I am James Callus Head of Department Digital Literacy from Malta. I implemented an adapted version of the learning scenario Jobs in the Past by Sari Hopeakoski in a Year 6 class (9/10-years-old) in one of the schools I support. These students are in the final year of their primary education before joining middle school next scholastic year.
Why Jobs in the Past?
The learning scenarios uploaded in the Europeana portal are very inspiring and offer students the opportunity to nurture 21st-century competences. Initially, I could not decide which learning scenario I was going to implement since all of them are highly interesting and motivating. While reflecting on the LS, my attention always shifted to Jobs in the Past since recently I had a discussion with the students about the ubiquitous use of technology in today’s life. So how was life in the old times when the use of technology was very limited? This was the beginning of our discussion and Jobs in the Past provided the right context considering that the fourth industrial revolution has already commenced.
Implementation of Jobs in the Past
During the initial stages of the lesson, the Europeana Collections portal was mentioned and students were familiarised with the resources included in the learning scenario. Students were highly interested in the photographs especially since they portrayed a different lifestyle they are not accustomed to. Students commented that in the majority of the photographs, the activities took place in the streets. This implies that the majority of the workers could not afford a proper shop to sell their products. Moreover, they were concerned about the lack of regulations to safeguard food handling and consumption. They appreciated the progress made in this regard since they were relating their personal experience when they visited various food outlets with their parents. They also commented that most of the jobs included in this learning scenario have become either obsolete or are being done in a totally different way to achieve higher standards.
To personalise the lesson, students were asked to select a picture from the ones included in the learning scenario. Then they used the app PicSay to create a digital poster. They were asked to think about what it really meant to do the selected job in the past. To create the poster students availed themselves of the school tablets and the pictures were downloaded from the online environment. Students uploaded their work once they finished their poster.
This learning scenario is ideal to create a discussion in class and make students reflect on how life changed in the past years. I would like to share two comments which I think reflect students’ level of engagement during the lesson. One student commented that in the old pictures people did not smile. She was also referring to the ones she came across at her home. One student answered that this could be due to the fact that people were not accustomed to taking photos or selfies like today. It was argued that in those days the camera was still an innovative technology. In most cases, people had to go to a photographer to capture the moment because they could not afford it.
Another student distinguished among the photos included in this learning scenario and commented that there are pictures which look older than the others. When I encouraged him to give a reason for his statement he said that in photography nowadays we use the sepia effect to create that effect.
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?
Jobs in the Past by Sari Hopeakoski
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The featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and belongs to the public domain.