Implementation of “Epidemias en Europa” (SOI-GR-407)

Author: Vassiliki Yiannou, Upper secondary History teacher

School/Organization: 2nd General Lyceum of Evosmos, Thessaloniki, Greece

The Learning Scenario “Epidemias en Europa ES-CUR-423” was chosen not only because it matched with the History syllabus, but also it dealt with a very recent topic, the pandemics, the management of which over time would be interesting to examine in the classroom.

The implementation

The lesson delivered was about the end of the Medieval period in Europe, and we focused on how the Plague, which was spread out that time, accelerated changes.  The comparison with the recent Covid-29 period was unavoidable.

 The class was consisted of 20 students (16-17 group age), who worked in 4 groups of 3 and the rest in pairs. The implementation lasted 90 min and the whole process was carried out in the school computer lab. 

Τhe idea.

The original LS was designed as interdisciplinary. In a History lesson the aspect that should be emphasized is, of course, the historical. The idea was the students to combine historical thinking skills (ie. analyzing primary sources, distinguish causes and effects, connect the past with the present and be able to draw conclusions) with the use of ITC.  For that reason, I built an e-activity on Historiana platform based on the topic.Historiana, an application created by EuroClio, where educators can search the collections of museums, archives and libraries, and can create eLearning Activities in their language of choice, is connected with Europeana.

The adjustment.

Historiana e-activity builder enables the teacher to create a series of online activities for his/her students on a historical topic. It gives him/her the opportunity  to write a text (ie the historical context), to pose open ended  questions to the students, to embed multimedia material and to upload primary sources, in order the students to analyze, compare, sort annotate them or make a mind map on them. In other words, focuses on the development of students’ historical thinking through the use of ICT. ( Here you can find  a tutorial video of the use of Hostoriana). 

As the goal was the students to get familiar with the causes and effect of the Plague in the end of the Medieval period, written and visual primary sources were combined, the greatest part of which come from the European platform. Apart from sorting, annotating and comparing sources, open-ended questions were included in between, in order the students’ answers to be assessed.

Lastly, using the appropriate Europeana’s sources, the students were called to draw conclusions on how epidemics were confronted in various periods of time and what the role of science and the information of the public were. 

You can find the e-activity described above on Historiana (in Greek) here.

Learning outcomes

The primary objectives of the lesson were fully achieved. As Historiana e-builder gives the opportunity for assessment and feedback, from the students’ answers it was clear that they understood what the Plague was and how it reformed medieval  Europe. They also had made the connection between past and present and they used ICT. Although no previous experience from students’ part on using Historiana and Europeana platforms existed, their fluency on digital devices overcame all obstacles and no extra time (beyond 90 min) for further explanations was needed.

A questionnaire was distributed at the whole class at the end of the lesson and it came out that students really appreciated the process and suggested more similar activities.

The original Learning Scenario is well structured and gives the educator multiple perspectives on a historical event to implement in his/her class.

 Alternative teaching method

This e- activity can be given totally online, as it can be shared with the students who  can send it back to the teacher for feedback.

Working with Europeana in the classroom

Using Europeana’s digital sources enriched and expanded my History lessons. Its abundance of material and the variety of topics and ideas that an educator can find in the platform is a motive for everyone to use it in the classroom, regardless his/her specialty. It is also a unique opportunity for students of all ages to get familiar with a digital heritage repository, of such a kind.

Additional Europeana sources used to this SoI:

Boccaccio’s ‘The plague of Florence in 1348’

Face of a man suffering from smallpox. Vaccination against smallpox.

Serbian PoWs being treated in Rotterdam

Poster: Terrence Higgins Trust advertising AIDS awareness

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? “Epidemias en Europa (ES-CUR-423) created by José María Díaz Fuentes

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

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Albertina.

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