Innovative History Education at Work: School History Project Conference 2013

EuroClio never misses the highly inspiring School History Project Conference organised annually at Leeds Trinity University, UK. This year, Senior Managers Steven Stegers and Blandine Smilansky attended the Conference from 5 to 7 July 2013. They were able to fruitfully engage with a vibrant community of British history educators during interactive workshops and various informal discussions. As the hotly debated new British history curriculum was expected to be published the week after, vivid debates and in-depth reflection on the role of school history characterised this uplifting event. During the conference, the key contribution of EuroClio was an interactive workshop about Historiana.

Steven and Blandine together with Helen Snelson, a history teacher from York who recently joined the Historiana team, led a workshop offering UK history teachers the opportunity to help shape the online functionalities of Historiana to be developed within the EuropeanCreative project. Driven by the question “What classroom activities would you rather do online, and how?”, the Historiana workshop was an opportunity to harvest ideas and start setting up a focus group on online learning tools, that will play a key role to steer the upcoming developments on the Historiana website. Links were also established with the BBC Learning team and Imperial War Museum to explore possible cooperation in the close future.

To get inspired, discover the Teaching Ideas and Activities section of the School History Project here.

New Learning Section in the Making on the Historiana Website

From 1 to 4 July 2013 EuroClio organised a special Historiana meeting in the Hague within the project EuropeanaCreative – History Education Pilot. The main aim of this meeting was the development of a new “Learning” section on the Historiana website. In this section there will be place for all items related to teaching and learning methods and challenges. It will feature resources such as guides, how to’s and exemplary lesson plans. The most innovative items will however be the Learning Tools. These tools allow teachers to create learning activities for their students online. This brings a whole new experience in the classrooms and on the way history can be taught. Online learning activities can be a very good addition to working with the regular textbooks.

In this meeting Historiana editors, the EuroClio Secretariat and the webdevelopers presented their ideas to teachers and historians to get critical feedback on their preliminary sketches. There was also the opportunity to work with sources from the Europeana database to develop some new ideas. Some really creative and inspiring work has been done and it brought new food for thought for both the Historiana team and the webdevelopers. The first prototypes for Learning Tools will be presented in autumn, so don’t throw your books out of the window just yet!

World War I on Historiana, get involved

In the March Newsletter it was announced that Historiana will be participating in a new project, Europeana Creative. Our involvement is with the pilot project on history education where we are working with our web design partner, Webtic, to develop a range of e-learning activities which will make use of some of the historical sources that can be found on the Europeana database. The development work has now begun and we will be hoping to involve some of you in piloting these activities with your students in the early autumn.

It is intended that these learning activities will be transferable so that we could employ them on Historiana with a wide variety of historical events and developments. However, clearly we cannot develop them in a vacuum so we have decided that in the first phase of the project we will focus on development of interactive learning activities within the context of World War I.

This was an obvious choice for Historiana. First, it is a topic covered in most school history curricula in Europe and, therefore, a development priority for us. Second, there is a lot of source material relating to the war on the Europeana database. This includes many hours of newsreel coverage, photographs, propaganda posters, postcards and letters sent home by members of the armed forces, military dispatches, newspaper coverage, and so on.

Work has also begun on developing a module on World War I to support these activities, including an animated time map, a timeline of key events and evidence-based information on the causes and consequences of the war. One of our main aims here is to provide history educators and their students with multiple perspectives on the war: not just different national perspectives (although that will be important) but also material reflecting the different perspectives and experiences of the soldiers at each front; the different ways newspapers covered the war and how the news was received on the home fronts; how the war was perceived in non-combatant countries; and how governments reacted to events and developments during the war.

To do this we need your help. If you would like to contribute source material relating to any of these perspectives, please contact Steven Stegers at:

EuroClio and Historiana presented in York

The Annual Conference of the Historical Association in the UK was held May 10 and 11 in York. Marjan de Groot-Reuvekamp, EuroClio board member, attended the conference to present EuroClio’s programme Historiana – Your Portal to the Past. She introduced EuroClio’s missions and aims and Historiana to English educators. The participants also got the opportunity to work with a brand new Historiana source collection. They were asked to brainstorm about new interactive learning ideas for this particular collection. The ideas developed during this brainstorm are used by the Historiana team as a starting point to further enhance the learning section of the Historiana website.

Workshop House of Europe, 15th of May 2013, The Hague

On Wednesday, the 15th of May, members of EuroClio Secretariat and EUROPEANA staff met each other at the House of Europe, in The Hague to discuss future strategies and actions for the Europeana Creative project. Furthermore, the group participated in a workshop about the use of business models in the nonprofit sector, with a specific focus on EuroClio’s and EUROPEANA’s activities and products, i.e. The History Education Pilot.

The workshop, led by representatives of EUROPEANA and European Business Network (EBN), was split in two parts. First, the findings of a market activity analysis survey made by EUROPEANA were presented. The survey explored the dynamics of cooperation between cultural, nonprofit organizations and businesses in the private sector. Then David Tee, Senior Consultant at EBN, introduced the concept of business models and its implementation in the private sector. After that, he focused on the CANVAS Business Model and its features. In the final part of the workshop the participants practically applied the model to the three innovative history teaching tools ideated the day before. To get a better impression of the day, click also to see our photo album.

House of Europe

Market analysis results

EUROPEANA has recently promoted a survey within its vast network of cultural associations and private organizations, with the aim to gain a better insight into the way businesses and cul-tural organizations cooperate and how they experience this cooperation. The findings are im-portant to understand how nonprofit organizations could implement successful partnerships with for-profit counterparts. Unfortunately, due to a low respondent rate of 13% and the lack of na-tional diversity among the respondents the statistical value and validity are questionable.

Overall, the results of the survey showed that businesses and cultural institutions equally con-tribute to the success of cooperation, playing their respective strengths. While cultural institutions provide content and projects, businesses do marketing and sell this content. However, the authors of the survey testified that cultural institutions are looking for new business models and new models of cooperation. In particular the goal is to find long-term partners and donors ready to sustain the activities of the organization beyond a project-specific donation. Other findings clarify the need to understand from both sides the project and its scope.

Companies look for a cooperation characterized by clear and transparent decision-making since the early stages of the project. Furthermore, too often cultural organizations underestimate the role and importance of branding. Cultural organizations need to build awareness towards their cause, mission and activities. In order to be attractive for private donors, nonprofit organizations need to first explore and assess their own qualities and strengths. A crucial step towards approaching private, corporate partners is the definition of what could be offered and asked by both sides.

Companies are keen to contribute to the cause of cultural organizations if they are able to propose them cooperation that follows S.M.A.R.T. criteria, e.g. a project that is Specific in its goals and objectives, Measurable in its performance, Attainable in the its practical achievability, Relevant in its results-orientation, and Time-bound. The main recommendation is to not approach the business if the organization does not have a clear vision in mind about the aims, the output and type of coopera-tion for both the organization itself as for the business counterpart. Then, how to address these issues? A solution is provided by the business model concept, a powerful tool for shaping the actual stakeholders of the organization and the value of its activities and products.

The business model CANVAS

“Business model are more about creating value than money.”

The Business Model describes the rational of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value: its customers, offer, infrastructure and financial viability. Every type of business model follows a specific logic towards the definition and implementation of the organizational structure that suits the most the needs and desires or partners and customers. A good business model al-lows the creation of value for the organization and its stakeholders.

The focus of the workshop has been on the business model CANVAS. This model is especially suitable for single products and is developed around nine blocks, here listed. It offers a tool to invent, describe, design and also challenge the activity/product/project you want to implement.

The 9 building blocks of Business Model CANVAS

1) Customer Segments: Which customers and users are we serving? Which jobs do they really want to get done?
2) Value Proposition: What are we offering to our customers? What is that getting done for them? Do they care?
3) Channels: Through which channels are our customer segments reached?
4) Customer Relationship: Which type of relationship does each of our customer segments expect us to establish and maintain with them?
5) Revenue Streams: What are you customers willing to pay for? How?
6) Key Resources: Which resources underpin our business model?
7) Key Activities: What key activities do our value propositions, customer relationship and revenue streams require?
8) Key Partners: Who are our key partners? Which partners and suppliers rely on our business model?
9) Cost Structure: What is the resulting cost structure? Which key elements drive your costs?

The key to the successful implementation of this model is how accurately these nine blocks are answered. A careful assessment of each block will clearly show how well the objectives have been defined, what are the strengths of the organization and what sections needs further assessment. The more people get involved into this process, the more chances the organization will have to understand what its customers and partners need and the more reliable the answers to the nine blocks will be.

How does the EUROPEANA Creative Project benefit from the implementation of the Business Model CANVAS?

The Business Model CANVAS concept allows a clear definition of factors that play a crucial role towards the success project. We can now define clearly who we want to achieve and keep in relationship with the project, through which channels, key resources, activities and partners. Moreover, specifying what are revenues and costs streams expected from the project we can bet-ter assess its sustainability.

We have the tool, we now need all the people involved in the project to share their ideas and views because everyone can offer the perspective we are missing to make EUROPEANA Crea-tive Project a success.

Co-Creation Workshop “History Education Beyond the Textbook”

On the 14th of May, EuroClio, Europeana and Platoniq organized a co-creation workshop entitled “History Education Beyond the Textbook”. History educators, web developers, designers and representatives of historical and cultural heritage institutes were all invited to come up with ideas about possible ways to use Europeana content and sources in history education in general, and in the a framework of Historiana in specific.

The day started with a couple of presentations on the purpose aims of the workshop, on Europeana Creative (a project aimed at the re-use of digitized sources on cultural heritage from European libraries, museums and archives within the Europeana database, a digital library/database containing primary European historical sources that allows the engagement of people with the European culture and history) and Historiana – Your Portal to the Past (EuroClios online multimedia tool for history and heritage education. These presentations incited discussions and preoperational thinking before lunch.

After lunch, all participants were asked to write down their ideas of on how they would like to use Europeana content in the classroom, how they would like to be able to use innovative technology and which learning outcomes they envisaged.

Before starting the next phase, the Historiana Editor-in-Chief Prof. dr.Robert Stradling held a presentation on the importance of the C- key words in history education: Context, Comparison, Contingency, Chronology, Consequence, Causality, Complexity, Continuity and Change. Then the participants were ready to start the workshop by forming six groups based on the most popular ideas which were identified by voting: “Critical Analysis of Sources”, “Compare and Create contrast”, “Dealing with Multiperspectivity”, “Encourage Historical Thinking”, “Migration” and “Innovative Ways to Tell a Historical Narrative”.

These groups got the task to develop a visualized visual concept for each of the six ideas, which led to the following outcomes:

  • Moving On: A world Map as a database source on migration
  • Keep in Touch, Bro: Analysing analyses of handwritten letters
  • Evolution of Leadership in Time: A tool to compare important European leaders by identifying their good and bad traits/policies.
  • Newspaper as the Tool for a multiperpective approach: To analyse newspapers and discover different ways of reporting the same event. One of the conditions for this concept is that non-english newspapers need an English transcription to make this tool better accessible in an international realm and to stimulate a cross-border teaching approach.
  • My Newsreal: Application to browse easily through different sources, to create one’s own news page item by selecting and combining sources and create the ability to share with others and embed the application in other websites.
  • Critical Analysis of Sources: An application that provides students with contextual information, interactive tools and comparative visual material to analyse and determine the reliability of a visual source on their own.

The Co-creating Co-creation workshop thus led to a range of interesting ideas and we would like to thank all the participants for their input and enthusiasm. The day ended with a nice dinner at Wicked Wines. To get a better impression of the day, click to see our photo album.

Also for Europeana Future Structural Funding is Insecure

In the Hague, on 24 April the Europeana Foundation Board, where EuroClio is member, was meeting to discuss a long agenda. Except for the ordinary topics, two issues stood out.

The first one was the sustainability of this incredible vast digital library collection. The structural funding is according to European Commissioner Kroes not guaranteed, providing that Europeana will not be able explain its goals, to demonstrate its impact and  (European) added value and to create (a greater) financial independence. Her proposed budget of for digital infrastructures for 2014-2020 has been reduced by 89%, and therefore obtaining grants  for implementing organisations, such as Europeanan will be extremely competitive. And also the political support for culture is not very fashionable. The other issue was the need to develop a improved model for Europeana Governance, better catering different groups of stakeholders and trying to obtain greater involvement of national authorities. Several working groups were established to address these issues. Get an impression about what Europeana can offer

On 14 and 15 May EuroClio and Europeana organise a co-creation workshop in The Hague

The aim of the co-creation workshop is to facilitate cooperation between the partners working on Historiana and the other EuropeanaCreative partners in order to further stimulate the re-use of Europeana’s cultural heritage resources through the Historiana portal. To reach this goal there will be attendants from the field of content providers and history educators. Web developer Webtic and editors Bob Stradling and Ineke Veldhuis-Meester will participate on behalf of the Historiana team.

The topics that are on the agenda for day 1 of the co-creation workshop are: various ways of presenting Europeana content on the Historiana portal; ways in which this content can be used for online learning; how these online learning activities can be used in the classroom; the further dissemination of Historiana and lastly: new features, uses or improvements for the history education pilot.

Day 2 will be about the ways in which content providers and web developers can support the process of stimulating the re-use of cultural heritage resources from the Europeana database through the Historiana portal.

EuropeanaCreative project kicks-off in Vienna

Partner organisations representing, Creative Industries,  Tourism, Education Professionals, Living Labs, Webdevelopers, Business Planning, Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions came together on February 21st at the Austrian National Library to kick-off the EuropeanaCreative project in which EuroClio is a partner. The project will  demonstrate that Europeana can facilitate the re-use of cultural heritage content made available by a diverse set of organisations. EuroClio role in the project is stimulate the re-use of this content by history educators.

An introduction of the project is available at More information:

Message of Bob Stradling, Historiana Editor in Chief

Regular readers of the EuroClio website and newsletter may recall that in September 2012 it was announced that the digital portal Europeana was opening up its dataset of over 20 million digitised images, documents and other cultural objects for free re-use. Given that so many of these objects relate to history and heritage this has important implications for history educators everywhere, but particularly across Europe.

Now a new project, Europeana Creative, supported by the European Commission as part of its Digital Agenda for Europe, has been implemented. Its primary aim is to demonstrate that Europeana can facilitate the creative re-use of its dataset.  Historiana and its web design partner Webtic, will have a role to play in this project. Europeana Creative has set up five pilot projects, one of which is on history education.  As part of this work we will be trawling through the Europeana dataset for resources that could be uploaded on to Historiana as source collections and as material to support and illustrate current and future historical case studies and core narratives.  But perhaps the more exciting aspect of the project is that we will also be working with Webtic to develop e-learning activities using these resources. Work on this has already begun and we envisage that it will lead to online activities on working with multiple perspectives, weighing evidence to support conclusions, using sources to make comparisons over time and space, planning an historical enquiry, analysing and interpreting photographs, cartoons, posters, historical maps and important documents. Given the huge dataset that is available we have decided to focus initially on five content areas where there appears to be a lot of material available. These are the Napoleonic Wars, Emigration to America, The First World War, European cooperation and Remembrance sites. We will keep you updated on future developments in this very fruitful collaboration.


Bob Stradling

Historiana editor-in-chief