Implementation of ‘Exploring and Questioning Philosophical Ideas Through Images’ (SOI-EXT-188)

My implementation was based in the learning scenario “Exploring and questioning philosophical ideas through images”.  As the famous writer from Chile Luis Sepulveda unfortunately «left» from life a few days ago, leaving behind many favourite books, I thought that it was a really good idea for my students to get familiar with his interesting life through images that they could look for in Europeana galleries. So the students had the opportunity to explore pictures, to relate them to the life of Luis Sepulveda, to organise them, to present them and of course to comment on them and justify their options.

The implementation context

In my online  implementation I worked with students at the age of 13. I hadoneonline groups whichconsisted of 20 students. The students had no previous familiarity with digital cultural heritage and with Europeana site but they had familiarity with ICT and digital resources so they were very well adapted to our way of working. We used two official educational digital platforms of the greek ministry of education and the conditions of our working were quite good as we didn’t have serious problems to cope with. The subjects I chose to implement in the learning scenario were greek language, literature, art and ICT. I chose the subject of language because the students had to present and justifie their options in oral, written and multi modal texts,  I chose literature because Luis Sepulveda was a wtiter so we read parts of his books and we commented on them, art as the selection of pictures was a necessary part of this implementation and ICT as we generally worked in a digital environment and the students had to use ICT in order to present their work.

The narrative

Using this learning scenario, I had to make some adaptions to the resource.

In my implementation there are four different parts.

First part (1 hour)

During this on line meeting with my students, we talked about the life of Luis Sepulveda. We read together some articles about his life, his writings and his way of thinking and acting. We tried to ger familiar with his personality and we insisted on his values and his beliefs like democracy, freedom, fighting for human rights, travelling all around world, volunteering, being a part of an ecological organisations, helping people, writing for children and adults.

Second part (2 hours)

In this second online meeting, we read some particular parts from Luis Sepulveda books like the book The story of a cat who taught a seagull to fly. Through this reading, the students understood better Luis Sepulveda as a writer and realized the ideas in which he believed.

Third part (1 hour)

In this third on line meeting we explored Europeana site as the students were not familiar with it. I explained the students the content and the aims of Europeana and the task they had for our next on line meeting. Their task was to search pictures in Europeana galleries (Sepulveda spent a big part of his life in Europe and admired the European culture)and to relate them to Luis Sepulveda life, values and beliefs. They had to work in teams of 2-3 students and to prepare a digital presentation-a multimodal text justifying their choices.

Fourth part (2 hours)

In this last online meeting the students presented what they had prepared.  They presented the picture they had chosen and they had to explain why they have chosen that picture and in which way the picture is related to Luis Sepulveda life and writing. They also answered the questions of their classmates.

Learning outcomes

The main learning outcomes I achieved with the (online) implementation of the learning scenario were:

  1. The students combined the life of a writer with visual literacy.
  2. The students realized the power of images and that the images often have symbolic meanings and involve emotions and imagination.
  3. The students exercised their critical thinking through analysis, synthesis and questioning.
  4. The students learnt to combine the abstract with the concrete. As the values and the beliefs of a person are abstract and the pictures illustrate something particular, the students were taught to combine  these two elements.
  5. The students developed their Knowledge of the European heritage and their digital literacy as they hat to look for information in Europeana platform.
  6. The students  learnt to cooperate with other students in order to solve a problem and to present their work to other students.

The students reacted positively during the implementation of this learning scenario and they found interesting the fact that they had to illustrate the life of a writer with images. They didn’t know the Europeana platform so they were really surprised by the resources of cultural heritage. One of the teams, for example, chose the following image and of course, they explained why they chose it: and another team chose the picture of Chopin from this gallery: combining the life of Luis Sepulveda with the life of Chopin.

This learning scenario is easily implemented as it’s very clear and well-structured so the only thing I would like to say to other teachers is to decide on the adaptions they want to make before they implement it and the outcomes they want to achieve.

Teaching outcomes

To other educators who think to use digital cultural heritage in their teaching I would say that it’s worth trying it because the use of cultural heritage in our teaching methods  can give us the chance to work in a different, more innovative way and make our students becone more critical and come closer to the idea of European identity.

The usage of Europeana resources was very easy as it is a platform very well-structured and everyone will definately find what he is looking for.

Teachers and students who want to make effective use of Europeana rescourses should know exactly what they want to look for and what they want to achieve. The Europeana platform is a very rich digital space which becomes bigger and bigger so before somebody starts should explore this digital place and get familiar with it. In implementing this scenario I used the Europeana galleries but of course there are also other resources that can be used virtually. The collections, the teaching scenarios, the blogs, the different exhibitions,  the proposed activities like the jigsaw puzzles for example can be used virtually in many different ways.

This Story of Implementation has been created by Alexandra Gerakini, finalist of the Europeana Education Competition 2020 in the following category: ‘Teaching with digital cultural heritage in secondary schools’.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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