For the last 4 months we have been busy working with Dutch secondary schools in a pilot which experiments with giving online access to audiovisual heritage. Recently we were welcomed at the DIVERSE 2008 conference to present some preliminary results, see also our short paper. DIVERSE is a community which shares experience about developing interactive visual educational resources for students all over the world.
One of the points which we stressed was that we found that although teachers and students liked the idea of working with audiovisual heritage, to use and reuse it into presentations and learning objects, it was hard for them to put this into actual practice.
In our discussion on the reasons why this is so hard, we found out that there are some commonalities with other projects and countries. This was also mentioned by someone as a “changing teaching paradigm”. We experienced that there’s not only lack of facilities and technical difficulties which made it hard for secondary schools to integrate our pilot in their curriculum. We also found a lack of ICT skills and imagination with teachers trying to take it into practice. Students weren’t much motivated because there was no full support from their teachers.
On behalf of the National Archives of the UK, Andrew Payne presented a similar project Focus on Film in wich students and teachers are able to use films from the archive. They can edit, show it to others and even download the original video. A lot of work was done on putting all material in an apprehensive context. Although he impressed us with the fact that in 1 year the project is running, 1000 people have already registred and there were 2,5 million visitors in one year, he agreed on the same difficulties.
How can we overcome this challenge? Today I attended a meeting at the Stranger festival where UK based think tank Demos spoke about their research on how youngh people are changing Europe. Celia and Tommy stressed that the ability to put information into representations (video etc.) is a skill like reading and writing which is likely to becoming more and more important to participate in civil society. This makes you think about whose responsibiliy it is to foster this. Will our educational system be able to take this responsibility? What is needed?
Nikki Timmermans | Knowledgeland
Nisimasa, a European network of young film professionals, students and enthusiasts for European cinema, devoted their March edition of their online magazine to the topic Film Archives. According to chief editor Caroline Fournier, young film professionals don’t really know much about this topic and are closed off because of bad access. At the same time archives have great potential to contribute to their future work through reuse of the material.
“These images can become part of the artistic process, in a society which wants to recycle its heritage, which likes to reuse old images in order to realise something new”
There are interesting initiatives going on to give better access the material. Film Archives Online for example gives free access to catalogue information of film archives from all over Europe, via a multi-lingual web portal. At the Moving Images Archive you can view around 2000 films from the Prelinger Archives. But, do these facilitate young filmmakers in reusing the archives enough? What do young filmmakers expect from the archives? How can cultural heritage contribute to their work and how would they like to have access? If you have an opinion on this topic, please comment.