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2 minutes to read Posted on Thursday February 23, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Marco Neves

Marco Neves

Agrupamento de Escolas da Batalha

portrait of Georgia Evans

Georgia Evans

Senior Editorial Officer , Europeana Foundation

Coding, APIs and education with Low Code Fest winner My Monastery - a digital adventure!

Low Code Fest 2022 encouraged students and educators to use Europeana’s APIs and data to develop innovative approaches and projects. We hear from staff and students at the Agrupamento de Escolas da Batalha who tell us about their winning project My Monastery - a digital adventure!

Screenshot of the winning project website
Screenshot of the winning project website My Monastery: a digital adventure!
Marco Neves

Can you tell me about your institution? 

We are a public school in Batalha, in the centre of Portugal. We have about 2,000 students from kindergarten to secondary school, and 200 teachers. We try to involve our students in many different projects and initiatives (including Erasmus). As an ambassador for EUN, when I saw the Low-Code Fest Initiative I thought this was exactly what we were looking for because my 12th grade students of informatics develop projects related to software and digital. 

What did your project want to achieve?

Our school has a very close relationship with the famous Monastery of Batalha, and so the students developed their project in partnership with the monastery. The aim was to use digital activities and an app to encourage teachers and students (who may be less interested in cultural heritage) to develop interest in the monastery through digital artefacts. 

How did you use Europeana's APIs and data from Europeana in your project? 

Once our proposal was accepted we met with technicians from the monastery to discuss how to achieve our main goal - to attract young people to the monastery. We started to develop a website which tells the history of the monastery through four main characters, and a script which structured the space of the monastery. This approach resulted from the brainstorming with the students and technicians - it was very interesting because it really put people into life in the monastery. 

From searches on the Europeana platform we saw that there was lots of information related to the monastery and its history available. We decided to use the API to bring content from the Europeana website to the website that we are building; it’s currently in draft but we are working to bring it to life! 

Screenshot of a quotation from My Monastery: a digital adventure!
Screenshot of a quotation from My Monastery: a digital adventure!
Marco Neves
Screenshot of a quotation from My Monastery: a digital adventure!

How was your experience of using the APIs? 

At the beginning it was not straightforward for the students, even if they had experience and knowledge of software development. They had some difficulties inputting what we needed, but having support from the webinars organised through Low-Code Fest, and from Jolan Wuyts at the Europeana Foundation was very beneficial!

Once they understood more about the APIs - that through an interface, their website can connect with a big platform like the Europeana website, which could push content directly to it (rather than having to copy across and extract information) - they found this very interesting and beneficial to work with. 

Did you use any other technical tools that you had never used before?

In addition to the APIs, the students explored tools related to web development, app development and prototyping (for example, Sigma). 

We would love to hear from your students directly - what was the most valuable thing that they learned from the programme?

The students reflected that, ‘It was a great adventure to participate in this project and to be one of the three finalist projects. We learned a lot about digital cultural heritage and its importance not only in the dissemination but also in its preservation. The opportunity to collaborate with the Monastery was very important and the workshops with experts from various areas even more exciting. This kind of initiative should be common in schools, where we can interact with experts from various areas because it motivates us to learn a lot.’

‘From the programme, and regarding the technical issues of APIs, we learned that the optimization of speed in services utilising APIs is crucial. In our view, a fast and responsive API can make a substantial impact on the user experience, leading to improved satisfaction and efficiency. 

They also shared that, ‘We are super excited to go to Italy to share our project idea and learn even more about this whole subject.’

Students who are participating in the project, Vasco, Thiago, and Pedro in front of the Monastery
Students involved in the project in front of the Batalha Monastery
Students who are participating in the project, Vasco, Thiago, and Pedro in front of the Monastery

What's next for your team?

We will continue to work on developing the website, and also an app which will allow people to explore the monastery at night. We hope that this will encourage more young people to explore the monastery, and also raise awareness of the importance of digital cultural heritage in engaging with students. 

As mentioned, we are also delighted that two of the students involved in the project will do internships in the monastery and one of the projects they will be working on is the website that we began as part of Low-Code Fest. 

The students were so involved, so motivated, and so proud to have the opportunity to take part in the Low-Code Fest and win. They are also very excited to go to Italy and have the opportunity to show their work and interact with other teams as part of the Social Hackathon Umbria

Find out more 

Explore and use Europeana’s APIs or discover more opportunities to use digital cultural heritage in education by signing up for the upgraded ‘Digital Education with Cultural Heritage’ 2023 MOOC.