giovedì 7 gennaio 2016

WW1 - Teaching ideas about the best ways for introducing and working on the topic

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  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.

3 commenti:

  1. You have a great blog. You really work hard on these posts and you are so creative. I will try to visit more often.

    1. Thanks Natasa,
      it is my CPD , I started by chance when I was doing some MOOCs on line and I worked on two blogs which I am now continuing. It is my " world" where I keep the notes and the interesting things which I have learnt and done. It is a pity that I have lost the job I liked and now I am working in a reality which is " odd" for me. Just pen and paper while I do need to work on digital skills and more. My students do not even have good TV sets for showing films and work on debates........

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