I teach English as a second language in a middle school in Italy and my curriculum for students aged 11-12 covers the ability to report about events that happened in the past. Therefore I thought that the scenario “Imagine Life Before the Internet” could be a good way to introduce and practice the past while talking about the Internet, which is an important part of our students’ life.
Furthermore, this scenario fostered reflection about good and bad uses of the Internet and technology in general through a comparison between nowadays and life before the Internet.
How I adjusted it to my class
Although it was not possible to use all the links reported in the scenario, since they were mostly in Greek to introduce the topic, the idea of creating a brainstorming about what we use the internet for today proved very successful.
We started with a think-pair-share activity, in which the teacher asks each student to think individually of the answer to the central question, namely “What do we use the Internet for?”. Then, students had to discuss the answers with a partner or a small group and then with the whole class to build a collaborative mind map which then each group reported in a PowerPoint presentation.
Based on the mind map, students were asked to think and search for the means which were used in the past to do the same actions. In this respect, Europeana portal was very useful. Students were asked to search for this information in the portal by searching keywords. The result was amazing also in terms of extension of the vocabulary because they were obliged to look up synonyms if they could not recover the wanted information or images and they even tried a search in other languages they know, French and Italian.
Taking the lesson outside of the classroom
Once they had completed the mindmap in PowerPoint, we organized a visit to the local museum of typewriters. This replaced the video on the Greek ICT museum virtual tour while giving an idea of how technological devices can become an item to exhibit in a museum. Once back in the classroom, the students created their own virtual museum using simple PowerPoint presentations or some of them used Cospaces.io to create a 3D museum.
This scenario exploits very well Europeana potential by making young people aware also of a way of living very different from ours! The students were amazed by how many things they could, in fact, do from their PC or mobile simply connected to the Internet and some of them said they had never thought before of how things could be in the past.
Important support in learning about the past was also given by Europeana exhibitions such as the one about recording and playing machines, besides the Historiana collection on the evolution of mobile phones. It was really great for my students to recover this heritage which they would have never known about in other ways!
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?
Imagine Life Before the Internet by Sofronia Maravelaki
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