Regional image archives enhance primary education lessons
What role can locally produced audiovisual content about local issues play in primary education? Research has shown that it can add great value by enhancing teaching materials in the classroom. Together with Artevelde University of Applied Sciences and all ten Flemish regional broadcasters, we have therefore made it possible to use archived images and audio in an even more targeted way in primary education.
Our content partners’ archived audiovisual content covers a very wide range of topics, and can enrich teaching materials in all possible subjects. But it wasn’t created with education in mind, so how can we select relevant content from their archives that is suitable for use in primary schools? What do the teachers and pupils need? And how can we best contextualise this audiovisual content for use in the classroom?
These are the questions we are focusing on in this project; we want to ensure that archived content from regional broadcasters can be used efficiently and effectively in primary education.
We first set sail with Artevelde University of Applied Sciences in the 2017-2018 academic year. Our collective aim was to use audiovisual content in a more targeted way in primary education. Our initial work in 2017-2018 resulted in some fascinating collections and a closing event where various speakers were able to explain their views on the matter. But some questions remained unanswered:
How are these audiovisual collections and associated lesson information sheets used in primary school classrooms?
What impact do they have on the pupils’ learning process? What kind of content do pupils want, and what’s effective?
Can primary school teachers’ need for audiovisual content to enhance environmental education be met using content with a local angle?
We looked at all this in more detail in a new practical scientific research project together with Artevelde University of Applied Sciences between February 2019 and February 2020. This research didn’t only lead to new knowledge, but also in lesson-ready collections in The Archive for Education. These collections have now been integrated in our updated platform where they have been available to teachers since the start of 2021.
1. The provision
The provision of high-quality audiovisual content tailored to primary education is an important objective for meemoo and The Archive for Education. Research has shown that audiovisual content with a strong regional angle works exceptionally well in the context of environmental education. This is the main starting point for ‘People & Society’ and ‘Science & Technology’ primary education lessons.
Environmental education relates to the students’ direct environment that is used to illustrate or explain lesson content. In schools in Ghent, for example, a teacher could give a local history lesson about the Gravensteen medieval castle. Or for a lesson about Flemish waterways, they could have a close look at the Schelde and Leie rivers, which converge in the city. Schools in Limburg will of course find different examples of content that relate to their pupils’ perception of the world around them. Having this local angle makes the subject matter more tangible for pupils, and really brings it into the classroom.
This kind of content from regional broadcasters – who all agreed to cooperate in this project as meemoo content partners – also closely matches young children’s perception of the world around them. We can therefore use it to refine existing and new collections on the platform to better meet the needs of schools and students in specific regions.
2. The context
Audiovisual content in The Archive for Education is rarely created with a view to being used in education. It’s a contextual resource that – in contrast to explanatory resources – has not been specifically developed as educational content for the primary education target group in question. Both types of resource add their own value in the classroom, of course, but they require different teaching methods. Videos and audio clips relating to particular lesson topics are therefore compiled in collections on the platform and provided with context. Experts and seconded teachers organise this content into a logical order, add notes and explanations for educational objectives and learning outcomes, and share teaching tips.
3. The outcome
Teachers can now view a selection of contextualised audiovisual content with a regional angle from the ten Flemish regional broadcasters’ archives on our educational platform, The Archive for Education. Teachers taking part in teacher training at Artevelde University of Applied Sciences selected the videos and audio clips, and compiled the collections in this project. And the regional broadcasters used their expertise and knowledge of the proprietary content to provide support and advice.
In concrete terms, the regional broadcasters’ content is offered to users of The Archive for Education in a way that is as close as possible to the desired teaching practice as possible, with contextualised audiovisual collections tailored to educational objectives and learning outcomes. In order to give teachers a helping hand, the collections have also been conveniently organised into groups for each Flemish province and the Brussels-Capital Region.
We worked together with ten regional broadcasters and the Artevelde University of Applied Sciences teacher training programme for this project. Teachers are more familiar with lesson plans and educational objectives than anyone else, and can use this knowledge to ensure the offering aligns with the practical teaching methods required. As well as being a partner, Artevelde University of Applied Sciences also co-funded this practical scientific research project. Specifically, teachers from the primary school teacher training programme – Sven De Maertelaere and Thibaut Cromphaut – carried out the research, selected the content and compiled the audiovisual collections in The Archive for Education.
Ten Flemish regional broadcasters who are also meemoo content partners then made the content from their archives available for educational purposes. They used their expertise and knowledge of the proprietary content to advise and assist teachers in selecting the most suitable materials.
Meemoo itself co-funded and managed the project, and is also ensuring that the content is actually used in practice – by bringing it into the classroom through our educational platform, The Archive for Education, and in workshops.