Implementation of ‘Epidemias en Europa (SoI-ES-200)’

Context for the implementation

The living conditions of the people as a result of the change that the Industrial Revolution brought about in their lives, were addressed in the school lessons. We discussed how the change from a rural society to an urban society meant an increase in diseases. This, at the same time, brought a revolution in medicine to fight them, not only meaning a change in the paradigm of medical science but also the origin of modern epidemiology. All this came as a reference to the difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the implementation of this learning scenario, the students looked for the information about pandemics which devastated Europe since we have records, in order to contribute in three intercommunicated padlets:

  • one referred to the scientific-medical part, indicating a brief historical review and the characteristics of the main pandemics that devastated the continent,
  • another one with a map of the areas with the highest incidence of some of the diseases, and
  • a third one with works of art related to the pandemics, which includes a painting made by one of the female students.
Students during the implementation. CC-BY-SA Juan Antonio Colao

Implementing the Learning Scenario

When it came to discussing the subject with the students, I thought it was appropriate to turn it into volunteer work, making them participate in the enthusiasm of getting to know the history of the preceding pandemics in Europe, as well as investigating and endorsing a joint project that could be beneficial to other European students. To do this, and as the author of the learning scenario proposes, I focused it on three development parameters. The first one was that of medical-scientist, in charge of which were two of the 4th-grade classes that opted for the science speciality. The second was the historical-demographic one, which was commissioned by another course that was more focused on the teaching of the humanities. Finally, the third one referred to the artistic aspects, for which I resorted to the students who are studying History of Art in High School, of which subject I am a teacher. To this extent, each student in each class that participated in the implementation was in charge of making a contribution in the form of a sticker on a Padlet, with the idea of ​​creating a set which, once finished, would serve as an informative poster that could be placed in the classrooms as an informative reference on the subject to be discussed.

Thus, and as I already pointed out, one of the padlets, Epidemics/Pandemics in Europe, would contain a set of historical reviews on diseases together with an exhibition of their characteristics. This was based on stickers, where each student chose a disease and a link to an item of the Europeana resource pool. A second Padlet would consist of a map in which the History and Demography group would discuss the incidence of each disease by country, along with the number of victims and the development of the epidemic. Finally, a third Padlet would be dedicated to the aspect of epidemics from an art standpoint, in which works that have captured each epidemic at each historical moment would be presented, presided over as a whole by a student dedicated to the subject.

Students contributing to the common Padlet. CC-BY-SA Juan Antonio Colao

In principle, and being faithful to the spirit in which the author developed the LS, it was proposed so that each student was free to make their contribution from their homes, since it was introduced with the idea of ​​being developed during the home confinement of March 2020. To that extent, we spent two to four sessions in class to carry out an active search for resources in Europeana, to make sure that they understood how they could make contributions to the Padlets, etc. To complete this and establish what was learned, a Google Form was created through questions asked by the students themselves based on their contributions, with the intention of being developed in class in a kind of a competition game.

Afterthoughts:

It was originally planned to be completed in the last week before the Christmas holidays, and in fact implementation was largely well underway. However, several students asked for the margin that the holidays gave us to be able to make their contributions, including the young author of the beautiful painting that represents the set and that I show in the following photograph:

Epidemias en Europa. CC-BY-SA Moraima Núñez

Therefore, and despite the fact that in its essence the implementation was completed, I allowed the margin to be greater so that the murals that make up the group of contributions from the students were enriched. The implementation story was a success among the students, developing an interest in it, and this is reflected in the numerous contributions made and the questions that were forged throughout this development.

On Europeana Resources:

The abundance of resources offered by the Europeana collections allows the development and consultation of material that can be used not only to provide information but also to reinforce the content displayed, as was the case in the form of links (mostly) to graphic material, bibliographic resources, etc. Despite them, some students contributed images they found on the Internet to add to the content, especially in the art section.

Links to products developed over the implementation:

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?

Epidemias en Europa (ES-CUR-423) – Teaching With Europeana (eun.org)

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

Public Domain: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

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