WW1- A MOOC course from FutureLearn and interesting ideas about how to approach the theme with students of English
Last year I was able to do some courses online that focussed on the topic of WW1. I did more than two MOOC courses thanks to Futurelearn, a platform which provided me with plenty of ideas about how to work with my secondary school students of the 5th year who are going to study for the final year exams. What's more I wrote some online activities to enhance teaching by using technology too and I chose this topic for my activities online which were done for some other MOOCs. It is only a pity that I am working in a school where technology is really poor and my students cannot work online in class, some do not even have an internet access at home.
This is the link to the post I wrote about the last MOOC which I had liked and was offered by Futurelearn.
I am doing another course now and it is " WW1 Heroism: through Art and Film".
I liked the approach as the tutors online guided people through the discovery of what happened in Europe in the years 1914-1918. We could learn about artists who depicted the atrocities of what they had seen while others celebrated the power of the great heroes who were sent to the front and died.
The Red Baron was a great hero for the Germans and his name was later remembered by the Nazis to underline the values in which he believed and that made him a man who had fought for his country.Today we know that he was or became a symbol of the Nazis.
The films which were mentioned had to do with different cultures: WW1 was different
for the British, the Germans and the French.
I could not learn about Italy and it was difficult to find information about our artists. I know that we had Futurism in Italy but I could not find paitings about WW1 which could be compared with the British ones.
For most people the war should end in a short time and men were encouraged to enlist as they should defend their country. Women must have been proud of their husbands and children who went to war.
I liked the first part of the MOOC which dealt with the posters and we were asked to carry out our research online and to share what we had learnt. Our research was about a sort of propaganda that aimed at reaching men and women and the British hero was a man who decided to leave his family to go abroad and fight for his country. Women would remain at home and would wait for their husbands to come back home. What happened was a sad reality. Many died while others could not work and could not forget what they had seen in the trenches.
A second important point was the research about books and films that described the topic of WW1,
The MOOC has offered a lot of interesting links to online materials that we can exploit online and which we can share and use with our students.
Our padlet about posters and propaganda offers an interesting activity of what we can do with our students: they can research information and then upload what they have found online and share it.
Padlet can be used from home and students do not need to register, it is up to the teacher to choose what kind of padlet to design and to check what is shared on line. We can also decide not to embed the activity on the school website or blog and just work on it as a project. The link can be shared by students who will work from home and develop a collaborative project. They could also add more information and explain why they chose some images or posters.
This is our padlet :just have a look at it and think about the potentialities it can offer also for blended learning activities and project works.
For more links and information about WW1 I particularly liked this website:
My great love for this topic is related to poetry in English and the so-called " War poets", and if I had to work on the topic of WW1 I would choose the poems by W.Owen and R.Brooke who present different attitudes as regards the idea of war and British patriotism.
A writer who I would like to remember would be Vera Brittain- a pacifist- who wrote a book in which she presented how WW1 deeply changed her life. The title of the book is Testament of Youth.
You can read some extracts from her book by following this link https://web.viu.ca/davies/H482.WWI/Brittain.TestamentofYouth.excerpts.htm or you could watch the trailer of the film which was released in 2015.
I carried out a research online and was able to find this short film " The Collector" which is a masterpiece as it depicts the story of a soldier while he is at war and we see him while he thinks about the happy moments in his life.The man seems to be obsessed with things that remind him of his enemies and the ones who were killed but he will die too. Other students chose some classical films or books. You can find a lot of resources and most of them are free and very usefull for online presentations.
THE COLLECTOR WW1 Short (S16mm) from Lorne Guy on Vimeo.
If we want to work online and develop a flipped approach to teach we can find many resources which are shared by many educators . I found this infographic that can help us understand how this war marked the history of men and women at the beginnin of the twentieth century: slideshares, pinterest and also pearltrees are good social marking tools that can provide us with many interesting ideas for presentations online or if we want to embed them in our webpages.
I wish to thank the teachers in the course which I did because they were nice supporters in our course.
Thanks to the University of Leeds that ran it.