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Editing traces of the past to support historical thinking

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This thesis reports on a study pursued in the mode of design based research. Produced collaboratively by the researcher and an experienced classroom teacher, the design central to this study engages students in historical inquiry by asking them to produce a documentary video about the Battle of Vimy Ridge (1917). The broad goal of this study was to examine the potential digital video editing offers to promote historical understanding in grade 11 social studies students.Provided with a media kit containing digitized film materials recorded in camps and trenches of WWI France and Belguim,as wellas other media such as photographs, maops, and music popular during the war years, students were asked to research and produce a historical account of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Students were further tasked with assessing the battle's hsitorical significance for Canadians. The findings reveal that despite being encouraged to examine and account for multiple perspectives on the significance of this battle, many of the students chose to construct videos that were tributes to fallen soldiers, which only accounted for the “traditional” view of the. Further, findings regarding the use of visual materials in the videos suggest that students made visual selections based on an image’s communicative properties as opposed to its historical properties.
Theses (Faculty of Education) - Simon Fraser University
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: O'Neill, Kevin
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