contributions to the project. In December, we are welcoming an additional 22 students from the University of Oxford. This collaboration is integral to our project. Thanks to these engaged and bright young scholars, the project has grown enormously and has benefited from the various perspectives they bring. The diverse academic and personal backgrounds of research interns, as well as their language capabilities, are invaluable to our multidimensional and interdisciplinary approach to case study research and global mapping of cases. 

What are our researchers working on? 

Interns and the Contested Histories team participate in peer-review of completed cases, revising and updating where necessary, before a case is flagged for extended research and external review by experts in the given field. Several case studies have been published on EuroClio’s website. Launching the series of in-depth case studies in Spring 2020 was the Legacy of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford, written by Lucas Tse. At the time of writing, Lucas, a Rhodes scholar, was pursuing a Master's of Philosophy in Economic and Social History at the University of Oxford and is currently reading for a Doctorate in the same subject, also at Oxford. Additionally, the Legacy of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore, written by Wan Yii Lee, was published in Summer 2020. Wan Yii Lee is a candidate for the Master's of Philosophy in Development at the University of Oxford. Since completing her research internship with Contested Histories, she has been combing through archives and tracking local building histories in Singapore for her thesis on the politics of the built environment during the development of the nation-state. She's excited to start the second and final year of the MPhil soon, during which she will be taking more courses on development economics and the politics of global health in Africa. Most recently, the case study on a Statue of Robert Towns in Queensland, Australia by Sebastian Rees, a recent Master's of Philosophy graduate in Global History, has been published.

Why get involved with the project? 

Joining the team of an international organisation presents a unique opportunity for young researchers. As an intern or trainee you will become part of a passionate and international team of a fast-growing initiative and receive individual support. Not only will you have the opportunity to build up your research portfolio, CV, and network, but you will also have relative freedom to choose topics or regions that are of personal or academic interest to you,  As a global study the scope is vast, giving you the added option of exploring new interests--ranging from legacies of Japanese imperialism to toppled confederate monuments in the United States--with original research and editing tasks. Additionally, we offer an online work environment with flexible hours, ideal for gaining experience while adhering to coronavirus restrictions.  

What do the interns have to say about their experience? 

A conversation with Pierce, co-author of the upcoming case study on murals in Belfast. 

What was your favorite aspect of your research internship with Contested Histories?

My favourite aspect of the research internship with Contested Histories was the freedom and trust given to us as budding researchers to explore pressing and sensitive topics. The atmosphere was hugely supportive, resulting in case studies that will hopefully give more exposure to these struggles around the world, and, moving forward, perhaps offer a more robust and nuanced framework as to how they may be handled. 

How has your experience helped your professional development? 

The experience has been highly beneficial to my professional development. Not only has it increased my confidence in my own writing and researching abilities, I also had the pleasure of meeting a network of energetic researchers and history professionals from whom I learned a lot.

How do you feel about getting your case study published?

It’s really an honour to have a case study published, particularly one so close to home for me. I’m very pleased to share the Belfast Murals case. As with every example of Contested History, it has its own unique set of circumstances, but it also concerns issues of history, sectarianism, economics and creativity that I believe are relevant to many other cases. I owe a lot to EuroClio, the IHJR and to Luke, the contributing author, who updated the piece.

Would you recommend doing an internship with Contested Histories? If so, why?

I would absolutely recommend an internship with Contested Histories. As we can see, these issues are not going away quietly, so to feel like you are contributing in some small way to how they may be handled constructively in the future is highly rewarding. In addition, the opportunity to work with a great team in a forward-thinking and thought-provoking environment was an invaluable learning experience.

Staying involved as a professional volunteer

Some students remain dedicated to the project even after their traineeship or internship has ended and continue as professional volunteers. 

“Whether in the context of the West reckoning with its colonial past or former Soviet states reconciling antagonistic historical narratives to recover or reaffirm their own distinct identities, history has increasingly served as a flashpoint for conflict over the past three decades. I chose to continue working on Contested Histories as I believe its contribution to the field of memory and security studies is invaluable and will shape dialogue around information warfare and geopolitical conflict in years to come. The project is driven by a dedicated team of internationally-based researchers who push me to challenge assumptions, continuously learn, and refine my skill set. It goes without saying – I couldn’t ask for better colleagues.” - Katria

My research internship with IHJR solidified my professional interest in historical memory and gave me the practical experience necessary to write my undergraduate thesis and pursue research positions in the field. I returned as a professional volunteer because of the supportive team and the opportunity to raise awareness about this relevant topic.” - Miranda

The passion and energy that display is truly humbling to our organisation, we are excited to see more and more people raising awareness about the complexities and consequences of public memory. 

Interested in joining the team? 

Are you a research organisation or university looking for new opportunities?

Are you a student or recent graduate with an eye on a future in research or an independent researcher looking for a new project? 

Then Contested Histories may be the perfect project for you. 

Internship applicants must: 

  • Be in the final stages of their undergraduate degree or be enrolled in a Master’s of PhD programme with outstanding academic achievement, preferably in the area of history, international relations, or related fields
  • Proven research and academic English writing and/or editing skills
  • Fluency in English, additional language comprehension is a plus
  • Willingness to commit a minimum of 5 hours per week for at least 3 months
  • Willingness to join virtual weekly team meetings
  • Some knowledge of WordPress and database management is an asset, not a must

Submit your CV, letter of motivation and names of 2 references to info@ihjr.org. Indicate also your availability to start, desired hours and duration of internship. 

Interested research organisations or universities should email info@ihjr.org for further information.

Learning to Disagree training in Italy

The project Learning to Disagree was presented in Italy during a National Training organized in cooperation with the Chair of History Education of the University of Bari (Apulia region). The training took place as a cycle of three webinars held in July and focused on strategies to implement learning in times of pandemic.

Speakers during the first two meetings presented resources and examples of tasks developed to foster active learning with students working through online platforms. The last session focused on the challenges that the emergency poses to traditional models of education and knowledge.

Video lessons and materials have been published in Italian on Historia Ludens.

Roberto Maragliano, former professor of Education at Roma Tre University, argued that there is a relevant difference between “physical distance” and “social distance”. Whereas the first one is necessary in our times, teachers should aim at avoiding the second one. He highlighted that the current state of crisis of school teaching in Italy could be an opportunity to revise some of its long-standing principles of inspirations. Italian schooling still favours upper general secondary schools over technical/vocational and primary schools, and keeps alive a conflict between humanistic and scientific culture, as well as verbal and non-verbal learning. Forced online learning put into evidence the pitfalls of this system. Although in the immediate aftermath of the Corona crisis the Italian teachers tended to take on the challenge and look for new approaches, in the following months a strong reaction has tended to debase these attempts. The long-term impact of this phase is thus difficult to foresee and might contribute to confirm an old education model rather than to overcome it.

Antonio Brusa, former professor of History Education at the University of Bari, stated that each generation tends to refer to a presumed former golden age of historical knowledge and identifies a cause of growing historical ignorance in its present time. Nowadays, online learning is taken as the cause of Italian students’ ignorance. Although he admitted that many Italian students were not able to take advantage of online learning, Brusa claimed that digital resources enabled millions of them to keep on learning. Thus, online learning should be seen as part of the solution. However, Brusa pointed out that using technologies and new media is not enough to innovate transmissive approaches to teaching and learning. On the opposite, teachers should be aware of the risk that the use of up-to-date digital technologies covers a very traditional, teacher-centred approach. Moreover, the use of technologies must base on awareness of the epistemology of the disciplines and specific aims of each lesson. These, in turn, depend on real pupils and students.

Mr Paolo Ceccoli, former EuroClio President, opened the first session by presenting the Association and its activities. This was of special interest for Italian teachers because there is not a single strong association of history teachers in the country. This a great occasion to present Euroclio activities in Italy.

Mr Valerio Bernardi, member of the core team of Learning to Disagree, described the aims and the teaching materials that have been produced. In the first session, he introduced and showed some aspects of the teaching guide and how the project developed during the years. He also presented the activities prepared from the core team and published on Historiana. During the second session, he provided a detailed presentation of the activity about migration and the Vlora case study (which will also be presented at the 2020 EuroClio Annual Conference, see link). One third of the participants expressed a will to use the material proposed in class next year.

Ms Lucia Boschetti, who is working on a PhD in History Education at the University of Bari, focused on playful learning in history. She stressed the importance of creative learning and presented an activity set up in the 16th century. It aimed at enabling students to understand the changes in the concept of citizenship from Modern Times to European citizenship through playing interactive stories. Moreover, she explained how the free programming language Scratch supports the development of computational thinking as well as of historical thinking. Indeed, by creating a project about the crisis of the 14th century by using Scratch, students have to ask themselves questions about historical relevance and causality.

Mr Cesare Grazioli, who has published several articles about teaching contemporary history in Italy, explained how he planned and implemented materials to assess students’ historical thinking skills when learning online. He proposed examples of both formative and summative assessment. Attendee particularly appreciated an assignment which required students to select, analyse and use images as evidence of contention regarding political and social problems in the aftermath of the Second World War.

75 teachers followed at least 2/3 of the course, and 63 of them answered a final survey. On the basis of the results, attendees were equally distributed between lower secondary and upper secondary schools and came from all around Italy, although the majority worked in Apulia.

The course aimed to offer an opportunity for training but also to create a community of educators wishing to exchange ideas, doubts and experiences. The attendee particularly appreciated this aspect. Indeed 94% of them declared that they would like to join other meetings to discuss about daily teaching routine with colleagues. A higher percentage agreed that digital resources can contribute to improving the quality of teaching and learning after the pandemic. As argued by experts, teachers can achieve this result if they can plan their lessons with an awareness of the aims and methods of history teaching. Otherwise, online teaching and learning are likely to strengthen the comeback of a purely transmissive approach to the discipline, which proved to be poorly effective regardless of in-class or on-line teaching.

 

Written by Valerio Bernardi, history teacher and member of the Learning to Disagree team & Lucia Boschetti, PhD candidate in History Education at the University of Bari

 

Working together online on Historiana: A meeting of the different teams.

Picture: The team catching up with each other.

 

The online Historiana Teams meeting took place on 21st, 22nd and 23rd August 2020. 

This meeting, originally scheduled to take place at the House of European History, was held online due to travel restrictions. The meeting gathered our historical content team (Andrea Scionti, Christopher Rowe, Francesco Scatignia and Robert Stradling), teaching and learning team (Bridget Martin, Gijs van Gaans, Helen Snelson, James Diskant and Sean Wempe), concept, design and development team (represented by Nique Sanders) as well as our partners in the House of European History (Laurence Bragard and Constanze Itzel). The purpose of the meeting was to agree on the mode of cooperation between the different teams and organisations involved.

To kick off the meeting, Constanze Itzel presented on how the House of European History dealt and is currently dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. Particularly, she introduced the work of the museum on documenting the crisis by the museum itself and by other European museums.

Then, the teams were introduced to the latest developments made by the concept, design and development team as well as the implications for their future additions on historiana. The team is working on the ‘analysis’ which will be brought back to the e-activity builder. The tool ‘sorting’ is being updated with the possibility for users to add their own background and add labels. A final improvement is the introduction of an ‘instruction button’ for teachers to help guide their students through the activities. After these improvements are made the team will further develop the concept of ‘narratives’ as a way to present new historical content on Historiana. 

The teams then discussed a possible re-organisation of the content listed in Historiana’s ‘Historical Content’ section under broader topics and themes. At the moment, Historiana hosts a number of source collections (shorter collection of sources curated and put in perspective on one topic), units (bigger collection of sources and material organised around one topic) and key moments (bigger collection of sources and material organised around one time period) in its ‘historical content’ section. The material available on historiana is constantly growing, making it sometimes challenging for teachers to find what they need. Consequently, organising the material available according to broader topics and themes should not only make it easier for teachers to find what they need, but it should also help display the great content that may sometimes be hidden on the platform.

To conclude Saturday’s meeting, the group was divided into breakout rooms to discuss and test a better way of working together across the different teams. This was needed to make sure that all the resources are built based on the expertise of both history educators and historians. The different smaller groups each tackled a different Source Collection and discussed possible ways in which the content could be adapted to help educators use it in an eLearning Activity and focused on different historical and educational themes.

Everyone gathered again on Sunday to discuss the next steps of a professional development course that Historiana will provide, as well as how to best involve our community in our work.

The next steps of the Historical Content Team will be to complete the research on which content is over- and under-represented. In addition, the team members will work on the development of new content that will make links to existing content (such as a unit about migration and partisans) or will correct the unbalance (such as a unit on Pandemics).  

The Historical Education Team will provide their expertise to the Historical Content team in the development of the four new Source Collections, create eLearning activities for Source Collections that do not have any yet, and work on a series of Webinars to introduce more people to the creation of eLearning Activities.

The Concept, Design and Development Team will continue working on the development of the concept of ‘Narratives’ to present content in better ways. They aim to introduce different perspectives about one event in order to easily give access to a truly multi perspective approach on a given topic. They will implement the feedback received on the ‘help’ button in the e-activity builder and further the development of the ‘instruction’ button, the Analysis tool and the Sorting tool.Overall, this meeting resulted in a better understanding of the next step of cooperation, and on the setting of the priorities for the next period. We will inform one when the next updates are available and meanwhile, do not hesitate to go look at our multitude of resources on historiana.eu!

6 Internal Site Search Recommendations to Europeana

Fani Partsafyllidou Project Updates
How can we facilitate the use of Europeana's digital collections in History education? 6 Internal Site Search Recommendations

Each sector approaches our cultural heritage in a different way; an artist needs to find items with high resolution, or with a specific colour -- a history teacher needs to find items that are dated and curated. This means that search engine optimizations has to act differently according to the user's profession or to provide different filtering options specialized for each sector. Ultimately, the aim of the research is to provide insight on how Internal Site Search can be customised for History.

 

 

Needs

assessment 

EuroClio worked on technical suggestions that will facilitate searching for historical sources in Europeana platform. These recommendations are based on the preferences and search behaviour of the educational community. To find these out, EuroClio conducted a field research on needs assessment.

The findings showed that the more contextualized an item is, the more useful it is for history education, provided that the item is of historical interest in the first place. In fact, Items with adequate, comprehensible descriptions are 58% more likely to be included in a lesson[1].

However, most objects do not have a description, which makes searching difficult. Meanwhile, the prospect of having all European items (48 million, in May 2020) curated by professionals is not probable in the foreseeable future.

Currently, stakeholders acknowledge the importance of curation, but find an obstacle in the perception that curation is not scalable, that millions of items cannot possibly be curated. This is exactly the issue we want to contribute solving in EuroClio.

 

 

Challenges 

 

 

Solutions

In this research we will share 6 recommendations for new functionalities in Europeana's internal search engine that will result in automated curation. These new functionalities use the data we already have on each item, then process them and combine them, creating more information.  Out of those 3 recommendations:

 

  • 3 filters determine -> Is the item of historical interest? Is it curated?
  • 2 functions enhance metadata
  • 1 function improves sorting the results

This research is part of the activity ‘Improving Discoverability’ of the project ‘Opening Up Historiana’, a Digital Single Infrastructure activity, part of Europeana DSI-4. It is implemented with the financial support of the CEF Telecom Programme of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) of the European Commission. The aim of the project is to promote the digital collections of Europeana from the scope of historical education. This research explores the preferences and the search behaviour of history teachers, which is a valuable element of the Needs Assessment. Its purpose is to make sure that the technological developments in Europeana and Historiana meet the current needs of the European educational community.

Please find our suggestions here.

[1] Digital innovation in History Education – a Field Research on Needs Assessment p. 23

 

Fani Partsafyllidou

MA in Black Sea & Eastern Mediterranean

Digital innovation in History Education – a Field Research on Needs Assessment

Fani Partsafyllidou Project Updates

In Digital innovation in History Education – a Field Research on Needs Assessment, EuroClio conducted a survey targeting history educators in order to conclude on the following questions:

  • What kind of sources are history educators looking for? Why do they select the sources they select? Why are they not selecting the sources they do not select?
  • What are the search words that history educators are using? Which of the advanced search options are history educators using?

The findings of this research are briefly mentioned below.

 

  • Items with adequate, comprehensible descriptions are 58% more likely to be included in a lesson. Out of the sources that the teachers selected, 79% had a long, meaningful, and easy to understand accompanying text, whereas 21% had not.
  • The search keywords that the history teachers use are more abstract than the words that are found in the descriptions.
  • If an item has an adequate, comprehensible description, a history teacher can identify related historical concepts in short time.
  • Interactive ways of presenting the search results, namely in a Map and in a Timeline, are highly recommended by the educational community.
  • Europeana’s existing filters are highly useful for teachers.
  • An additional filter to search by historical period would be beneficial for 88% of history teachers.
  • 96% of history teachers find filtering by country useful. However, 84% of them explain that, they need to search the place that the source refers to, not the place of origin.
  • Metadata regarding time, place, and people, have to reflect the content of the source, not the item itself as an object, in order to maximise their effectiveness in the study of History.

How is this research connected to Historiana and Europeana?

This research is part of the activity ‘Improving Discoverability’ of the project ‘Opening Up Historiana’, a Digital Single Infrastructure activity. It is implemented with the financial support of the CEF Telecom Programme of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) of the European Commission. The aim of the project is to promote the digital collections of Europeana from the scope of historical education. This research explores the preferences and the search behaviour of history teachers, which is a valuable element of the Needs Assessment. Its purpose is to make sure that the technological developments in Europeana and Historiana meet the current needs of the European educational community. This research can be of great interest for the Digital Humanities sector.

Fani Partsafyllidou

Studied History & Archaeology, with an MA in Black Sea & Eastern Mediterranean

Public Report Potsdam Training December 2019

EuroClio Project Updates, Report

The fifth Learning to Disagree training took place in in Potsdam, Germany from 13 to 15 December 2019. It was organized by EuroClio in cooperation with the Georg Eckert Institute and the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam. Nineteen history and citizenship educators were present from the following 17 countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. During the training, they continued to work on the project results, especially on familiarizing themselves with the Training Package that has been created to support the organisation of the National Trainings. The National Trainings will be organised between February and July 2020 to disseminate the final products to the wider community of history educators.

This meeting was conducted within the framework of the EuroClio Erasmus+ project “Learning to Disagree” (L2D) which runs from September 2017 - August 2020.

The 3-day training consisted of a variety of activities that were relevant to the project topic and functioning, including multiple “Train the trainer” sessions, a sharing round on the lessons learned from the piloting of the developed material, and the collaborative creation of three source collections on controversial cultural heritage. Two active workshops were also held, using materials developed by the project team, and an active training session on contested memories in Potsdam.

The main aims of this meeting were:

● To design the National Trainings
● To share experiences, tips and tricks on training on formative assessment and teaching strategies
● To discover the reality of contested memories in Germany
● To design collaboratively the source collections on controversial buildings, monuments, and street names
● To finalise the development of the Variety of Viewpoints by peer reviewing the titles and descriptions of every viewpoint
● To share the results of the external piloting and peer reviewing of the lesson plans

Results

The training in Potsdam resulted in a further exchange between educators from across Europe, on experiences and methods related to Learning to Disagree. The participants discussed their experiences and different approaches from piloting of the materials developed during the project. They reviewed and finalized the Varieties of Viewpoints and lesson plans on the topics of ‘People on the Move’, ‘Borders, Secession, Annexation’, ‘Surviving under pressure’, and ‘Cultural Heritage’. Furthermore, it results in 12 draft programme for National Trainings, including tentative budget and tentative dates, and in the finalisation of 3 source collections on controversial cultural heritage.

 

Read the Full Report Here:

 

Football Makes History*: Understanding migration and the multicultural society through football

Julia Flegel Project Updates

The 3rd Short-term Joint Staff Training was held from the 01.11-03.11.2019 in Frankfurt, Germany hosted by the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum.

Under the overall goal of enhancing social cohesion and promoting diversity in the educators’ everyday work, 30 participants, school history educators and youth workers, were offered training, expertise and professional development, especially on the topics discrimination and migration in football together with 10 participants of the partner organisations EuroClio, FARE NETWORK and EINTRACHT FRANKFURT MUSEUM.

At first, participants learned about the German Football context via presentations by staff members of the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum, the DFB-Kulturstiftung (DFB-Cultural Foundation) and the head of “Koordinationsstelle für Fanprojekte” (Coordination office for fan projects). The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the development of the Learning Activities, the Toolkit and the Policy Recommendations, as well as story-telling in football – all key deliverables of the Football Makes History Project.

In two time slots, two parallel workshops on the Learning activities formed the core of the three-day training, in which four sample Learning Activities, formal and non-formal, were introduced to the participants, as well as tested out and evaluated by them.

Another highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to attend Eintracht Frankfurt’s 5-1 Bundesliga victory over Bayern Munich at a sold out stadium in Frankfurt. A big thanks to our colleagues at the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum for arranging tickets for everyone!

Kick off meeting for ‘Teaching European History in the 21st century’ project

The project

EuroClio is excited to announce the kick-off of our new project; Teaching European History in the 21st century. This three-year project aims to respond to the needs of European Universities that are increasingly international by providing innovative didactic methods, and the development of innovative teaching materials.

EuroClio’s contribution

EuroClio will be working on the development of an online collection that will be uploaded in Historiana. It will be consisted of selected primary sources in the original language and English translations, clustered around important themes in European history. Also, the primary sources mentioned and described in the textbook, which will be published in the end of the project, will be made available in the form of online source collections, in their original form and in English translation.

Project leader and project partners

The project has been undertaken by Utrecht University, which is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands since it was established in 1636. The Department of History and Art History is the largest department in the Faculty of Humanities and has a strong focus on international teaching and research cooperation. Furthermore, we have six project partners: The Autonomous University of Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid – UAM), which is a public university established in 1968, one of Spain’s most prominent higher education institutions. The Department of History at HU Berlin (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), which is one of the largest and most diverse centers for historical studies and research in Germany.

University of Sheffield, whose outstanding record of research has been consistently recognized by external bodies and it has been ranked among the UK’s top three History departments for the impact and quality of research in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. Charles University (CUNI, Univerzita Karlova) in Prague, the oldest University in Central Europe, founded in 1348. Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), a Hungarian public research university based in Budapest, which was founded in 1635. Last but not least; The University of Lille (UDL), a multidisciplinary university of excellence at the heart of Northern Europe.

Outputs

At the end of the project, the following outputs will be published:

(1) An open access textbook that reflects the multiperspectivity of European history, covering transnational developments and networks in early modern, modern and contemporary history. The chapters are written collaboratively by international teams of authors from at least four of the participating academic partner institutions to ensure a truly European perspective.

(2) A collection of online lectures functioning as introduction to the chapters of the open access textbook.

(3) An online collection of selected primary sources.

(4) A best-practice guide to the use of the above-mentioned outputs in the international classroom. This digital volume will be based on the experiences of testing the outputs by international teacher teams in structured learning activities that form part of this project.

Kick-off meeting

Our first project meeting took place this week in Utrecht University, in Utrecht, The Netherlands. During this meeting we had interesting discussion and dialogues about the aims of the project and how to effectively reach our goals while ensuring we make the biggest possible impact. We are looking forward to the next steps! Learn more at: https://teh21.sites.uu.nl/

3rd Transnational Project Meeting for Opening Up Historiana

Fani Partsafyllidou Project Updates

The 3rd Transnational Project Meeting for Opening Up Historiana project took place in the Hague, the Netherlands, on September 12th-13th 2019. The partner organisations: EuroClio, Stockholmskällan, Museum of Slavonia, Institute for the study of totalitarian regimes, and Webtic met in order to discuss the development of the project and further develop the strategy to successfully bring the project to fruition. Ideas for new eLearning Tools were discussed, followed by two feedback sessions on them. Also the group contemplated on Partner pages, Source Collections, and eLearning Activities.

The tool that provides visual source with accompanying text on the side was seen in practice by all project partners. The teacher can annotate glossary or other information on selected text, or highlight parts of it in various colours. The student can make notes or answer questions regarding the text and then save his work or send it to the teacher. Finally, the teacher can access the student’s answer. Teachers’ feedback on this tool was that, while engaging, it is not easy to use as long as they cannot correct students’ answers on spot. Therefore, it is considered noteworthy possible development in the next stages of the project to support a Reviewing extension. Similarly, a future possibility to consider is the option to download text and annotations in PDF form.

This meeting will be followed up during the next Transnational Project Meeting, which will take place on January 22nd-24th 2020.

* Project implemented with the financial support of the CEF Telecom Programme of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA).