A special #AskLetters1916 Twitter chat will take place on Wednesday 25th November 2015 from 7.00-8.00pm (GMT.) The focus for the chat is:
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR TEACHERS USING DIGITAL PRIMARY SOURCES IN THE CLASSROOM, AND HOW CAN THEY BE ADDRESSED?
Our next chat which explores the practicalities of using digital primary sources in the classroom will be hosted by Sara J Kerr of Maynooth University.
Developments in technology and increasing digitization of archive collections mean that there is a fantastic range of primary source material freely available to the general public. However, are schools aware of these resources and to what extent are they used in the classroom?
The Letters of 1916 project has worked with a wide variety of archives and private collections (for example the National Archives of Ireland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, The National Archives UK and the New York Public Library) to source and digitize letters written between Nov 1915 and Oct 1916 with the aim of creating a snapshot of life in 1916 in Ireland and beyond.
The collection of letters enables us to gain an insight into the lives of people in their own words, creating a personal connection, something textbooks can not achieve. Through the letters we can learn about the experience of World War I soldiers in the trenches and as prisoners of war. We can also learn about the impact of the war on civilians, for example the Zeppelin bombing raids on Hull or the thoughts of a parent whose son is missing in action.
The letters provide an excellent opportunity to introduce students to primary historical sources, while also bringing the people in them to life through their own words. So, how can we encourage their use?
One way we have sought to develop greater collaboration and use of the sources is through the 1916 in Transition project. The brought together the Letters of 1916, the Military Archives, the Bureau of Military History and a group of teachers from across Ireland to create a series of fully resourced lesson plans aimed at Irish Transition Year students. The plans are available on the Military Archives website.
However, we would like to encourage even wider use of the letters as an educational resource, so, what are the challenges for teachers using digital primary sources in the classroom, and how can they be addressed?
Sara J Kerr (@data_fiend) and the Letters of 1916 team will be online from 7.00pm on Wednesday 25th November and we would love to hear your input!
Sample letters referred to in the blog post:
http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/diyhistory/items/show/2246 – son missing in action
http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/diyhistory/items/show/221 – bombing raids in Hull
http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/diyhistory/items/show/264 – letter from the trenches
Tweet the team!
The people behind Letters of 1916 are on Twitter:
Professor Susan Schreibman | Twitter: @schreib100
Karolina Badzmierowska | Twitter: @karolinabadz
Emma Clarke | Twitter: @clarke__emma
Vinayak Das Gupta | Twitter: @bilusaurus
Richard Hadden | Twitter: @oculardexterity
Hannah Healy | Twitter: @HannaHealy
Shane McGarry | Twitter: @irishgeek79
Neale Rooney | Twitter: @NealeRo
Linda Spinazzé | Twitter: @codices_hunter