GETTING CREATIVE WITH EUROPEANA: INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES & NEW TOOLS FOR EDUCATION

Within the framework of Europeana Space (ICT-PSP-CIP, Best Practice Network http://www.europeana-space.eu/) the development of pilots and demonstrators and the organization of hackathons have turned out essential steps towards reaching the project’s targets: to devise and showcase innovative ideas, tried-and-tested apps and user-friendly tools for the creative reuse of digitized cultural heritage content.

The pilots have been conceptualized thematically and are medium-orientated, focusing respectively on TV, photography, dance, games, open & hybrid publishing and museums. They demonstrate the use of Europeana API’s and the Europeana Space WITH environment, which allows for users to interact with digital content.

The six thematic pilots subsequently fueled six hackathons, in which GLAM professionals (representatives of cultural heritage institutions, teachers, educators, etc.) were joined by technology experts and software developers to draw from the pilots’ results and play with digital content, in order to create fascinating apps with apt business potential. To inspire the hackathon teams and to promote the creative possibilities of the toolkits and apps as offered by the pilots, Europeana Space put in place several Demonstrators as well.

Building upon this experience, and taking into account that education has been a main target of Europeana Space from the outset (a.o. resulting in a portal http://www.europeana-space.eu/education/ and a MOOC, to be launched in October ‘16), this paper wants to make a stand for the hackathon as an engine for innovation in education, by showing how this concept furthers co-creative learning by establishing a direct relation between idea, product and experience.

The photography demonstrator will serve as a concrete example to illuminate the benefits of such modus operandi. This application exemplifies how the WITH API not only provides access to images via a wide range of online repositories (e.g. Europeana, DPLA, DigitalNZ, The British Library, Rijksmuseum), but also enables users to weave the photographs into their own stories, by mixing them up with other content and overlaying a narrative.

We are convinced that the photography demonstrator is an ideal tool for teachers and educators, as it allows for the collection of high-quality digital images from verified sources, carrying official/original metadata, and for the addition of relevant and audience-appropriate storytelling. Imagine, for instance, a teacher layering an exposé about renaissance building styles or palazzo architecture with images from a recent trip to Pisa, thereby offering a more idiosyncratic view on / specific insight into the course topics... The success of this approach will be underpinned by evaluation data gathered from an test-run with students carried out by the KU Leuven project-team earlier this year.