‘Inventions and discoveries’ was used in my classroom with 12-year-olds following the topic of famous persons from the past and biographical information. I am an English as a Foreign Language teacher in a small primary school in Croatia and I like the topic of the learning scenario because it can be a way of showing the students how hard work and learning can lead to great things. It was the first time my students have used Europeana as a source of information. Even though my class and school are small, the ICT room is well-equipped. Moreover, the digital skills are incorporated in the majority of curricula, EFL as well, so the use of ICT for learning is welcome in the classroom.
Famous people from the past
After reading about a dozen of famous persons’ lives I used the scenario to try out Europeana as a resource. I used only one 45-minute lesson to do the discussion and the Europeana search. I wanted my students to understand the necessity to respect intellectual property and to use critical thinking and reading for information while searching for information on the web. The first activity was discussing the inventions and discoveries, as described in the LS. I changed the teamwork into individual work because we have enough computers and the class is small. The most challenging activity for me was how to introduce the Europeana Collections website to students and to explain how to use filters for the search.
It was a pleasant surprise to see how easily they could search through the site. We finished the lesson with voting in an Edmodo poll about the most important invention/discovery for humanity. Presentations were homework. They could choose to do a poster in A3 size or bigger.
Learning through inventions and Europeana
My students understand that the information they find on the web is not always true. They can use pictures from the web if they are free to reuse and they should name the source and/or author. The discussion and the poll showed they see the value inventors have for the people’s lives. One student commented: ‘Who to present? I want to choose all of them.’.
For fast learners, I found an additional Europeana resource to read and work on during the extra classes; it might be used with older students.
I find Europeana images material as the most useful for the primary / lower secondary classes. Depending on the topic, Europeana blog is also a fun and interesting platform for practising reading comprehension; it can be used alongside the students’ book or as the main resource to read about a topic.
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Inventions and Discoveries created by Tomislav Povlovic
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