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

Historiana: Building Transnational Source Collections

Historiana Editor-in-Chief, Bob Stradling, recently gave a presentation at our Annual Conference in Poland in which he presented an overview of the development of the Historiana website and ongoing efforts to create more transnational source collections for use by history educators. He began with a retrospective look at the stages of development of the Historiana website. This commenced with the inception of the idea for a website for history educators in the early 2000s and was bolstered in 2013 by the formation of a partnership with Europeana – a collection of online sources from many libraries, archives, museums and other institutions around Europe with over 50 million digitised books, music, artworks and other sources. Historiana’s development continued with the creation of the eLearning Activity Builder and the generation of new content. 

Bob then described the Historical Content Team’s ongoing endeavour to build a transnational source collection on the Russian Revolution. For this project, Europeana sources were supplemented by crowdsourced material from EUROCLIO’s community. The collection remains a work in progress and will be followed by the development of further collections in line with the results of a needs assessment of EUROCLIO members carried out by the Educational Research Institute in Warsaw which identified eleven priority areas for future collections.

IX Forum: Intercultural Learning and Exchange Conference in Brussels

EUROCLIO Uncategorized

 

From 24-26 October 2018, Hellen Jansen attended the IX Forum. Intercultural Learning and Exchange Conference, as a EUROCLIO representative on behalf of the VGN (the Dutch History Teachers Association). This conference, taking place in Brussels, was the final conference within the Erasmus+ project Intercultural Learning for Pupils and Teachers. This project has focused on providing students with relevant competences in order to be active in school and society. Thus, the project has offered school leaders and teachers of secondary schools trainings and tools to include intercultural learning in every subject and aspect of school life.

With 80 participants, this conference had the main aim of  sharing the results of the project so that other partners could disseminate the information to their networks. The results that were presented are published on the website. You can also find more general information about the project here. The various presentations given were about the toolbox of hands-on class materials, a workshop on working in a network of schools including the parents network and workshop on creating intercultural learning using the materials.

Some quotes from participants at the conference included:

“Intercultural learning should be a whole school approach – it should be part of the school’s identity and vision.”

“Much more possibilities should be provided for that students and teachers can participate in exchanges.”

“Key Competences for life long learning are stimulated by the whole school approach.”

Lóa Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir Ends Term as President of EUROCLIO, Succeeded by Mire Mladenovski

At the General Assembly 2018 in Marseille, France, Lóa Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir formally stepped down as President of the Board. Mrs. Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir was elected to the Board in 2012, and held positions on the membership committee and as Vice-President, before finally becoming President of the Board in 2016. In the past, she has been involved as a contributor to the web application initiative Historiana – Your Tool to the Past on rights and responsibilities.

“EUROCLIO has benefited immeasurably from her knowledge and guidance over the years, and is grateful for all her commitment and dedication,” Steven Stegers, Acting Executive Director, stated in Marseille. “We wish her all the best and look forward to continuing to work with her as an Ambassador of EUROCLIO.”

EUROCLIO is excited to welcome Mire Mladenovski as the new President of the Board. Having been elected as a Board Member in 2013, Mr. Mladenovski served as its Treasurer for four years, and has shown undying support for numerous EUROCLIO projects, most notably serving as an editor for Historiana. In addition to his work with EUROCLIO, he is one of the founders and current President of the ANIM (History Teachers Association of Macedonia), as well as having co-authored and edited supplementary teaching material for secondary school history curricula, such as Understanding a Shared Past, Learning for the Future and Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Country.

The EUROCLIO Board of Members is now composed of Mire Mladenosvki as President, Paolo Ceccoli as Vice-President, Riitta Mikkola as Treasurer, Sinéad Fitzsimons as Secretary, and Frank van den Akker as Board Member. EUROCLIO looks forward to a productive term under their leadership.

How can Europe Help the Balkans “Consume” its History?

EUROCLIO Uncategorized ,

On 18 December, EUROCLIO headed to Brussels along with partners at Centre for Democracy and
Reconciliation in Southeast Europe (CDRSEE) and the International Students of History Association
(ISHA) to discuss the difficult and proven at times controversial question of ‘How can Europe Help the
Balkans “Consume” its History?’ This event was hosted at the House of European History and during the
full day event a range of questions were explored regarding the issues facing Southeast Europe today:
What is the European Union’s role in healing the wounds of the 1990s wars in ex-Yugoslavia? How can
History teachers in the region teach about the wars when it still such a controversial subject matter?
How does a nation or region actually “consume” it’s history?

The day started off with a panel with delegations from the European Union including Davide Berton,
Diego Marani, Pavel Tychtl and Walter Zampieri who discussed the EU’s relationship with culture and
history in the Western Balkans, a speech by Costa Carras from CDRSEE, and preliminary research results
presented by Lucija Balikic from ISHA. Throughout the day two separate study results were released;
EUROCLIO’s Dea Maric and Rodoljub Jovanović presented the report from our ePact project: Education
Partnership for Advocacy, Capacity-Building and Transformation.

Researchers Anja Gvozdanović and Vanja Kukrika from the project “Divided Past, Joint Future”
presented their results from a qualitative study on the Process of Reconciliation in the Western Balkans
and Turkey.”

The day was characterized by lively debate and interesting discussion by international participants on
the role of history in the process of peace and reconciliation in Southeast Europe. If you want to read more about the event in Brussels, click here to read the full report.

Annual Conference 2018: Marseille Calls!

An annual highlight in the EUROCLIO calendar is the Annual Conference. On 21-26 April, all are welcome to come to Marseille, France. Our French member association has prepared a very interesting programme to support new knowledge, cross-cultural exchanges and professional development.

The conference will take place in the Vieux-Port Marseille, the historical port of Marseille, with venues at well-known historical landmarks in Marseille such as Mucem (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) and Musee d’Histoire de Marseille.

On Saturday 21 April, after the welcoming speeches, the programme will feature a key-note lecture by Keith Brown from Arizona State University on “A Micro Global History of the Mediterranean”.

Sunday is reserved for on-site learning at interesting locations such as 1) Camp des Milles, a former concentration camp and memorial site 2) Arles, a picturesque medieval city located a few kilometres outside of Marseille. Arles boasts some beautiful and well-preserved treasures from the Roman Empire, like the amphitheatre, and used to be a refuge for impressionist painters like Vincent van Gogh in the late 19th century. 3) Toulon, this small city situated on the Mediterranean coast is one of the most historically important ports of the region, connecting the entire EuroMed region.

On Monday several cross-border history education initiatives in the Mediterranean region will be presented and discussed, and on Tuesday the local gymnasium Marseilleveyre will open its doors to us and host breakout sessions on Decolonising Education by Luisa Black (Council of Europe), Culture of Cooperation with History Teaching by John Hamer (Council of Europe) and Europe: Our History by Thomas Serrier and Jakob Vogel and rounds of workshops by partner organizations and participants.
On Wednesday there will be plenty of opportunity to explore Marseille and connect with local French teachers, and Thursday we will be wrapping the week up with the 25th General Assembly, discussion groups, world café and of course, the gala dinner to celebrate 25 years of EUROCLIO.

There is still time to register, the deadline for registrations is 31st of January.

Please do help EUROCLIO by promoting this event amongst colleagues, friends and whoever will be interested in this event!

Mucem in Vieux-Port Marseille. Photo by Lisa Riciotti, provided by Mucem.

Walking in the Footsteps of Revolutionaries: Full Report “Revolutions in Contemporary History: Facts, Interpretations and Educational Strategies” Now Available

EUROCLIO Uncategorized

The year 2017 marked the centennial of a series of events that changed the course of history: the Russian revolution. In order to commemorate these turbulent times, EUROCLIO – in cooperation with the St. Petersburg Academy of In-Service Teachers’ Training, led by Konstantin Bityukov  – hosted the International Scientific and Practical conference “Revolutions in Contemporary History: Facts, Interpretations and Educational Strategies” in Saint-Petersburg, Russia on 27 and 28 October 2017.

Over the course of these two days more than 150 history educators from all over Europe and Russia came together at various venues, such as the local school Gymnasium 209, to listen to lectures, participate in workshops and to exchange their ideas and teaching strategies about the Russian revolution. With the beautiful city of Saint-Petersburg as a backdrop, the participants were truly immersed in history. By visiting the Hermitage, wandering through the same opulent rooms as the Bolsheviks did one hundred years ago, and the Museum of Political History, showcasing the famous balcony Lenin held his fiery speeches from, the participants got a chance to walk in the footsteps of the revolutionaries.

The full report of the conference is now available here.

Call to fill out Survey: How are the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990’s Remembered?

The Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s are often considered ‘not yet history’. Because the memory of the wars is still relatively recent, they are commemorated in many different ways and have also been widely investigated in connection with transnational justice.

Within the wider context of the project ‘Learning a History that is not yet History’, EUROCLIO – in cooperation with the Internationals Students of History Association (ISHA) – has developed a survey to collect information in order to map how the Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s are currently remembered throughout Europe.

We would kindly like to ask you to help us in our research by filling out the survey. The survey will take about 4-5 minutes, and is completely anonymous. The findings of the survey will be collected and presented at the public event ‘How can Europe help the Balkans ‘consume’ their History’ in Brussels on 18 December 2017.

The findings will contribute to the project ‘Learning a History that is not yet History’ in a broader sense; results from the survey will assist in developing new ways to approach this difficult and sensitive past in the field of European remembrance.

 

New Eurydice Report: Citizenship Education at School in Europe – 2017

EUROCLIO Uncategorized ,

There has been a strong focus in recent years on the promotion of citizenship education, as a result of the increasing threats to fundamental values such as peace, equality and human rights Europe is faced with, and several countries are making changes to their policies in this area. But what is citizenship education? How is it taught? How are students evaluated? Can citizenship skills be developed outside the classroom? What training and support do teachers receive?

Eurydice’s new Citizenship Education at School in Europe – 2017 report tackles these questions and more, providing an overview of the existing regulations and recommendations regarding citizenship education in public sector schools. It outlines the state of play on four main topics, each of which is complemented by a case study:

 

  • Curriculum Organisation and Content
  • Teaching, Learning and Active Participation
  • Student Assessment and School Evaluation
  • Teacher Education, Professional Development and Support

 

The full report can be found here.

eTwinning Annual Conference 2017 – eTwinning: Turning Inclusion Into Action

EUROCLIO Uncategorized

From 26-28 October the eTwinning Annual Conference 2017 took place in Malta. EUROCLIO ambassador Miljenko Hajdarovic attended the conference and hosted a workshop on the practical use of Historiana.

The focus of the eTwinning Annual Conference 2017 was to share how eTwinning can raise the capabilities of schools to address three main factors of exclusion: cultural differences, educational difficulties and geographical obstacles which continues the work of promoting ‘and non-discrimination through education’. Around 600 teachers from around Europe, most of them language teachers and STEM, attended the conference in Malta.

The aim was to show how eTwinning can turn inclusion into action via specific international projects, professional development opportunities and most important, by networking of teachers amongst each other, to strengthen professional relationships and form an inclusive community.

The workshop slot for EUROCLIO was the last one in the afternoon and after an introductory presentation by Miljenko Hajdarovic, all attendees of the workshop participated in a discussion on the use of Historiana.

The entire event was live streamed, and parts of the conference are uploaded on YouTube.

Participants of the EUROLIO workshop discuss the practical use of Historiana (image by Miljenko Hajdarovic)