APPLY NOW: HISTOLAB School Award 2024
The HISTOLAB award for innovative school projects in history education encourages students to share their interests and ideas, and to express their vision of how they want to learn about history.
We are looking for the best examples of teaching history in a unique and original way. Students, share your project with us and show the innovation that you use.
Those selected will be invited to present their projects during the European Innovation Days in History Education in April 2024, at the Council of Europe Headquarters in Strasbourg.
Schools and students from the Observatory on History Teaching in Europe (OHTE) member and observer states* are eligible to apply, with two different age-group categories:
- 1st group: School students ages 10-13
- 2nd group: School students ages 14-18
Please note, all European schools are also eligible to apply regardless of the country.
Language requirements: the submissions must be accompanied by a short summary written in English (max 500 words) but the project itself can be in another language
*The member and observer states of OHTE are: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, North Macedonia, Portugal, Republic of Moldova (Observer), Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Türkiye, Ukraine (Observer).
Students shall submit their entries before 8 January 2024 via the dedicated webpage.
Address any questions you might have to: HISTOLAB@coe.int
For more information on who can submit their ideas and projects, as well as the format to do so, please consult the document below:
WHAT IS IT?
In the 21st century, the world has changed and the interests and learning habits of children have changed along with it. If history is referred to as inaccessible, this stereotype could be due to a disconnect between the topic information and how history relates to the lives of students. Understanding what students want to see in their history classes can further transform history education into a dynamic and engaging learning experience.
In a survey on the core practices for teaching History in Delphi, Fogo (2014) found several practices that could enhance effective teaching. It is evident that innovation is needed in history teaching, that reaches beyond academia and connects directly with teachers and students.
WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE?
Many scholars explain that since content and pedagogy constantly change and grow, it is necessary for History teachers to take a central role in this evolution. The aim for HISTOLAB is to gather innovative initiatives and ideas in history education not only from teachers and academics, but school students as well.
The HISTOLAB award for innovative ideas and projects in schools encourages students to share their interests and ideas, and to tell us how they want to learn about history. They are asked to ruminate on how much they engage with and are interested in the subjects covered in their history classes, and then to submit their ideas for how history could be taught.
For the first year of the HISTOLAB award, it was limited to schools in the European Schools Network and the Council of Europe Democratic Schools Network.
Photo of all students present at the HISTOLAB award ceremony during the European Innovation Days in History Education in 2023
School: Olena Pchilka Lyceum in Kovel, Ukraine
Description of the project: This research paper is devoted to the topic on how to make History lessons more interesting, exciting and interactive. In order to find out which methods of teaching History are ineffective and offer innovative ones, we have conducted a questionnaire. We have interviewed 50 students of the 11th grade of Olena Pchilka Kovel Lyceum. It has demonstrated that more than a half of students do not consider History as one of the most important subjects in school curriculum. In addition, we have found out that there is an insufficient number of lessons per week for students to fully process all the material they are given. In the questionnaire, we have offered some conceptions and principles how to improve teaching History. Students also had an opportunity to share their own ideas. The next step was to determine innovative methods and techniques that students could identify themselves, with the goal of applying them in History lessons to make them more interesting. The questionnaire has demonstrated the readiness of students to reform ways of teaching History and the consciousness of their importance.
Title: Yaroslav the Wise
School: Municipal Establishment Lyceum "Maksymum” of Kropyvnytskyi City Council in Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine.
Description of the project: We are students of the secondary school at Lyceum “Maksymum” Kropyvnytskyi City Council". We created the comic book/graphic novel "Yaroslav the Wise". This topic was chosen because it reveals the modern aspirations of Ukraine to become a member of the European community. The history of Ukraine is an integral part of world history. The ability to select illustrative material for the presentation of historical events and personalities based on its quality, informativeness, and aesthetic value is very important when creating a graphic novel .While working on the comic book we studied a lot of sources, Ukrainian and foreign, in order to know how events in the history of Ukraine are interpreted in the world. We studied real images of personalities taken from modern historical research. We also worked with medieval sources including “The Tale of Bygone Years”, “Radziwill Chronicle” and others. We worked with medieval maps as well. It was also a very good opportunity for us to practise English. An idea appeared: modern students talk to Prince Yaroslav the Wise! In such a way it is easier to understand events in the Middle Ages and their consequences for us today. If you've never read comics and would like to give it a try, wait no longer. Enjoy reading a comic book or watching a video! It’s up to you to choose.
Title: Through the History
School: "Ivan Vazov" Secondary School from Mezdra, Bulgaria
Description of the project: Using artwork and games, the groups of students show us history from their perspectives through artwork and an innovative game for learning history.
The presentation is about one innovative school project: an online game, which was released in April 2022. In addition, some ideas are listed there on how history could be taught and some good practices from our school.
Picture 1: In a war there are no winners and losers, everyone is a loser, and it seems that children suffer the most from it. Children have the purest souls and only they are capable of turning darkness into light. In children’s eyes, weapons of death are seen as a means of entertainment. War brings fear, and fear is overcome in games. The message is that to win a war, it should never start.
School: Osnovna Škola Gradac from Gradac, Croatia
Description of the project: The focus of the projects was on three forgotten stories from the past of Gradac. The story of “A kilo of tobacco – a kilo of the Adriatic” dealt with the production and trade of salt in the past. A century old celebration of St Roch was about an unknown disease. El Shatt – from Dalmatia to the desert dealt with the refugee camp in Egypt during WW2. In addition to making several short films, presentations and a mini saltwork, the students presented the results of their research through three trilingual info boards placed at appropriate locations in the town and leaflets. Stories were an incentive to connect events from the past with the present – the first story to discuss the role in the society of the omen in the past and now; the second story to discuss the way of fighting diseases in the past and now with special emphasis on COVID pandemic and the third story to discuss the problem of refugees as one of the main outcome of wars (in former Yugoslavia in 90ies and in Ukraine now).