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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday October 13, 2015

Updated on Monday October 9, 2017

Europeana launches Multi-Touch book and iTunes U course on interpreting the outbreak of World War I

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Europeana has launched its first Multi-Touch book and iTunes U course for use in classrooms, an important step forward in its goal to bring history to life for learners through the use of digital cultural collections in education.

The book and accompanying course, World War I: A battle of perspectives, were developed jointly with EUROCLIO and Gwen Vergouwen, an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) and Belgian history teacher as part of Apple’s ADEs in Residence programme, which pairs selected teachers with some of the world’s leading cultural organizations.

Available in both Dutch and English, the book and course introduce students and history enthusiasts to different interpretations of what caused the First World War. Together, the linked materials demonstrate the ways in which digital cultural content can engage students and support traditional learning.

Learners are encouraged to map their own path through diverse historical sources from Europeana 1914-1918’s collections and learning resources from EUROCLIO, and independently develop an understanding of events leading to the outbreak of war in 1914. Using Multi-Touch technology, they are able to analyse and explore a fascinating array of material, from postcards to propaganda, handwritten letters to satirical cartoons.

The education sector is a key market for Europeana, and the project with EUROCLIO and ADE Gwen Vergouwen is a groundbreaking achievement in this field. It successfully builds on Europeana’s commitment with experts, member state and EU policy-makers in a recent White Paper to open up digital cultural heritage for use in education and develop digital learning resources fit for the classroom using Europeana’s collections. With over 45 million records, Europeana has huge potential as a valued resource for learners at every stage of their education, and at pan-European level.

Jill Cousins, Executive Director, Europeana, said: “The WW1 Multi-Touch book and iTunes U course are a great example of digital cultural content being used in education, and as such, they support our efforts in this strategic market. The ADE programme provides an excellent framework connecting cultural heritage institutions and teachers and enabling them to share expertise, content and new technologies for the benefit of both educators and students. Looking ahead, we hope this will be the first of many similar projects for Europeana.”

Steven Stegers, EUROCLIO, said: “The cooperation with the ADE Gwen Vergouwen and Europeana was a great way to learn how iTunesU and Multi-Touch Books work in practice and to promote the use digital heritage in education.”

Gwen Vergouwen, ADE, commented on making the Multi-Touch Book: “Through using unique primary sources from Europeana and EUROCLIO, the Multi-Touch Book enhances students’ historical thinking, and nourishes their needs as digitally native learners.”

Through a variety of interactive assignments, the book and course cover secondary school curriculum content and provide educators with an innovative, engaging teaching tool to enhance lessons on the First World War.

The learning materials, available on Apple’s iTunes U store from today, meet standards for history education in Dutch and Flemish secondary schools, and will be introduced to classrooms in the coming academic year. The English version of the book and course provide valuable reference materials for history teachers and students all over the world, both in school and at home.

The Multi-Touch book and iTunes U course join other digital learning resources produced by Europeana such as Historiana and Inventing Europe in demonstrating the value of re-using Europeana’s rich collections for educational purposes.

Download the English Multi-Touch book and iTunes U course
Download the Dutch Multi-Touch book and iTunes U course


Notes to editors

Apple Distinguished Educator Programme

Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) are part of a global community of education leaders recognised for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom.

Apple’s ADEs in Residence programme places selected ADEs in some of the world’s leading museums, archives, science centers, and cultural organizations to develop innovative teaching and learning resources.


Europeana is Europe's digital platform for cultural heritage, and collects and provides online access to tens of millions of digitised items from libraries, archives, audiovisual collections and museums across Europe.

It opens up access to over 45 million digital records from over 3000 heritage institutions in 35 countries. These collections represent great thematic, language and media variety, from books, photos and paintings to television broadcasts and 3D objects.

Europeana1914-1918 showcases over 600,000 items relating to the First World War. These range from items from libraries and archives around the world to memorabilia from families across Europe.

Europeana encourages and promotes the creative re-use of these vast cultural heritage collections in education, research and tourism.


EUROCLIO, the European Association of History Teachers, represents 44 member associations and 15 associated members from 52 countries. EUROCLIO supports the development of responsible and innovative history and heritage education by promotion critical thinking, multi-perspective, mutual respect, and the inclusion of controversial issues. It also seeks to enhance the quality of history education through capacity building for educators and producing and implementing innovative teaching tools.