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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday June 19, 2019

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Ryszard Markowicz

Ryszard Markowicz

teacher's trainee | STEM learning adviser | math and ICT teacher , Primary School n.74

portrait of Beth Daley

Beth Daley

Editorial Adviser , Europeana Foundation

Three Lessons from a Europeana User Group Teacher

This month on Europeana Pro News, as the academic year draws to a close, we’re looking back to see what we, and our education community, have learned over the last months. Today, Ryszard Markowicz, a teacher and Europeana User Group member in Poland, gives us his top three lessons learned.

main image
Mechanics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of various machines. Coloured lithograph. Lettering: Illustrations of natural philosophy. Motion and machinery.
J. Emslie
Wellcome Collection

Ryszard's Top Three Lessons

  1. Cultural heritage can be applied to any subject, even maths.

  2. The Teaching with Europeana blog is an ideal platform for teachers to discover new learning scenarios, share their experience and get feedback about their learning material.

  3. The possibilities for using cultural material in education are endless - the only limit is your own imagination.

A conversation with Ryszard

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a maths and ICT teacher in Primary School no 74 in Szczecin, Poland. I also work as a STEM learning adviser in the STEM Centre in Szczecin. This place was created to implement the educational policy to support the development of sciences. Thanks to the Centre’s activities, we have learned that not only is a wide knowledge of their subject important for teachers, but that we must constantly pursue the modern trends and innovations in the classroom.

In my position as a teacher trainer, I respond to the needs of headteachers in my area and consult on applying improvement programmes for their schools. I also provide feedback on lesson plans, present on good practices and make proposals about workshops and the professional development of educators. This is why I took part in the Europeana project as a User Group Teacher, one of the 131 teachers from Croatia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and the European Schools. The main task of the User Group is to create learning scenarios using Europeana  resources, implement them in the classroom and write about the experience in the Teaching with Europeana blog.

What is the most valuable aspect of your work as part of the Europeana User Group?

Introducing Europeana to students and teachers from my country. It would not be possible if it were not providing free online access to over 53 million digitised items drawn from Europe’s museums, archives, libraries and galleries.

As a practical example on how to use Europeana in education, you can see and try my  learning scenario: When in history did wallets weigh the most? This Future Classroom  Scenario has been developed as part of the Europeana project. The main objective is to show students what density is and how to calculate weight if the volume and density are known. During the lesson students will solve a problem related to specific coins and will give the answer to the question: How much did wallets weigh in the history of mankind?  

The second example is the other learning scenario I’ve produced and will be published soon: How did people learn to measure time? The aim of the lesson is to make students realise what time is and what consequences it brings into people’s lives. Other important objectives are to encourage students to use their creativity, browse on Europeana Collections and other websites for suitable materials, and to develop students’ digital and social skills.

The final result is an exhibition where students can find out about the history of clocks and measuring time.

Students implementing the 'Vintage VR' learning scenario
Ryszard Markowicz

You can also look at the story of implementation of Vintage VR. The learning scenario used for this implementation gives your students an opportunity to find out what life would be like without electricity. It combines technology and social science and makes use of stereoscopic images from Europeana Collections.

What are the challenges you have faced creating and implementing learning scenarios with digital culture?

Teaching with Europeana, created as part of the Europeana Education project, is a blog space where we teachers are encouraged to share our experience in incorporating Europeana resources to our classrooms.  It is very easy to use. For instance, you can find on the blog a catalogue of learning scenarios that include Europeana resources. In addition, the blog provides stories of implementation on how resources are being implemented in classes by teachers using their own scenarios or those of other colleagues in their class. Teaching with Europeana is an ideal platform for teachers to discover new learning scenarios, share their experience and get feedback about their learning material. Ultimately, Teaching with Europeana is a meeting point for the European teacher community searching for resources and advice. So the only real challenge to using this content, is your own imagination.

What are the next steps for the User Group and your involvement with the Europeana Education project?

The next step of the project would be to get rid of the stereotype that cultural heritage and tech don’t go together. I’d say, that we need to get out of our comfort zones to learn new things, share what we know and basically seek each other - the chances are, someone might be able to support you when you least expect it. And this is the main goal of the User Group in my opinion.