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 The meeting gathered our historical content team (Andrea Scionti, Christopher Rowe, Francesco Scatignia and Robert Stradling), teaching and learning team (Bridget Martin, Gijs van Gaans, Helen Snelson,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 After these improvements are made the team will further develop the concept of ‘narratives’ as a way to present new historical content on Historiana. 

The teams then discussed a possible re-organisation of the content listed in Historiana’s ‘Historical Content’ section under broader topics and themes.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around one topic) and key moments (bigger collection of sources and material organised around one time period) in its ‘historical content’ section.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).

 

Sharing European Histories meets in The Hague

Veronika Budaiová Project Updates

In today’s diverse society, everyone has its own understanding or interpretation of historical events. The opening up of a space to engage with the dissonant and often conflictual nature of European history is the first step in discovering common positions or overcoming divisions while acknowledging these existing differences.

The Sharing European Histories project core goal is to develop innovative teaching strategies for educators across Europe, designed to help young people better understand the different perspectives and the complexities of our shared European past.

At this 2nd Meeting of the Sharing European Histories project, EuroClio director Steven Stegers emphasised the need to create educational resources and tools which that in fact will be used by teachers. The purpose of the meeting was three-fold: peer-review of the strategies, agreement on a plan of action in completing the strategies, and the peer-review of a new Historiana tool.

During the meeting all contributors had the opportunity to share their strategies with their peers and receive suggestions for the future development. Among the contributors were Helen Snelson (UK), Joanna Wojdon (Poland), Elisabete Pereira (Portugal), and Gentian Dejda (Albania). Helen Snelson introduced her strategy focusing on using life stories which teaches students about the complexity of the past. The strategy, addressing the period 1989-2000, incorporates an intergenerational dialogue that deconstructs the idea of what it means to be an eyewitness to the past. It encourages students to talk to people they know that have a story about the past and to take ownership of what they are learning by bringing together the lived past and what is talked about or what we are told is important. Her strategy relates these memories to maps and timelines to interrogate which parts are actually remembered.

The second strategy, designed by Joanna Wojdon, focuses on public history in wider society. It follows the historical path of Wroclaw by looking at historical plaques to see how changes and ethnic groups are represented; who is or is not represented? From which point of view are turning points memorialised? Where did the plaques come from and who put them up? Why are they where they are and for what purpose?

This strategy stimulates an awareness in students of the constructed nature of history and teaches them how to deconstruct the contemporary message. An element could be to find other commemorative elements (i.e. monuments or street names) in a city or town, or to assign students the task to construct their own plaques.

The third strategy proposed by Elisabete Pereira uses object biographies to foster curiosity for the complexity of the past. In this strategy, students looks at science and history. Scientists do not think in terms of nationalism or politics, but in terms of innovation and how this took place across borders. The last strategy proposed by Gentian Dedja looks at medieval figures that surpass ethic borders. The aim of the strategy is to critically analyse chosen historical figures and deconstruct historical narratives of “national heroes” claimed by different groups

The challenge for all the developers for the next step in the project is to make sure that their strategies can be easily adapted and applied across Europe and in different historical contexts.

The final item on the agenda for the meeting was to offer a feedback on the new Historiana tool. The purpose of the tool is to deconstruct historical sources by gradually revealing information. EuroClio’s Steven Stegers explained three ways for which the tool can be used: analysing images, tracing the history of objects, tracing the spread of ideas.

The team finally decided on the further course of action which will include finalisation of forms for stages 1-2 and preparation of a peer-review workshop where contributors will individually teach their strategies. The workshops will be a part of the 2020 EuroClio Annual Conference in Serbia.