Developing Digital Archaeology for Young People : A Model for Fostering Empathy and Dialogue in Formal and Informal Learning Environments
Chapter from the book: Hageneuer, S. 2020. Communicating the Past in the Digital Age: Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Methods in Teaching and Learning in Archaeology (12th-13th October 2018).
While preconceptions of archaeology and cultural heritage are generally formed at a young age through exposure to mass media and teachings in formal and informal settings, the quality of these exposures is extremely variable and often fails to engage young people in meaningful ways. Although digital technologies may appear as tempting means to intervene in this meaning-making process, their application to archaeological pedagogy at the primary and secondary school level can be superficial or result in the replication of existing problematic pedagogical approaches. However, while the challenges of weaving archaeological knowledge into primary and secondary education are considerable, the digital archaeology schoolroom is an untapped resource with potential for engendering individual learning, constructive group dialogue, good citizenship and larger social conscience.
After reflecting on common weaknesses with extant pedagogical methods, including the prevalence of digital tools that require solitary and passive use, we present an alternative approach to the archaeological education resource: a multi-component digital kit for use in formal and informal learning environments. Created as part of the EU-funded EMOTIVE Project, this kit’s components (including 3D printed objects, a virtual museum, and chatbot, which are usable independently but ideally deployed in tandem over a period of days or weeks) seek to nurture perspective-taking skills, close looking and listening skills, critical dialogue, and self-reflection to foster empathy among young people.