Webinar for Advanced Users of Historiana

The Webinar series
As part of the DSI4.2 project, EuroClio and Europeana are offering a series of Webinars for advanced users of Historiana.
These webinars are meant to support more experienced users of Historiana to experiment with the eActivity builder and get some tips and tricks on how to create quality eLearning activities.
Each webinar will introduce the participants to the eActivity builder and explain in greater details the reasoning behind the creation of certain eLearning activities. It will also provide some insights on how to make the most out of the eActivity builder. In addition, each webinar will focus on a  particular topic, using exemplar content from the Europeana Collections, and a critical thinking skill.
These webinars will take place on 9 December 2020, 17 February 2021, 21 April 2021 and 16 June 2021.
Dates
On December 9th, Helen Snelson created an eLearning activity for the Postwar Europe content and focused on using source material as evidence.
On February 17th, Bridget Martin focused on the Contributions to WWI and talking about perspective.
On April 21st, Jim Diskant looked at Visual Representation of women.
On June 16th, Gijs van Gaans will be examining Schisms within Christianity and discuss change and continuity. (register here)
Historiana
Historiana is EuroClio's online educational platform on which you can find free historical content, ready to use learning activities, and innovative digital tools made by and for history educators across Europe. The material available on Historiana is greatly provided by Europeana's collections.
eLearning Activities
The eLearning Activities are made on Historiana's eActivity Builder to provide teachers with ready made material which engages directly with historical sources.
They are made by EuroClio's Teaching and Learning team.
When creating an account on Historiana, it is possible to modify the already existing eLearning activities, or create your own to share with your students.
Not yet an advanced user of Historiana?
No problem, just watch the introduction to Historiana’s eActivity builder and you will be good to go!
Any questions? Feel free to reach out at : lorraine@euroclio.eu

Webinar for Advanced Users of Historiana

The Webinar series
As part of the DSI4.2 project, EuroClio and Europeana are offering a series of Webinars for advanced users of Historiana.
These webinars are meant to support more experienced users of Historiana to experiment with the eActivity builder and get some tips and tricks on how to create quality eLearning activities.
Each webinar will introduce the participants to the eActivity builder and explain in greater details the reasoning behind the creation of certain eLearning activities. It will also provide some insights on how to make the most out of the eActivity builder. In addition, each webinar will focus on a  particular topic, using exemplar content from the Europeana Collections, and a critical thinking skill.
These webinars will take place on 9 December 2020, 17 February 2021, 21 April 2021 and 16 June 2021.
Dates
On December 9th, Helen Snelson created an eLearning activity for the Postwar Europe content and focused on using source material as evidence.
On February 17th, Bridget Martin focused on the Contributions to WWI and talking about perspective.
On April 21st, Jim Diskant will be looking at Visual Representation of women. (register here)
On June 16th, Gijs van Gaans will be examining Schisms within Christianity and discuss change and continuity. (register here)
Historiana
Historiana is EuroClio's online educational platform on which you can find free historical content, ready to use learning activities, and innovative digital tools made by and for history educators across Europe. The material available on Historiana is greatly provided by Europeana's collections.
eLearning Activities
The eLearning Activities are made on Historiana's eActivity Builder to provide teachers with ready made material which engages directly with historical sources.
They are made by EuroClio's Teaching and Learning team.
When creating an account on Historiana, it is possible to modify the already existing eLearning activities, or create your own to share with your students.
Not yet an advanced user of Historiana?
No problem, just watch the introduction to Historiana’s eActivity builder and you will be good to go!
Any questions? Feel free to reach out at : lorraine@euroclio.eu

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

Teaching Historical Perspective-Taking: Delve into Bridget Martin’s Webinar on Acknowledging and Understanding Colonial Contributions to WWI

On February 17th Bridget Martin, History Teacher at the International School of Paris, continued the Historiana webinar series, an occasion to dive into the platform’s teaching and learning tools and to discuss historical critical thinking skills. By using Historiana’s e-builder, Bridget was able to create a valid and purposeful eActivity on contributions to WWI. This article will focus on the reflections that Bridget delivered and you will get inspiration on how to use Historiana in your classroom. Watch the recording of the webinar here.

Historiana is an online portal developed by EuroClio, Webtic and UseMedia with Europeana for and with history and citizenship educators from Europe and beyond. On Historiana you can find ready to use learning activities, multiperspective historical content and digital tools that are all free to use, adapt and share.

Questioning our assumptions

Bridget started off with a challenging, imaginative request: she asked her audience to picture a soldier serving for France or Britain in the First World War and to build a mental picture of what this soldier looked like as detailed as possible - what is he wearing? What kind of vehicle does he have? Is he holding a weapon? 

[1]

The answers she got agreed on a stereotyped image of a young, white soldier wearing a dark green, muddy uniform and boots holding a rifle or a gun. She then dismantled any cliché by showing pictures of soldiers on camels, wearing turbans or conical hats.

“We often forget the contributions peoples have made over time and I think it’s important for us to questions our own assumptions and be aware of our own biases when we imagine these kinds of events.”  Bridget Martin

Bridget explained that teaching about colonial contributions to WWI represents an attempt to move away from a Eurocentric view of a particular period of history which often becomes massively focussed on the Western front. Colonial contributions have been historically significant, as over 4 million of people from the British, French and German colonies directly contributed. She argued that history education would benefit from a transnational and holistic approach that incorporates broader perspectives into teaching. She gave the example of the popular belief that the first shots fired were British, while in truth the very first shots were fired in colonial territories.

 

(Click on the image to watch) 07:37 - 13:12 In this segment, Bridget Martin explains why it is important to teach about colonial contributions.

Points for attention

Bridget made us aware of some crucial points we should consider when teaching about colonial contributions to WWI. If you are teaching this topic, it might be good to know that there is an entire Source Collection on Colonial Contributions to WWI which is freely available and ready to use on Historiana.

[2]

Bridget highlighted the racial hierarchies and stereotypes employed by the colonial powers when assigning combatant or non-combatant roles. In fact, races that were considered inferior were given labouring non-combatant roles, and even soldiers were not equally treated. There were also specific rules about where or where not they might be allowed to be sent. Troops from the colonies were stationed in the middle east or in the African theatres of war rather than in the European theater, as the European side was concerned that if peoples from the colonies became too used to using violence against Europeans, they could have become a threat. 

The manner in which colonial peoples were recruited into the war effort varied: sometimes it was voluntary, but there was also a huge amount of conscription - most often colonies were deceitfully promised greater political freedom.

(Click on the image to watch) 13:13 - 22:36 Bridget points out what is important to keep in mind when discussing colonial contributions to WWI.

“All of those colonized groups did not have the same experience and there were huge amounts of variables which would determine the nature of their experience […]. When we are taking perspectives, we should also appreciate that there are a diversity of perspectives and there’s not just one colonial view of the war or colonial experience of the war.” Bridget Martin

Reflecting on why colonial contributions are seldom mentioned when discussing WWI and on the reasons why they were involved in the war in the first place provides students (but also teachers) with food for thought. Trying to consider how colonial peoples’ experience of the war differed to those of Europeans (and how different colonial groups experienced the war differently) is the first step to historical perspective-taking.

What does it mean teaching Historical Perspective-Taking (HPT)?

Drawing on Seixas definition, Bridget described it as the attempt of understanding the minds of people who lived in worlds so vastly different from ours. It is indeed very hard not to see the world through the lenses we wear today - and it represents one of the main challenges teachers encounter when teaching HPT.

Tim Huijgen, Professor at University of Groningen, broke down historical perspective-taking into three key elements: historical contextualization, historical empathy as “identifying with people in the past based on historical knowledge to explain their action” (Huijgen, 2014), and avoiding presentism by providing students with sufficient primary source material and evidence in order to let them draw valid conclusions.

(Click on the image to watch) 23:38 - 31:00 Bridget discusses the meaning of HPT.

How to implement all of this into an eLearning Activity?

Bridget Martin concluded the webinar by explaining how she combined her insights into a meaningful eLearning Activity on Historiana called “Different Experiences of WWI”. This specific activity requires roughly two hours, but the platform allows you to make all the changes you need, shorten it and adapt it in a way that makes sense for your students.

Bridget structured the activity in a way that students can elaborate their thoughts on colonial contributions, which initially might be shaped by a retrospective view of the past times. She provides them with primary sources and also lets them do some active research to then discuss their findings in small groups, making sure that they justify their opinion using evidence.

On Historiana you can very easily adjust ready-to-use learning activities or create your own activity - and let the students engage with primary sources and both audio and visual material!

(Click on the image to watch) 31:04 - 42:25 Bridget walks us through the activity she developed on Historiana.

 

Learn More

Want to learn more about teaching about contributions to WWI and historical perspective-taking? Watch the full webinar here!

This article is part of a webinar series, in which teacher educators who are experienced in using Historiana show examples of the eLearning Activities that they created, while also diving into a specific topic and discussing a critical thinking skill to teach students. 

On December 9th, EuroClio ambassador Helen Snelson kicked off the webinar series: she talked about using sources as evidence and illustrated the eActivity on post-war Europe that she was able to create on Historiana. Watch the full event or read the article to know more.

These are the upcoming events

  • On April 21st, Jim Diskant (History Teacher retd.) will be looking at Visual Representation of Women (Thinking skill TBA). (register here)
  • On June 16th, Gijs van Gaans (Teacher Trainer, Fontys Tilburg) will be examining Schisms within Christianity and discuss change and continuity. (register here)

This article is written as part of the Europeana DSI4 project co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union. The sole responsibility of this publication lies with the author. The European Union is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Written by Giulia Verdini

 

Sources

Main image - Source: The breakthrough of the German East Africa Confederation over the Rowuma, Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

[1] Source top left: Annamites à Saint-Raphaël, Bibliothèque Nationale de France via europeana (Public Domain). 

Source top right: Types de soldats indiens, Bibliothèque Nationale de France via europeana, (Public Domain).

Source bottom left: Troupes indigènes avec chameaux, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Agence Rol) via europeana (Public Domain).

Source bottom right: Revue du 14 juillet 1913, drapeau sénégalais, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Agence Rol) via europeana (Public Domain).

[2] Source: Digging Sand, National Library of Scotland via Europeana (CC-BY-NC-SA).

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

Webinar for Advanced Users of Historiana

The Webinar series
As part of the DSI4.2 project, EuroClio and Europeana are offering a series of Webinars for advanced users of Historiana.
These webinars are meant to support more experienced users of Historiana to experiment with the eActivity builder and get some tips and tricks on how to create quality eLearning activities.
Each webinar will introduce the participants to the eActivity builder and explain in greater details the reasoning behind the creation of certain eLearning activities. It will also provide some insights on how to make the most out of the eActivity builder. In addition, each webinar will focus on a  particular topic, using exemplar content from the Europeana Collections, and a critical thinking skill.
These webinars will take place on 9 December 2020, 17 February 2021, 21 April 2021 and 16 June 2021.
Dates
On December 9th, Helen Snelson created an eLearning activity for the Postwar Europe content and focused on using source material as evidence.(recording)
On February 17th, Bridget Martin will be focusing on the Contributions to WWI and talking about perspective. (recording)
On April 21st, Jim Diskant will be looking at Visual Representation of women. (register here)
On June 16th, Gijs van Gaans will be examining Schisms within Christianity and discuss change and continuity. (register here)
Historiana
Historiana is EuroClio's online educational platform on which you can find free historical content, ready to use learning activities, and innovative digital tools made by and for history educators across Europe. The material available on Historiana is greatly provided by Europeana's collections.
eLearning Activities
The eLearning Activities are made on Historiana's eActivity Builder to provide teachers with ready made material which engages directly with historical sources.
They are made by EuroClio's Teaching and Learning team.
When creating an account on Historiana, it is possible to modify the already existing eLearning activities, or create your own to share with your students.
Not yet an advanced user of Historiana?
No problem, just watch the introduction to Historiana’s eActivity builder and you will be good to go!
Any questions? Feel free to reach out at : lorraine@euroclio.eu

Sources as a Window to the Past: Revisit Helen Snelson’s Webinar on Using Sources as Evidence in the Digital Classroom

On December 9th, EuroClio ambassador Helen Snelson kicked off the four-part webinar series on mastering the art of developing eLearning Activities on Historiana. By using source material on post-war Europe, Helen was able to create a meaningful and engaging eActivity for her students. In this article you find the tips and tricks on using source materials as evidence that Helen shared, and get ideas on how to use Historiana in your educational practice.

Historiana is an online portal developed by EuroClio, Webtic and UseMedia with Europeana for and with history and citizenship educators from Europe and beyond. On Historiana you can find ready to use learning activities, multiperspective historical content and digital tools that are all free to use, adapt and share.

What can sources teach your students?

The webinar started off with an insight in how using individual sources can instill a ‘sense of period’ with students. This helps them to feel more secure about their understanding of the past and make sense of historical people and events in a broader context. Helen demonstrated this in her eLearning Activity with a 1949 German election poster, generating a sense of the hunger and hardships, but also the future-oriented mindset of the time. Exercises using single sources to this effect can easily be made in Historiana’s eActivity builder using the question, analysing, or highlighting tool. Helen recommended assigning this eActivity as homework to prepare students for your classes, especially when in-class time is limited.

 

 

(Click on the image to watch) 7:12- 11:48: In this segment, Helen Snelson demonstrates how to build a ‘sense of period’ of post-war Europe using a 1949 German election poster.

Afterwards, the webinar concentrated further on using different sets of sources. Helen stressed how different sets of sources, such as maps, pictures, or objects, give us different types of evidence. By really engaging students in these different types of sources, they will discover for themselves what type of information these sets can give them on the historical topic at hand. The comparing and discovering tools in the eLearning Activity are especially suited for this end.

“Fascinating as we all are as history teachers – sometimes, students turn off when we talk at them […]. But actually, because they have really engaged with the source material, they are burning with questions which you can then help them to find some answer to, and their curiosity is aroused.” Helen Snelson

(Click on the image to watch) 13:40- 22:41: In this segment, Helen Snelson builds on the previous activity by contrasting the poster with a testimony of a French schoolgirl and demonstrates how to do this as an eActivity in Historiana.

What distinguishes evidence from sources?

When discussing sources in general, Helen pointed out that teachers also need to be very careful about their language, as ‘sources’ and ‘evidence’ are not interchangeable. A source is something a historian can use as evidence to say something specific about the past, but with widely varying degrees of certainty. It is important for teachers to confer the uncertainty inherent to the historical profession, for example by asking students what they can ‘infer’ from a source. When we start using multiple sources, we can show students that one type of source can be corroborated and connected or compared with other sources to create more valid evidence.

To demonstrate the limitations of sources when studying the past, Helen shared the metaphor of sources as ‘a window to the past’. We are all inside, in the present, looking at the outside world, the past, through the window that is available to us: remaining sources. And when looking out of this window, everyone notices different things. We might choose to focus on the other buildings, the trees, or a bird flying by. Helen: “If we looked through that window, we would all notice different things, because we are all built slightly differently and we observe differently.” As educators, we should remind ourselves and our students that sources are not a representative reflection of the past, they are but fragmentary remains. And when students get a handle on this metaphor, they start to avoid  these oversimplifications that a single source would tell them a truth about the past and that’s that.

(Click on the image to watch) 36:25-37:54: How professional historians use source material to establish evidence and how to integrate this way of thinking in the classroom.

How to use sources effectively?

Helen also gave some helpful pointers to make the most effective use of sources in the classroom. By showing a well-selected source or set of sources, for example, you can demonstrate how new source material can overturn the popular view on historical events. She illustrated this by using a source that shows how the first shots in the First World War were fired outside of Europe, to overturn the entrenched image of trench warfare. Whenever possible, Helen advised to show the real source and not just a textual copy. This will train your students to pick up clues from context that otherwise might be lost. She further demonstrated how to use a Layers of Inference Diagram to teach students about deconstructing a source.

(Click on the image to watch) 47:02 - 50:41: How to use a Layers of Inference Diagram to deconstruct sources.

Conclusion: How to translate all of this into an eLearning Activity?

At the closing of the webinar, Helen explained how she combined all of her insights into an eLearning Activity on Historiana called ‘How does a historian use sources as evidence’ that she uses in her classroom. She then concluded with her expectations on the future of sources in history education: “I think what’s really exciting about history and history teaching at the moment is the wide array of sources that has been particularly driven by the young academic historians.” With the support of Historiana, you could train the next generation of young academic historians to engage with sources through your history teaching!

(Click on the image to watch) 55:08-59:30: What the final eLearning Activity using sources on Historiana looks like.

 

Learn More

Want to learn more about using sources as evidence in the (digital) classroom? Watch the full webinar here: https://youtu.be/s3ThUq1hTDs.

Access the ready to use eLearning Activity here: https://historiana.eu/ea/view/8011aab4-ad66-4ad3-97a3-d9c6812ae24b/text/bb_0

Upcoming events

This article is part of a webinar series, in which teacher educators who are experienced in using Historiana show examples of the eLearning Activities that they created, while also diving into a specific topic and discussing a critical thinking skill to teach students.

These events are scheduled next:

  • On February 17th, Bridget Martin (History Teacher, International School of Paris) will be focusing on the Contributions to WWI and talking about perspective. (register here)
  • On April 21st, Jim Diskant (History Teacher retd.) will be looking at Visual Representation of women (Thinking skill TBA). (register here)
  • On June 16th, Gijs van Gaans (Teacher Trainer, Fontys Tilburg) will be examining Schisms within Christianity and discuss change and continuity. (register here)

This article is written as part of the Europeana DSI4 project co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union. The sole responsibility of this publication lies with the author. The European Union is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Written by Mechteld Visser.

Webinar for Advanced Users of Historiana

The Webinar series
As part of the DSI4.2 project, EuroClio and Europeana are offering a series of Webinars for advanced users of Historiana.
These webinars are meant to support more experienced users of Historiana to experiment with the eActivity builder and get some tips and tricks on how to create quality eLearning activities.
Each webinar will introduce the participants to the eActivity builder and explain in greater details the reasoning behind the creation of certain eLearning activities. It will also provide some insights on how to make the most out of the eActivity builder. In addition, each webinar will focus on a  particular topic, using exemplar content from the Europeana Collections, and a critical thinking skill.
These webinars will take place on 9 December 2020, 17 February 2021, 21 April 2021 and 16 June 2021.
Dates
On December 9th, Helen Snelson will be creating an eLearning activity for the Postwar Europe content and will be focusing on using source material as evidence. (register here)
On February 17th, Bridget Martin will be focusing on the Contributions to WWI and talking about perspective. (register here)
On April 21st, Jim Diskant will be looking at Visual Representation of women (thinking skill tbc). (register here)
On June 16th, Gijs van Gaans will be examining Schisms within Christianity and discuss change and continuity. (register here)
Historiana
Historiana is EuroClio's online educational platform on which you can find free historical content, ready to use learning activities, and innovative digital tools made by and for history educators across Europe. The material available on Historiana is greatly provided by Europeana's collections.
eLearning Activities
The eLearning Activities are made on Historiana's eActivity Builder to provide teachers with ready made material which engages directly with historical sources.
They are made by EuroClio's Teaching and Learning team.
When creating an account on Historiana, it is possible to modify the already existing eLearning activities, or create your own to share with your students.
Not yet an advanced user of Historiana?
No problem, just watch the introduction to Historiana’s eActivity builder and you will be good to go!
Any questions? Feel free to reach out at : lorraine@euroclio.eu

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!

Crowdsourcing Historiana Source Collections – Global Reactions to Events in Revolutionary Russia 1917-1923

Louise Sträuli EUROCLIO

Picture: Demonstration near the Bolshoi Theatre 

 

Historiana, the educational portal developed by EuroClio, is entering a new engaging phase of development. Since the website’s establishment it has built up a broad variety of learning activities and historical content available to teachers, historians, as well as students providing quality education on history and heritage from a global perspective. Now, to make the content generation more inclusive the idea of a crowdsourcing came up. Crowdsourcing is a process in which many contributions by individuals cumulate to a valuable result. In the case of Historiana, EuroClio, led by the Historiana historical content team, involved its community to gather historical sources from a wide range of countries and draw from the diverse language skills and local historical knowledge of its members. The idea is that together we can produce source collections that are truly transnational and multiperspective, thereby removing an important barrier for those who want to teach history in this way.

Because things are sometimes easier said than done, we wanted to test the viability of crowdsourcing for this goal, with the pilot ‘Developing a transnational source collection on the Russian Revolution’. The purpose of the pilot was to set the events in revolutionary Russia into a wider international context and explore the different ways in which people, in the political elites or workers’ movements as well as amongst the general public or the bourgeoisie, responded to what was happening in Russia. In order to provide a transnational perspective, we wanted to include sources from within Russia as well as from the states neighbouring Russia, the Allied as well as the Central Powers. The focus was put on six key events in the years from 1917 to 1923.

EuroClio invited members to participating in a webinar session that took place on two afternoons in October and November 2018. During these sessions, the participants were instructed about the ideas behind Historiana, the aims of the source collection as well as the practical requirements and formalities for submitting sources. There were no requirements made on how many sources a participant would be expected to provide nor on the format of the sources.

By the end of the year, around fifty sources from more than twenty participants reflecting a broad variety of perspectives were submitted. Subsequently, the EuroClio Secretariat and the content team of Historiana took on the task of categorising and analysing the sources received. In certain cases, more information was collected from contributors or further research was carried out. Preliminary findings and conclusions were then presented by Bob Stradling at the EuroClio Annual Conference in Gdansk at the beginning of April in 2019. The positive reception by the audience as well as the motivated participation by the contributors supported the successful start of the pilot project.

Currently, the source collection counts over 150 sources from more than 13 countries. One of the biggest advantages that followed from the dedicated contribution of many members was the wide variety of different types of sources that came together. The diversity ranges from newspaper articles and eyewitness accounts, diplomatic correspondence and government documents to visual sources such as cartoons, photographs, drawings and documentaries. These sources provide a basis for teaching material that is reflecting multi-perspectivity as well as engaging and stimulating critical thinking and analytical skills.

For example, it is rather unusual to find out what children, being eyewitnesses to major world events in the past, were thinking about these at the time. Thanks to the contribution of Bistra Stoimenova, we have received a collection of children’s drawings made in Moscow in the year 1917. One of these drawings, depicting the first days of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, is shown below.

Figure 1 The bourgeoise-democratic Revolution in Moscow 1917. Source Contributed by Bistra Stoimenova. (accessed from Интернет-журнал «Подмосковный краевед», 2017, https://trojza.blogspot.com/2017/01/1917_17.html)

 

In addition, we have received several sources that throw a surprising and less official perspective on the dynamics of the revolution. Examples are the photographs of Latvian workers at the Mantel Machine Factory who fought for the Latvian independence in Russia or a political poster directed at Allied soldiers in the Ukraine during the Civil War, shared by Dzintra Liepina.

 

Figure 2 Left: A photograph of Latvian Workers. Contributed by Dzintra Liepina. Right: A poster appealling to allied soldiers. Contributed by Lazar Aranitovic

 

The involvement of the EuroClio members made it possible for us to access and combine sources from countries and language areas that were not previously represented. While sources from the Russian Empire, the Central as well as the Allied Powers form the majority, a large proportion of the sources come from countries that were occupied by the Central Powers, like Albania or Luxembourg, or neutral countries, such as the Netherlands and Switzerland. This variation makes it possible to look at the events of the Russian revolution from a truly transnational perspective.

The amount of received sources will enable the team behind Historiana to create a number of small source collections, which will be uploaded to the website, providing an interesting, diverse and multi-perspective addition to existing history textbooks. Although a selection of the submitted sources must be made for this process, it must be emphasized that all submitted sources make a valuable contribution to this project as they enhance the understanding and knowledge of the events and thus make a comprehensive contextualization possible.

The source collection on the Russian Revolution was made possible by the diverse contributions and dedicated cooperation of the EuroClio members.

This pilot project has been an exciting and successful process for us as well as for the members of the EuroClio community, who have been given the opportunity to exchange ideas, to contribute to new teaching materials and to intensify and share their research.

If you, as a reader, feel inspired by the topic and would like to participate, then we look forward to hearing from you. Despite the success of the project there are still some gaps in the source collection. Less represented are contributions representing the perspectives within Russia as well as the perspectives from the bourgeoisie across Europe. Furthermore, only a small number of sources reflect the uprising of workers and soldiers in Petrograd in July 1917, the attempted military coup led by General Kornilov or the signing of the Treaty of Brest Litovsk on 3 March 1918. If you would like to contribute a suitable source to these gaps, you are welcome to contact Alice Modena (alice@euroclio.eu).

After the successful implementation of the first pilot project, EuroClio is preparing for the next crowdsourcing project. In September 2019, the next

Webinar on the Fall of the Berlin War

will take place.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of this historic event, we will discuss the history behind “the Fall of the Berlin Wall,” the coming to life of the Wall and its end. The reunification of Germany had not only far-reaching consequences in Europe, but was also a catalyst for developments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The webinar is the prelude to a new crowdsourcing project. The aim is to create a transnational and multi-perspective source collection that will provide history teachers and students with a multifaceted insight to the end of the Cold War. For once, the perspectives and activities of ordinary people are to stand in the spotlight and, on the basis of diverse sources, it shall be shown how contemporaries have experienced these historical events. If you are interested in the events of 1989, and specifically the Fall of the Berlin Wall and its impact on Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and would like to participate in this upcoming Webinar, please look out for details about it on our website and on social media and register online.

We would like to thank

  • Bistra Stoimenova
  • Bojana Dujkovic Blagojevic
  • Dzintra Liepina
  • Guido Lessing
  • Jim McBride
  • Joy Jhugroo
  • Lazar Aranitovic
  • Lulzim Abdiaj
  • Mariana Lagarto
  • Miguel Barros
  • Olfa Mahmoud
  • Olga Terenetska
  • Riitta Mikkola
  • Tatiana Koval
  • Valentin Schönherr
  • Valerio Bernardi
  • Vesna Lučić
  • Zdravko Stojkoski

for their valuable contributions!

 

Written By Louise Sträuli, Euroclio Research Trainee