How technology brings history to life
École L’Odyssée (Commission scolaire de la Capitale)
Quebec City, Que
IN A NUTSHELL
The Classe-Musée program links middle school history with digital information technologies. Students research the historical relevance of structures, sites, or artifacts, then bring their learning to life through augmented reality and virtual 3D video montages. Students’ enthusiasm for this program extends beyond the school day and includes collaboration with several classes from around the world that are linked in virtually to implement their own Class-Museum programs.
THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY
The École Odyssée in Quebec City is an intermediate public school with 525 students from Grade 5 (3e cycle du primaire) to Grade 8 (1er cycle du secondaire). At the middle school (Grade 7/8) level, the school stands out for its variety of course offerings. The Classe-Musée project is designed to meet required outcomes in the Social Universe course (which combines History and Citizenship).
GOALS OF THE PROJECT
In addition to giving students the opportunity to learn and use a variety of technology programs, such as iMovie, HP Reveal, Omnivert 3D, Google Expedition, etc., the Classe-Musée program aims to:
- stimulate students’ interest in history
- encourage students’ active participation in driving their own learning
- examine social realities from a historical perspective
- interpret social realities using the historical method
- build citizenship through lessons in history
Since its launch in 2016, the program has evolved and become more complex. Digital learning is the cornerstone of the program, which comprises two broad elements:
- Students create a chronological timeline of the history of civilizations composed of historical elements that are connected and brought to life through augmented reality. The timeline can be an actual mural in the classroom, or a digital document.
- Students choose and research a social reality, a historical site, or an object or artifact from a museum. They write and record a descriptive text describing the historical relevance of their research subject, and create a video montage. These elements are used to create an augmented reality “tour” using the HP Reveal application.
Students’ work is presented on an interactive website that can be shared with other participating schools around the world.
With the addition, in the 2018/19 school year, of more digital tools, a 3D printer and a 3D scanner, students will also be able to create replicas of artifacts and artistic objects.
This project has sparked the interest and support of local cultural partners and educators around the world.
The Royal 22nd Regiment Museum, the Museum of Civilization of Quebec and the Quebec National Museum of Fine Arts have all supported the project by loaning objects that can be used to make reproductions and augmented reality footage. In 2017-18, the class mounted the first student-led exhibit in augmented and virtual reality at the Quebec Museum of Civilization. The exhibit presented ten wonders of the world, produced in 3D augmented and virtual reality via VR headsets, in French, English and Spanish. Thanks to this exhibit, several school principals and teachers expressed interest in launching a similar project. This year, locally, there are five programs operating and all participating classes can upload students’ work to the shared website.
To support educators who wish to start their own Classe-Musée or participate in the creation of the work, the teacher, Jean-Philippe Payer, has added a number of documents to the website including a pedagogical toolbox. Currently, some 20 schools in Quebec, Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Malawi, France, Egypt and Tunisia are participating in the project.
INNOVATIVE VALUE OF PROGRAM
Innovative aspects of this program include:
- the creative integration of cutting-edge technology with subject discipline curriculum
- the program’s “exportability” to classrooms around the world and to other subjects
- the partnership potential with museums and other cultural institutions that connect students to a real-world context and communicate their learning to the public.
In the 2018-19 school year, the class will participate in “Digital Week” in Quebec City through an exhibit at the Félix-Leclerc Library. A humanitarian component has also been introduced, as the class plans a fundraising campaign to enable a school in Haiti to access the program. Finally, the program is being piloted by French and science teachers, to explore its transferability to other disciplines.
Payer is now coordinating seven new projects within the school district, and has been asked by the district to create a permanent exhibit (targeted launch date January 2020) at the district’s new Media Lab, a building that will serve all students in the region as a place to experiment with augmented and virtual reality. He has also been recruited by l’organisation du Récit National (the National Narrative) to develop materials to support cultural organizations in developing digital projects.
Classe Musée has clearly struck a chord with students, educators, and leaders in education alike.