The solution to integrating cultural heritage in education is a comprehensive educational program that will integrate a combined approach in EFL and ITC instruction, using Cultural Heritage as the foundation for content production.
The program titled Digital Meets Heritage, which we have already implemented at Pegasus ELS covers 11 weeks of combined instruction between EFL educators who teach cultural heritage, as well as ICT teachers to help students acquire correct information regarding various topics related to cultural heritage, and assist them in creating their digital outputs, such as blogs, or websites, in both their native languages and English.
The 'Digital Meets Heritage' program is a PBL Simulation intended primarily for EFL students (aged 12-19), who are willing to advance their language skills through the use of digital technology in the context of Cultural Heritage, and it is implemented in a period of 11 weeks (2 hours per week) through 5 stages:
Week 1: Introduction to Blogging - Setting up students' blogs;
1st Assignment: Write a text titled About Me.
Week 2: Introduction to Cultural Heritage Categories - Places, Historical Figures/Historic Events, Artists/Art Movements, and Women in Culture (students select one topic from each category to prepare blog posts about);
2nd Assignment: Write a blog post about Places;
3rd Assignment: Write a blog post about Historical Figures/Historic Events.
Week 3: Publishing Blog Posts & Blog Commenting (Places, Historical Figures/Historic Events);
4th Assignment: Write a blog post about Artists/Art Movements;
5th Assignment: Write a blog post about Women in Culture.
Week 4: Publishing Blog Posts & Blog Commenting (Artists/Art Movements, and Women in Culture); Introduction to VR Technology in Education; Visiting the British Museum on Nearpod (an interactive educational tool for creating VR tours);
6th Assignment: Write a blog post titled My Time Travel Diary.
Week 5: VR Tours: Explore Google Arts & Culture, and select museums/sites to visit during individual VR Tours. Online VR Tours (alternative): Teachers create VR Tour presentations with 360-degree images of various places available on Nearpod (educational application).
Stage Three - VR Tours with Google Arts & Culture or Nearpod
Week 6: In the classroom - individual or group VR Tours to pre-selected museums/sites from Google Arts and Culture. Online - individual or group VR Tours of cultural heritage sites and/or museums on Nearpod.
7th Assignment: Write a blog post titled My VR Tour to a World Heritage Site/Museum.
Week 7: Publishing Blog Posts & Commenting (Individual VR Tour impressions). Introduction to VR for Expedition - Group virtual tour to Britain's Heritage Sites with Google Expedition;
8th Assignment: Quiz on Britain's Heritage (Quizlet and Edmodo).
Stage Four - VR Tours with Google Expedition (in the classroom) or Nearpod (online)
Week 8: VR Tour to Britain's Cultural Heritage Sites with Google Expedition (in the classroom) or Nearpod (online).
9th Assignment: Write a blog post titled My Expedition to Britain's Cultural Heritage Sites.
Week 9: Publishing Blog Posts & Blog Commenting (VR Expedition impressions); Introduction to Screen Recording Digital Tools;
10th Assignment: Transcript for the Screencast Video Tour.
Stage Five - Screen Recording, Video Editing, and Social Media
Week 10: Screen Recording and Video Editing - Individual screencast video tours of students' digital outputs;
11th Assignment: Write a blog post titled My Screencast Video Tour.
Week 11: Social Media Promotion - Facebook Fan Page, Instagram, Twitter.
Final Digital Output (optional): a website promoting the project and all students' blogs, as well as offering online webinars for teachers who are interested to implement the program, as well as online meetups for students from other countries who will meet on Zoom once a month to promote their own cultural heritage through staged discussions and organized virtual excursions.
The challenge is to create a comprehensive and combined approach in teaching students about cultural heritage using digital technology, thus helping them to develop both their knowledge about various topics related to the world heritage and advance their communicative skills through the use of digital technology.
However, to implement this solution, there are several considerations to be made.
Teachers and students need to have a good quality Internet connection, as well as personal computers or laptops that would enable them to use a web browser and explore the contents on the suggested websites, as well as create digital outputs, such as blogs and videos.
Combined EFL and ICT Instruction
This program is primarily intended for teachers of EFL and ICT, who have received previous training in using various digital tools (Edmodo, Nearpod, Screencastomatic, Google Expeditions, Google Arts & Culture, Wix, Padlet, etc.), but it also involves history and cultural heritage teachers, who can assist in the preselection of the contents to be explored with the students, as well as provide evaluation for students' outputs concerning the reliability of the presented facts.
Digital Educational Tools
To implement this program teachers need to be trained to use the following digital platforms:
- Edmodo - a virtual learning platform that enables teachers to organize students' work in groups through assignments and quizzes, a virtual classroom
- Nearpod - an interactive digital presentation tool and a VR tour creator suitable for online presentations
- Screencastomatic - for recording screencast videos
- Google Expeditions and Google Arts & Culture - online Google resources on cultural heritage and Virtual Expeditions available for educational purposes
- Wix - a platform for creating blogs and websites
- Padlet - a web-based tool for sharing digital contents
- Canva - a web-based tool for digital design
- HTML - a website designed by students and ICT teachers to promote students blogs
Solution target group
The target group of this program is students aged 12-19 who are willing to advance their English writing skills through the use of digital technology in the context of promoting cultural heritage. They will explore various topics, and write blog posts about their virtual experiences, and promote their digital outputs through social networks.
The teachers who are willing to implement this program within their educational settings should also receive training regarding the use of the digital tools required for the program's successful implementation. They will advance their digital skills in relation to using a variety of digital educational tools for their future teaching practice.
This PBL Simulation enables a significant amount of online interaction that enhances students' understanding of the concepts and ideas they acquire in the process and are willing to exchange them with a community sharing similar interests. However, the most important part of this PBL Simulation is the actual interaction between all participants that takes place during the course, which enables them to boost each other's confidence in the attempt to reach the summit of their creative aspirations together.
In this PBL Simulation, students explore topics related to the world's cultural heritage and use digital tools to express their experiences of discovering new perspectives through VR tours and expeditions, which gives added value to advancing their English language skills, in relation to content creation for their digital outputs. Students are given a constructive, and diverse set of skills, as well as the knowledge that helps them expand their understanding of the global cultural heritage. Moreover, they become aware of the importance of preserving it for future generations.
Solution tweet text
Digital Meets Heritage - an 11-week online course for EFL students (aged 12-19) offering an adventurous virtual journey through the world heritage with Google Arts and Culture and Nearpod's amazing 360-degree VR Tours. Blogging included! #digitalmeetsheritage
This program is innovative in that it combines the most current digital resources in an effective way that enables teachers to integrate cultural heritage within their educational settings.
Google Arts and Cultures and Google Expeditions, including Nearpod for VR Tours, are leading resources in relation to the promotion of cultural heritage in education, all available for free.
It also enables students to develop both their English language and their digital skills. It enhances students' connectivity thus increasing the element of inclusiveness, beyond all limitations.
The Digital Meets Heritage program can be implemented online, which means it can be used in a variety of contexts, with certain adjustments to suit the requirements of various educational settings. Since there is a way how to organize teacher training sessions online, I believe this solution could easily be implemented in many different contexts.
This program has already been implemented at Pegasus ELS, and I believe if given the opportunity it can easily be implemented in other schools by creating a network of educational institutions willing to implement this solution.
Solution team work
The program requires a combined instruction between EFL and ICT teachers, who have to work together to implement all activities of this program with success.