How can we teach Jewish history in a modern and effective way? In Hamburg, Germany, a school project called Geschichtomat tries to find an answer to that question. With the help of digital media, students explore their Jewish neighbourhood. This one-of-a-kind German program permits students to experience the Jewish past and present life in their hometown. During the project, students explore their neighbourhood to understand its historical figures, places, and events. This way they engage with Jewish life. Under the supervision of experts in the disciplines of history and media education, the students will: research, perform interviews with cultural authorities and contemporary witnesses, visit museums and archives, shoot and cut films, edit photos and write accompanying texts. Finally, their contributions are uploaded to the geschichtomat.de website. Little by little a digital map of Jewish life from the perspective of teenagers will take shape.
The change imposed by the diffusion of information and communications technology concerns didactic transposition practices, especially in the context of ‘public subjects’, such as taught history, because their epistemological paradigms are also affected by the mediatization process which they are subjected to in the Web.
Digital competence is essential for building a meaningful curriculum of history, which could generate relevant knowledge for the contemporary world through digital artefacts that can start the change in didactic practices.
The traditional analogical supports, primarily the text books, could be overtaken by the aggregation of technological mediators. The digital mediators can make historical culture both evident and significant, and they can support the intellectual training that history asks of students.