USP’s History students who conducted the History research project for the Fijian History mobile app. Sitting to the far right is Dr Nicholas Halter. The last two gentlemen standing to the far right is Mr Sanjeet Chand and Mr Ralph Buadromo.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) launched the Fijian History mobile app, an innovative tool which makes learning History exciting and interactive, at the Laucala Campus on 19 October 2018.
As part of a Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL)-funded project for Technology Use in Learning & Teaching, the mobile app is the outcome of a research project to evaluate the use of a collaborative content curation tool to support online assessments.
Mr Sanjeet Chand, a learning analytics engineer at CFL and mobile app developer, explained that the app could be accessed for free on a computer or downloaded on any Android device.
“The teaching of History in Fiji has been limited by a lack of freely accessible resources, and what little can be found online is often outdated or irrelevant to local students or teachers so this new app can basically make learning History more exciting,” he said.
Fifty-six (56) third-year history students worked in groups to conduct action research of local sites in Suva during Semester 2, 2018, led by their course coordinator, Dr Nicholas Halter, who is a Lecturer in History at the School of Social Sciences.
He stated that following extensive archival research, interviews, and a community consultation session, students presented this data as a chronological timeline, along with photographs and audio recordings.
“Students also went on fieldtrips to the Navosa and Ba provinces to record additional sites in order to demonstrate the commercial applications of this app for Fiji’s heritage and tourism,” he said.
The team welcomes any suggestions to revise or add information to the app.
Dr Halter stated that students, teachers, schools, religious groups, community organisations and villages are all invited to contribute information to expand and deepen the historical information presented.
Mr Ralph Buadromo, educational technologist at CFL, explained that Moodle and Google analytics, as well as feedback surveys and qualitative interviews have been used to assess student performance and engagement during the semester.
“This app was an experiment in collaborative content curation. Students worked in groups to consult varied sources (archival, oral, community etc) in order to piece together information about historical sites. The initial content focuses on a chronological timeline, but over time more local stories could be added as the public respond to the app,” he said.
Mr Buadromo mentioned that the app allows for more users to interact with history which might encourage them to write about sites that they think are important, or correct the narrative that they may think has been misrepresented in the past.
“This app will help you to become fully immersed in the iconic sites of our Fijian History with meaningful information and images that tell the story,” he stated.
Mr Dhiraj Bhartu, Acting Deputy Director of CFL said the app is just one of the many collaborative initiative that has come out of the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)’s projects.
CFL, he said, is a leading and cutting edge section within the USP which focuses on technology enhanced learning and student experiences through its people, systems, technology and design processes.
“CFL this year launched a TEL’s initiative which gave opportunities to the staff and students of the USP to develop innovative experiences in their learning journey,” he noted.
The research team comprised Dr Halter, Mr Buadromo and Mr Chand.
Donor groups or community organisations willing to partner with USP’s School of Social Sciences to ensure the continuity of the app can be contacted via email@example.com.
To download the app visit Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=usp.fijianhistory or go to www.fijianhistory.com.
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