terça-feira, 16 de julho de 2019

Projetos Finais de TIC: Europeana SOI

This year, we challenged two groups of students to participate in Europeana DSI-IV related activities. Classes 7.º A and 7º B were tasked with creating 3D projects, some of them 3d printed, using Europeana resources as visual references. This project was developed in ICT and History class, in interdisciplinary mode. In History, students learnt about the gothic and romanic periods in European history. That acquired knowledge was translated to physical objects in ICT class, where students learned 3D modeling techniques. Using Europeana resources complemented the project with a deeper knowledge of European heritage.

After learning about the gothic and romanic periods in History class, the next challenge was to discover Europeana. This happened in two stages. First, get to know Europeana and its resources, leraning how to use the internal search engine to search for references pertaining to topics. Second, students were tasked with searching for visual references to create 3d projects.

For this task, students were divided in groups and issued guidelines. Items searched and chosen had to be relevant to the project (specifically, romanic or gothic architectural or decorative elements); if possible, find more than one image of the same chosen object (in this, Europeana is not very helpful); choose elements adequate to modeling skills. After choosing visual references, students sent to the teacher an email with information about the chosen model. In the email, they had to attach a copy of chosen images, and write a text with information about the title, type of resource, original archive, copyright status and Europeana URL. This could also be done using a document template, but ICT class in Portugal has a very limited yearly time. Email allowed us to gain time during the search phase to have more time for the modelling phase.

Here's a 3D printed model created from an Europeana reference...

and the 3D model created by our pupils.

The next phase was 3D modelling chosen projects. Each group worked with their preferred 3D modellig tool. They could choose to use Tinkercad, a primitive-base modeller, or Sketchup, a surface subdivision tool. This is the longest part of the project. We dedicated 3 to 4 classes for this phase, in order for our students to have the time to take their project as far as they could. Still, this was also the most problematic phase, for two reasons.

The first, running the risk of repetition, is time. ICT class in Portugal can be organized in weekly 50 minute slots on a semester, or yearly 50 minute fortnightly slots. Our school is organized yearly, wich meant that classes are bi-weekly. Each month has two ICT classes. This makes it a bit difficult to manage projects. Also, a very low number of classes means that students don't have much time to focus on their projects, and create complex 3D models.

The second problem is with Europeana itself. Its a great resource, but not very suitable for our specific project. In order to recreate objects in 3D, students have to have a good grasp of the shapes to model. They need several visual references, from different viewpoints, from the same object. Europeana is not optimized for this. Its visual archives stem directly from their sources, and in case of photographs, generally each one is about a specific object or theme. Something that makes complete sense for activities related to History or social sciences, but not in our case, where Europeana is used as a referential image database for 3D models. Still, this kind of 3D projects focus on heritage as means to learn more about specific subjects using ICT tools. In spite of its drawbacks (for us), Europeana gives us an amazing ability in this kind of projects: make students aware of our common european heritage. This is why we like to use Europeana, and not a common online search.

This activity was organized on The Romanic, in Plastic Europeana learning scenario. There, we detail learning goals, key competences, specific Europeana resources and structure of the activity.

Here are some images of 3D models and printed projects.

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