Children stories…. from the past (LS-IT-110)

The oldest means for transferring knowledge

What is better than telling a story to practice language and communication skills? Using augmented reality for storytelling! The experience will be even more unforgettable and complete if it is connected to a period in history which characterizes the culture of the country whose language your students are studying, and to the unfortunately evergreen social gap between rich and poor. The final touch is the inspiring images in Europeana and to Metaverse. Thus the story becomes “reality”; interactive storytelling in the Victorian age with your students!

The Victorian Era and English as a second language

During History class, my students learnt about the Industrial Revolution and about children working in factories. Therefore I thought it could be a good idea to connect this History lesson to my English curriculum. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution started in the UK during the reign of Queen Victoria and then spread all over Europe.

The lesson started with an online brainstorming; students empathized with labour children and how hard their life was at the turn of the century. Through the online sites and videos on Victorian children and the Industrial Revolution, students gained insights into the social gap between rich and poor classes. They were then free to create the story of an imaginary child living in Victorian England: routines, family, likes and dislikes, and their dreams. Instructions were to tell the story in the first person’s perspective to facilitate the use of English in telling the story. Each part of the story had to be associated with images from Europeana. I also introduced Europeana to my students in order for them to get familiarized with the platform. The students agreed with the teacher possible search words and tested them.

Storytelling with a twist: augmented reality

The stories created using the provided template were then implemented in Metaverse creation tool and app to create interactive augmented reality scenes. In each scene, there is a character who tells something to the reader/user. So the reader/user can interact with the scenes in different ways. The “user” can interactively choose different paths in the story or answer the questions the character asks. Some students even created a wall on which the reader could leave a message for the child. The Europeana database was very useful in this context. Students could search for the images of the “characters” or the “scenes” to show in the augmented reality experience. If you like, you can have a look at the stories by downloading Metaverse app and scanning the following QR codes.

QR codes leading to the stories created by students
Images of QR codes leading to the stories created by students

The Story of labour children told

By searching on Europeana, students became aware of the many aspects of child labour in Victorian England that they had not realized before. The images they found made the stories more “real”. Thanks to augmented reality, the readers became part of the story and could decide on the path to follow. This is a new way of approaching storytelling which is very engaging for the students of all ages.

Want to know more about this scenario? Here is a link to download it

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CC BY 4.0 – The featured image used to illustrate this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. It can be found in the Wellcome collection. The original image has been resized and labelled to illustrate this article.

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