Engagement: A social online rising
Your guide to the best interactive sources on 1916
The 1916 Centenary will see a remarkable collection of resources and tools available to help schools and students make sense of the Rising and how it shaped us. Here's a guide to some initiatives, websites and social web tools that can help you interact with the events.
1 Ireland.ie is the home of all of the information you need about the official 2016 commemorations and events. The organisers are on Twitter @Ireland2016 and on Facebook (facebook.com/wwwIreland2016) where you can view pictures and other historical documents relating to 1916. The website has details of all the events mentioned in this magazine.
2 Military Archives, overseen by the Defence Forces, has had a polished social media presence for many years now and is active every day on Twitter. Check them out at @dfarchives - there is currently no Facebook page. See the website at www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie.
3 The National Library of Ireland's online exhibition is called The 1916 Rising: Personalities and Perspectives. This study resource draws upon the Library's rich holdings of books, newspapers, photographs, drawings, proclamations and, not least, manuscript material. In all, more than 500 images have been selected for study and analysis. See: www.nli.ie/1916/
4 Google is among a number of tech companies running interesting 1916-related initiatives. Its annual Doddle for Google competition will feature a centenary-themed artwork for the 1916 commemorations. Shoolchildren of all ages are invited to submit an entry focused on themes such as Our Home, Our Story, Our Identity and Our Journey. The deadline for entries is November 26, 2015, and the winning design will appear as a 'Doodle' on the Google homepage on Easter Monday, March 28, Each category winner will receive two Chromebook laptops - one for the winner and one for their teacher, and the overall victor from 75 finalists will be awarded a €5,000 scholarship towards their third-level studies along with a €10,000 technology grant. Get doodling, people! See: www.google.ie/doodle4google/faq.html
5 Letters1916 is an absolutely fascinating idea that students and teachers will love. This project can be followed on Twitter @Letters1916 and promises rich reading and learning material for people of all ages. It is the first public humanities crowd-sourced project in Ireland, which means the collection is the result of whatever the public sends in to shape the content. The organisers have asked people to submit letters they may have from relatives who wrote them at the time of the Easter Rising, on dates between October 31 1915 and November 1 1916. To date, there are now more than 2,230 letters that comment on the Easter Rising, literature and art, the Great War, politics, business, and ordinary life. The website is www.letters1916.ie.
6 An Post has produced a fantastic resource for students and teachers - a set of downloadable PDFs that set out the key events of 1916. The role of the humble stamp in creating Irish identity is a fascinating story, for instance, but for most pupils it is the GPO and 1916 which will strike an immediate chord of interest and recognition. A visit to the GPO museum to look at the Proclamation in the very building where Patrick Pearse read it aloud to passing Dublin citizens is a memorable experience. The downloadable PDFs are pitched at senior primary level and junior second-level but teachers will be able to adapt and supplement the material for various age groups as they require. See: www.anpost.ie/AnPost/History+and+Heritage/Learning/
7 Easter1916.ie is a magnificient online student project that showcases digital cultural heritage. The site is the final project of a MSc in Applied Digital Media at Griffith College Dublin. It presents a redefined story of the revolution through rarely-seen pictures and witness statements. See: http://www.easter1916.ie/
8 Expect several apps to appear on the scene in the next few months with 1916-related content. One that's already available to download takes a detailed and interactive journey around the Dublin streets that witnessed revolution. Using your Smartphone's GPS function as an interactive map, The 1916 Easter Rising Audio Trail guides users through 15 locations around Dublin City Centre, from Liberty Hall to Collins Barracks. Each location's story and significance in the events of the Rising is brought to life with its own audio narrative and pictures of the scene in 1916. It was created by Stephen McDonagh, a final-year student at Ballyfermot College of Further Education. The 1916 Easter Rising Audio Trail is available to download for Apple and Android smartphones and costs €1.79.
9 YouTube videos of schools recording a new version of the Proclamatiom will be available to view on the Ireland 2016 YouTube channel, from early next year. Information will be available at ireland.ie. The idea is part of the "proclamation for a new generation" project in which students can write a new 600-word proclamation - written in English or Irish or in another language spoken at the school.
10 The Centenary is about learning and as we have seen above, there are some excellent professional websites and other digital tools out there to learn all about 1916. But the final word must go to Mr O'Broin's 6th Class at St Cronan's School in Bray, Co Wicklow, who have assembled a very impressive website with special features about the Rising. Teacher Karl O'Brien can be proud of his class's effort - an example to other schools of what can be done together. See: www.mrobroin.stcronans.ie/