Review: UnTextbooked, a student-led podcast

Rebecca Jackson Reviews , ,

UnTextbooked is a student-produced podcast which released its first episode in October 2020. On their website, UnTextbooked describes themselves as “A history podcast for the future. Brought to you by teen changemakers who are looking for answers to big questions. We interview famous historians who have some of the answers.”

UnTextbooked is an initiative of got history?, a US-based organisation that seeks to “foster inspired civic engagement and develop the skills and mindsets we need to tackle the challenges of today”. got history? is a partner organisation of EuroClio - and since 2021 an associated member.

Season one of this podcast contains fifteen episodes. Each episode features a different “producer” who interviews a guest historian. The interviews are mainly centred on a particular book of the guest, though as the episode continues the discussion naturally extends beyond just the book. Each episode lasts between fifteen to thirty-five minutes. 

The producers who lead the interviews are all high school or first year university students, and most have a personal connection or identity tied to their podcast’s topic. For example, in the episode “Why do we forget the cruelty of the British Empire?”, Hassan Javan, whose grandparents grew up under British imperial rule in modern-day Pakistan, interviews historian John Newsinger about his book The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire.

UnTextbooked is not a simple student project but a professional production, with clean editing, mixing, and appropriately cool and modern sounding theme music. It was named a top pick by the Spotify Next Wave awards, and one of the podcast founders received the prize of “Global Teen Leader” for their initiative.

This podcast is a recommended listen for history educators and their students. It offers a fresh take on well-worn history narratives, and can also offer inspiration to reexamine histories local to them. 

While UnTextbooked’s topics start with a historical focus, each episode aims to take the discussion into the present day. Many episodes reveal ‘forgotten history’, such as the case of Claudette Colvin who refused to give up her bus seat in the segregated American South, months before the famous case of Rosa Parks. Colvin, an unmarried and pregnant teenager, was seen to lack the personal credibility for an effective civil rights campaign. This sparks discussion as to why the case of Colvin remains largely unknown, and about attitudes towards “respectability” in civil rights protests in the US today.

The topics explored in season are mainly centred on the history of the United States. Episodes recommended for their more global focus are those on the Golden Age of Piracy, the coup of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, how the British Empire is remembered, and Western attitudes towards the veil in Islam.

History teachers may want to use UnTextbooked’s example to inspire their own students to reach out to other historians and authors, and ask their own questions. In the conditions of the global pandemic, many historians are becoming even more active online and participating in online interviews and panel discussions. As UnTextbooked shows, renowned authors were glad to have an interview from a young reader, and appreciated their enthusiasm and thoughtful questions.

Students could, like UnTextbooked, find a book that speaks to them and then reach out to the author to ask for an interview. This interview would not necessarily need to be recorded and edited into a podcast format. From the process of the interview alone, students could benefit from interrogating their chosen book and topic closely, and share their experiences with colleagues. However if making a podcast is the goal, many free tools exist for audio editing, such as Audacity.

You can listen to UnTextbooked on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and other podcast players. UnTextbooked is making plans already for season two, and has an active fundraiser to support the show. 

Fit for Education – Case Study

To encourage cooperation between people working in the fields of education and cultural heritage, EuroClio has produced a case study providing insights into the use of online collections for and by educators. The case study is based on work done by EuroClio, historians and history educators from its network, who have worked to find and present over 1,000 sources from Europeana in more than 60 source collections, available at Historiana.

The case study aims to help cultural heritage institutions understand what educators look for while searching online collections, and how to make their content more accessible for education. These insights can help suggest the order in which pieces from collections can be digitised and help institutes think about reducing barriers to access.

 

Read the full case study here.

Opportunity for EuroClio members: Become a historiana trainer!

Giulia Boschini Opportunities

When it comes to history education, EuroClio has always been a front runner organization for inspiring and empowering teachers to engage learners in innovative and responsible history and citizenship education. One of the long-term Euroclio’s initiatives at the heart of this mission is Historiana. In 2010, Euroclio partnered with Europeana, to co-found Historiana. Since then, Historiana has been an ever-evolving project whose mission is to offer the best possible digital tools for history educators around Europe. 

Historiana works as a digital history textbook of European history. The great advantage of Historiana over its paper counterpart is that thanks to its digital format, it can be constantly updated and improved. Plus, it is eco-friendly! The other advantage of Historiana is that it does not just work as a digital textbook that offers access to thousands of historical sources. In fact, this project would not be possible without the contribution of the Cultural Heritage Institutions, that grant free access to thousands of historical sources. Historiana also works as an interactive platform, which gives teachers the possibility to create e-Learning activities or use ready-to-use ones. These activities have the objective to promote historical thinking skills. 

To promote the use of Historiana, Euroclio is offering to its full, associated and individual members the possibility to follow a a training to become a certified Historiana trainer. Being a certified Historiana trainer means that you will be able to host workshops to support other history educators in their journey to use Historiana in order to promote historical skills among their students. You will play an active role in Euroclio’s mission: promoting historical skills, such as critical thinking and multiperspectivity, and connecting across borders professionals.

If you are interested, it is not too late to become an individual member and learn more about this training! For more information please contact Lorraine Besnier.

Call for entries: Medea Awards 2021

For more than 13 years, the MEDEA Awards has been encouraging innovation and good practice in the use of media (audio, video, graphics, and animation) in education. These annual awards recognise and promote excellence in the production and pedagogical design of media-rich learning resources and bring to the forefront those producers, designers and teaching staff who provide such inspiration to the entire educational community, particularly in Europe.

The MEDEA Awards were launched in November 2007 and from 2015 onwards, the MEDEA Awards have been supported by the Media & Learning Association. Learn more about the history, aims and participation guidelines here.

MEDEA Awards 2021 are now open again for all media that are produced in the higher education, continuing education, or training sectors, and that are aimed at all types of learners.

Read the official call and submit your entry.

Deadline: 31 May 2021.

Historiana: Winner of the Special Prize for European Collaboration in the creation of Educational Media

EuroClio's educational platform Historiana won the special prize for European Collaboration in the creation of Educational Media in 2012. Historiana is an online multimedia tool that offers teachers and students multi-perspective and comparative historical sources and learning activities: it represents a digital alternative to a European History textbook and promotes the acquisition of cross-border historical knowledge and the development of critical thinking. Learn more about the benefits of the platform for educators and Cultural Heritage Institutes here.

What the judges said

Historiana is an educational website that offers young people free access to quality education materials on history and heritage from a global perspective. The quality of the content provided is very good, the learning objectives are clear and properly addressed.

An interesting initiative, it is aesthetically well designed and user friendly, and presents a holistic critical perspective about historical facts and social consequences. 

It is easy to use and has structured guidance questions that work as a table of contents for every subject.

Since then, a lot has been improved on Historiana: new features were added, new tools, many Source Collections and eLearning Activities. At the moment, Historiana provides access to:

  • 50+ source collections
  • 5 multistranded timelines
  • 14 variety of viewpoints
  • 50 eLearning Activities
  • 100 learning activities
  • 3 modules centered around key moments.

Find out more about why Historiana won the prize here - and have a look at how the platform used to look like by watching this video MEDEA Prize Winner 2012: Historiana - Your Portal To The Past

House of European History: Online Sessions for Teachers

EuroClio Opportunities

The House of European History is organizing two very interesting events:

- How to teach Media Literacy to your classroom

Online info session for teachers - Fake (F)or Real: a History of forgery and falsification

Temporary exhibition at the House of European History running until 31st of October 2021: the exhibition places the concept of ‘’Fake’’ as a common thread throughout history. This information session will provide you with ready-to-use exercises in order to successfully teach Media Literacy to students aged 12 to 18.

Language: English, Dutch or French according to the date

Date and Time

1st session:

  • Thursday, May 6th, 2021 17:00 -18:30 in English
  • Thursday, May 6th, 2021 – 17:00 – 18:30 – in French
  • Tuesday, May 18th 2021 –17.00 -18.30 –in Dutch

2nd session:

  • Thursday, October 7th, 2021 – 17:00-18:30 – in English
  • Thursday, October 7th, 2021 – 17:00-18:30 – in French
  • Thursday, October 7th, 2021 – 17:00-18:30 – in Dutch

Registration: The event is free and will be online, but registration is requested. Please register here.

Learn more about the event here

- The House of European History, a place for learning

Online info session for teachers

The aim of this session is to raise awareness of the influential role that history plays in understanding today's world. Do you wonder how to use the thematic learning resources to create your lesson plans, or are you looking for new tools to teach your students about Europe? During the event, there will be a presentation of the thematic resources that the museum offers for students aged 12 to 18.

Language: English, Dutch or French according to the date

Date and Time

1st session:

  • Monday, May 10th 2021 – 17:00 - 18:00 – in Dutch
  • Tuesday, May 11th, 2021 – 17:00 – 18:00 – in French
  • Monday, May 17th, 2021 17:00 -18:00 in English

 2nd session:

  • Monday, October 11th, 2021 – 17:00 - 18:00 – in Dutch
  • Tuesday, October 12th, 2021 – 17:00 -18:00 – in French
  • Thursday, October 14th, 2021 – 17:00 -18:00 in English

Registration: The event is free and will be online, but registration is requested. Please register here.

Find out more about the event here

Call for Papers: Television and Education

Giulia Verdini Opportunities

How can we look back on television’s long-standing contributions to education in Europe? How can we ‘read’ these historical contributions through the transnational lens of European television? Last, but not least, how can we work towards a future where new television technologies are opened up for learning and education, and digitized historical content can be used both in education and in the formation of teachers and practitioners?

 

VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture welcomes contributions about the roles of television technologies in education - they can take the form of articles and video essays.

Contributions are encouraged from authors with different expertise and interests in media studies, television broadcasting, media literacy, archival studies, from researchers to television professionals, to educators, archivists and preservationists. 

  • Deadline for abstracts: 15 April 2021 (max. 500 words)
  • Deadline for papers: 1 September 2021 (3000-6000 words)

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 10 May 2021.

Proposals and inquiries about the issue can be sent to journal@euscreen.eu.

For more information, please check the complete call for papers at the VIEW website.

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Did you know that our project In Europe Schools originates from Dutch broadcasting company VPRO’s TV series called “In Europe”, which was dealing with modern European history? The series turned out to be a source of inspiration for history teachers: they explicitly asked for educational resources based on the series. In Europe Schools made toolkits on difficult history, migration, climate change and gender equality. Learn more about the project and the way it contributes to European integration

Historiana Featured Resources

Historiana, EuroClio's online alternative to a European History textbook, is a constantly growing platform gathering hundredth of resources about various topics and time periods. This virtual learning environment offers a flexible and well-suited approach to an ever evolving subject. It provides free historical content, ready-to-use learning activities, and innovative digital tools developed by a team of history educators from across Europe and beyond. Historiana’s development is informed by the EuroClio manifesto and seeks to provide resources that are complex and multi-perspective to promote critical thinking.

There are over 50 source collections available on Historiana and more than 100 eLearning activities. Below you can find some of the favourite resources of our network.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of material that is particularly appreciated and used by our network.

Historical Content

Teaching and Learning Content

EuroClio’s response to the Consultation on Digital for Cultural Heritage

Lorraine Besnier Association

Workshop during the 2019 Summer School in Osijek.

 

Over the summer, the European Commission launched a public consultation regarding the evaluation, and possibly the revision of the recommendations of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation aimed to support the digital transformation of the cultural heritage sector.

Individuals, academics, cultural heritage institutions, network organisations, Member State competent authorities with experience in the sector were encouraged to fill in a questionnaire to help the commission ensure that these recommendations still fit the needs and challenges of the cultural heritage sector in light of the extreme and ongoing changes of the current situation, and of the technological changes.

In addition to the questionnaire, the consultation offered a possibility to add a supporting document to the answers. EuroClio took this opportunity to underline the importance of the Europeana platform as an enabler for cooperation on digital heritage on European and global level.  

EuroClio recommended that the Cultural Sector, supported by the European Commission:

 

  • Recognises and emphasises the value of digitised heritage in education
  • Revives the ambition to give access to all public domain materials on Europeana
  • Promotes the use of licenses that allow educational use
  • Helps users find and use materials more easily
  • Ensures diversity and inclusion in the collections
  • Acknowledges and addresses the need for curation of the Europeana Collections
  • Creates an overview of the content that is already available

 

You can read EuroClio’s position paper on the Consultation on Digital for Cultural Heritage here.

EuroClio’s Position on the Digital Education Action Plan 2020 of the European Commission

Lorraine Besnier Association

Nique Sanders (Webtic) is leading a user testing session with history educators from EuroClio (London, April 2014)

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the related challenges for the sector of Education in general, the European Commission proposed a revision of the Digital Education Action Plan of 2018.  This revision was based on a public consultation to gather the views of citizens, institutions and organisations on their experiences and expectations during the COVID-19 crisis (both to date and during the recovery period), as well as their visions for the future of digital education in Europe. 

This new action plan is meant to support Member States, education and training institutions and citizens in their efforts to adapt to the digital transition and help ensure a fair and inclusive recovery for all.

EuroClio answered the call for expertise and contributed to the online consultation. In addition to filling the questionnaire, EuroClio also wrote a position paper to further its recommendations to the European Commission. In particular, EuroClio supported some of the existing priorities such as; making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning; developing relevant digital competences and skills for the digital transformation and improving education through better data analysis and foresight. 

However, EuroClio raised the issue that those ways forward will not be sufficient to achieve the goals that the European Commission set for the new action plan. As such, EuroClio emphasised a few other important point of actions such as the need for:

 

  • The development or improvement of easy to use tools that educators can use to create, share and adapt their own open education learning resource.  
  • The development of high quality open education.
  • Research to identify and share strategies for the use of effective digital technologies for teaching and learning, especially in the humanities. 

You can read EuroClio’s Position on the Digital Education Action Plan here.

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!