Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for the ‘ History ’ Category

Year Ten History ~ Fini
November 10th, 2010

The Year Ten History course has completed. The students undertook the NSW School Certificate Examination in History and Geography yesterday. Feedback seems positive thus far.

The class has been an active, talkative and interested collection of young thinkers. They have been keen, demanding and a challenge at times. Great discussions, good arguments and excellent laughs.

Now, I am going to turn this conversation over to the students.

Year Ten History, can you please reflect and share your thoughts on the year just completed by answering the questions below using the comments link.

1. Which were your preferred topics and why?
2. Do you think the course was relevant? Explain.
3. Which parts of the course do you think could be improved or taught in a more constructive manner? Why?
4. If you could design a History course for Years 9 and 10 which topics or themes would you include? Why?

More resources for students of Pompeii & Herculaneum
March 28th, 2010

Yesterday I created a Netvibes site embedded with a range of RSS feeds, links, media and photographic galleries all dedicated to the archaeology of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I shared the site via Twitter with Peter Clements, creator of the excellent AD79 Destruction and Re-discovery and asked if he could recommend any additional sites for the Netvibes site. Peter suggested three valuable sites.

The first is Herculaneum Panoramas, which features over 100 Quicktime VR movies of sites across Herculaneum including the Villa dei Papiri, the Theatre and countless others. It is brilliant. Students of Herculaneum can explore the site as virtual researchers and gain a feel of life in Herculaneum before the devastating Vesuvian eruption of AD79.

Then there is The Friends of Herculaneum Society, emanating from the University of Oxford. This rich web site allows you to view the Bodleian Library facsimiles of the Herculaneum Papyri and you can also read their newsletter, Herculaneum Archaeology. The aim of the society is to advance the education of the public concerning the World Heritage Site of Herculaneum and to create an archive of materials relating to Herculaneum and the work of the society.

Thirdly, Peter suggested the Fasti home page, FastiOnline. This site is a database of archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean region since the year 2000. Users can access the database via a map based graphical user interface. You can zoom into specific areas, Pompeii and Herculaneum for example, and gain information regarding specific excavations and the researchers involved. Once “inside” there is a variety of navigation methods that one can use to explore the data. The search engine is very useful and can allow students to quickly access specific sites.

And of course, there is Peter’s web site itself. AD79 Destruction and Re-discovery is such an incredible web site. There are descriptions of the streetshouses, businesses and public buildings of the various ancient sites surrounding Mount Vesuvius. The descriptions are supported with photographs of the sites. Rich hyperlinking within the web site allow users to explore the site and follow areas of particular interest. There are also pages dedicated to graffiti and significant personalities of the period. One of the most useful sections in Peter’s site is a page dedicated to specific Google Street View walks of the streets of Pompeii.

Pompeii and Herculaneum Netvibes Site
March 27th, 2010

This afternoon I set up a Netvibes site embedded with a range of RSS feeds, links, media and photographic galleries all dedicated to the archaeology of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I feel that teachers of the core unit in the NSW HSC Ancient History course, Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii and Herculaneum, will find the feeds and media useful.

There are a number of different feeds drawn from Flickr [RSS Feed], Google News [RSS Feed] and Google Blog Search [RSS Feed]. As well I embedded RSS feeds for a couple of Twitter lists focused on Pompeii and archaeology. I used Twitter Lists 2 RSS to create the RSS feeds for the Netvibes page. I think some of the highlights include a link to the brilliant AD79 Destruction and Re-discovery site created by Peter Clements and a set of guided Google Street View tours of Pompeii. As well I have linked to the excellent Blogging Pompeii site authored by archaeologists in Pompeii and the surrounding area as well as their Twitter feed.

PS. Kevin Lim over at theory.isthereasson has written an informative post on the advantages of Netvibes. I would no longer recommend Pageflakes as a visual RSS feed aggregator. The advertising is rather painful and in your face.

Aerial archaeology
February 28th, 2010

One of the topics covered during the Preliminary Ancient History course in Year 11 is the work of the archaeologist. A subset of that is aerial archaeology. The combination of flight and photography has provided archaeologists and historians with a valuable tool. How valuable?

Aerial photography allows the archaeologist to view entire sites and also to recognise features that may not be clearly visible at ground level. Soil marks, crop marks and shadow marks are visible via the technique. Buried structures and slight, yet regular, undulations in the land can be revealed. As a result structures that have been ‘lost’ or forgotten over time reveal themselves to the researcher.

Aerial archaeology
Remote Sensing and Archaeology Project
Aerial photo analysis and survey – GIS and Remote Sensing for Archaeology: Burgundy, France
UK Aerial Archaeology
Classics and Ancient History – Aerial archaeology in Jordan Project - Archive PageFlickr Sets
Aerial Archaeology Flickr Group
WIkipedia – Aerial Archaeology
Wikimedia Commons – Aerial Archaeology Photography Category

Soil marks
Learning Archaeology: Pre-Ex: Aerial Photography: Parch Marks and Soil Marks

Crop Marks
Learning Archaeology: Pre-Ex: Aerial Photography: Crop Marks

Photograph acknowledgement. The picture above is ©Copyright Civertan Grafikai Stúdió (Civertan Bt.), 1997-2006.; It is released under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 and older).

Additional archaeology links can be found on this page on my main site.

Exploring sources in history via digital storytelling 2
April 4th, 2009

Earlier today I posted about a project designed to encourage students to gain an understanding of how sources in history can be utilised to build an argument or an account relating to an event, personality or period in history.

Back in 1996, together with artist Nathan Simpson, I created a fictitious landscape back that is bleak and empty of human life. The object for the students was to gather a variety of clues and piece together what has happened. I have reworked a few more images from the project and smaller copies of the same are displayed below together with those also posted earlier.

How would you use these images? A wiki? A blog? A dedicated web site? Allow the students to take the images and rework them and add additional clues?

The completed project will include additional images that depict the embedded clues in an enlarged format.

Simply based on the images shown below what do you think befell the denizens of this landscape?

Opening scene

Closer view of the town

Exterior view of house

Interior view of house

Exterior view of library

Interior view of library

Exterior view of metro rail station

Interior view of metro rail station

Exterior view of research laboratory

Interior view of research laboratory