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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday October 25, 2017

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Teaching History in an interactive way with the Transcribathon for Education

Learn how this new fun and educational online learning tool can engage students with History

Launched in Summer 2016, Transcribathon for education is an online learning tool developed by Europeana and Facts and Files for the transcription of digital material from World War One.

Interacting with historical sources

It gives students the opportunity to work directly on archived documents from the First World War. These resources are gathered on Europeana 1914-1918 thematic collection, a unique digital archive of the First World War built over the last six years thanks to the Collection Days. These events invited citizens across Europe to bring personal records related to the War. The material submitted, ranging from letters, postcards, diaries, sketchbooks, etc, was digitized and uploaded into Europeana.  These texts, which are predominantly handwritten and often hard to read, can be now transcribed and annotated by students in their classrooms thanks to the new Transcribathon for Education tool.

Transcribathon for education can be used in various educational settings, from secondary to university level. Students and teachers can use the documents in the context of their choice, for instance, during History classes (related to WW1 and national or regional history), language classes, or in Civic, Social and Political Education programs. So far, 27,867 documents have been collected, 6,506 transcriptions are in progress and 8,153 have been completed. More documents will be added over time for their transcriptions and, in the long term, also available  from other topics or collections.   

Working collaboratively

Moreover, teachers can create a more challenging and playful environment in establishing a competition. Students can work either individually or in teams on the transcription of a source from Europeana 1914-1918 (such as a diary, for instance). A jury then awards points for the quantity and quality of the transcription, and the presentation of the result. This competition factor allows students to measure their progress as a group and against participants from all over the world, and develop teamwork and communication skills through delivering presentations.


Student teams transcribing at the Primo Levi Gymnasium, Berlin, June 2016 - CC-BY-SA Facts & Files

Developing new skills

The Transcribathon for education has been proved a successful educative tool that enables students to work collaboratively and develop teamwork skills, but also to improve their transcription and media capabilities. While getting a better and more personal understanding of a war that shaped Europe, students also learn to create digital records and add the metadata (such as the location) that will allow future researchers and students to get an easier access to these resources.

This new tool for education is available for free. We have tutorials in French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Rumanian, with more languages to be added in the next months.

Spread the word to your peers and get in touch with [email protected] if you would like to set up a Transcribathon in your country.   

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