This educational portal presents the information required to guide teachers and students in the study of the process of European integration based on the history, geography and economics of the European Union. It offers a global view of the most important process of integration and regional cooperation that the world has seen since the middle of the 20th century.
The main objective is to help Primary and Secondary school teachers to introduce the European dimension into their educational curricula from a multidisciplinary perspective. The main features of this web are its initially simple and didactic presentation and the possibility of examining the contents of each of the themes proposed in greater detail.
The complementary materials associated with each of the sections have been classified with three different age groups in mind: 9 – 12, 12 – 15 and 15+. These groups broadly correspond to the levels of primary and secondary education in European educational systems. Some of these contents could also be useful at the university level and particularly for teacher training.
This web also includes a section dedicated to Augmented Reality with the aim of getting students more involved and also motivating them through the use of new technologies.
Teachers will find a selection of topics that will help them to achieve their didactic objectives. These are some of the topics most frequently found in the educational curricula of the different European countries.
We have also tried to provide an interrelated view of the different topics based around a series of theme packs. The topics analysed have been organised into four large blocks in order to ensure that the different subjects are treated in the same transversal way. These packs are:
- The foundations for the construction of Europe
- The external action of the EU
- European diversity
- Past and present challenges
Each topic also contains general contents that provide a global vision. There are a series of materials related to these general lines that allow students to take a deeper look at a more specific aspect such as maps, written documents, videos, educational games, images or external links. These materials can be directly downloaded from the website or via links to other websites. As well as organising information by age groups, teachers can also consult the languages in which these materials are available and how long they are, in the case of videos.
Due to the multilingual nature of many of the resources available, and especially the audiovisual ones, they can also be used as support materials for foreign language classes.
The written documents will help teachers and students to look more deeply into some of the points examined within each topic. These materials can be used to make text commentaries or to complement the explanations provided by teachers.
The graphs and tables present selected statistical information that covers the maximum period available for the countries of the EU. In some cases, and particularly that of countries which were members of the former Communist Bloc, it is not possible to obtain data prior to the 1990s. These resources facilitate comparisons between the different EU member states and, in some cases, between the EU and the most important countries in the world.
The maps seek to provide a visual representation of the most relevant information to help explain the topic in question. Some maps form part of series that seek to provide a temporal view of changing events. Others, in contrast, offer comparable statistical and/or geographical information.
The videos help us to look at questions in greater depth and add different points of view about the topics examined. As far as possible, attempts have been made to select videos lasting no more than five minutes, although there are some exceptions. In this way, the videos can be interspersed with teachers’ explanations and help to make classes more dynamic.
The photographs help to illustrate some of the aspects associated with the topic in question; they can also be used by teachers for presentations.
External links is quite a heterogeneous category of resources. These can vary from text contents to interactive maps. They have been included with the aim of increasing knowledge about some specific aspects of the topic in question. They can also be used by students as bibliographical references when preparing work.
The educational games vary in their complexity. They range from maps on which students must relate concepts to points on the map, to more complex maps that will require previous explanation if students are to interact with them in a satisfactory manner. In the majority of cases, it is possible to register students as users and teachers can then monitor their progress.
A debate is proposed on each topic based on materials that could be videos, press articles or extracts from other documents. These debates are aimed at getting students to take positions on current subjects related to the process of European integration. Another aim is to help students to increase their knowledge by taking part in debates. These debates are fundamentally aimed at groups of secondary school students who should start to have the elements required to take stances and to discuss topics related to the EU.
Films and documentaries about some of the topics examined can also be used as complementary material. For technical and legal reasons, it is not possible to create direct links to these contents, so teachers must make them available to their students. As many of the films last for longer than the time available in class, we recommend using a “cinema forum” type of format in which the most relevant shots and scenes are selected to explain the topic.
There are also two types of resources that can help students to interact. On one hand, there is an interactive map from which students can select a series of socio-economic data relating to a specific point in time between 1950 and 2010. These data offer a degree of detail for the whole EU which ranges from the national to regional and provincial levels. There is also an interactive map of the European railway network from 1830 to 2010, which shows the evolution of the railway system at ten-year intervals.
In relation to the European railway network, and through the option dedicated to Augmented Reality, students will be able to put their knowledge of the subject to the test. This aspect relates the local reality known to the students to the European dimension of transport networks.
Finally, the main objectives and competences that students will develop thanks to the use of this teaching tool can be summarised as follows:
- To know the origins, causes and main stages of the process of European integration.
- To introduce students to the economics, history and geography of the EU.
- To identify the countries which belong to the EU and to make students more aware of them.
- To learn how to distinguish between the main institutions of the EU and the roles that they play.
- To understand the decision-making system within the EU.
- To prepare students for life and mobility within the European territory.
- To identify the main policies of the EU.
- To promote multilingualism as a requisite for achieving full integration within European society.
- To make students aware of the need to live an open, multicultural society.
- To raise awareness of European diversity.
- To promote student interest in the events that take place in the countries around them and how they can be affected by them.
- To examine the socio-economic reality and the political systems of the European countries.
- To help students to understand the problems and challenges posed by modern European society.
- To obtain a general understanding of the main contributions of the different treaties.
- To understand relations between the EU and other countries, and particularly with those on the EU’s immediate periphery.
- To understand how it is possible to overcome rivalries between countries through collaboration and understanding.
- To critically analyse the process of European integration.
- To use debate to give students the capacity to take stances on different issues related with the EU.
- To learn specific vocabulary relating to the EU.
- To raise consciousness of the need to respond to the challenges currently facing European society.
- To encourage autonomy by offering tools for research and collecting information about a topic related to the EU.
- To carry out a more in-depth analysis of the texts, graphic documents and audiovisual materials.
- To learn how to work with and interpret statistical data.
- To be aware of belonging to a common project involving more than 500 million Europeans.