This scenario was implemented after the end of our school timetable to a small group of our Erasmus + students. These students are in the second year of implementation of our Erasmus+ project “Cultural Heritage as a Catalyst of creative entrepreneurship”. Our project involves teaching subjects such as English, ICT, Arts, History. This group of students was also the one that worked with me for Europeana lessons last year. Therefore, they were already acquainted with the Europeana platform and digital cultural heritage in general. It was a small team of 12 students, aged 17.
I chose this scenario because I thought it was an experiential activity, easy to implement, and it would be well received by the students. I followed, more or less, the structure indicated in the scenario. But I also made some small adjustments.
In the beginning, I divided students into groups of 3. Afterwards, I decided who would be the steady member of the group. I had the others move to other teams faster than it is proposed in the scenario. Then I had students pick pictures out of the 4 by downloading them in a file instead of sending them a QR code because mobile phones are not allowed in our schools.
For the second part, I followed the steps written in the original learning scenario. The students wrote a story based on the picture. They chose but I made them change teams and let them take different colours of pens each time, to increase the level of difficulty. In the end, they switched stories and evaluated them according to the rubrics of the scenario.
After the implementation of this lesson, the students spent quality time being active, commenting and recreating picture stories based on Europeana material. They were not bored by the activity, given that they were at the end of a school day, they thought it was fun, time-controlled and interesting. A new element to them was that they would evaluate the stories of their fellow students using criteria described in the rubrics given by the lesson.
Students appreciated this lesson because they could work on a piece of art while actually playing the world café. they could go beyond the image to create a story of their own. The task seemed easy to implement and they stayed active the whole time.
After the evaluation, I asked my students if they would like this lesson method to be applied to other lessons of the curriculum. We decided it could be a nice opportunity to use the World café method in Language lessons, History and Philosophy. I believe that this type of lesson is a very effective way for teachers to introduce Europeana resources to students. Even if they never had any experience with Europeana before.
I would strongly recommend to my fellow teachers to use digital cultural heritage while teaching, especially in History, Language, Science and Arts. Students will be able to appreciate cultural heritage in more diverse ways. Furthermore, using Europeana items for this lesson was very easy. I think Europeana gives teachers the chance to explain copyright issues and to advise students to respect them accordingly when they are asked to produce material based on them.
Other relevant Europeana resources
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World Cafe Stories by Natasa Tram
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The featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and belongs to the public domain.