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IES Parque de Lisboa Presentation


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#1 Juan Carlos

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 09:14 AM

Looking to the future

So far, ICT and internet has brought about changes in the way history is taught. Teachers and students are able to obtain large amounts of historical contents in a very short time. A few years ago, to get the same information would have meant to peruse tens of books at home or in libraries. John Simkin's Spartacus Educational is an outstanding example. My web site Historiasiglo20.org may be included in this sort of resources.

On top of that, we can get a much more diverse range of resources: texts, images, maps, videoclips, animations.... Teachers can also find lots of lesson plans to organise their work in the classroom.

The great amount of resources available on internet and the abundance of low quality web sites made difficult for teachers and students to carry out a significant didactic sequence. Webquests were born to solve this problem. Their aim is to make students focus on using information rather than searching for it. Webquests also provide a model of collaborative work for the students. An example of webquest is Jean Monnet's life and European History

However, in my view all those important new developments do not mean a dramatic change in the way history is taught. Teachers and students have at their disposal a huge number of resources that is available "one click away", but I do not think that we have extracted from ICT and internet all the advantages we can use for teaching history.

I would like to point out two features that we intend to work out at my school in the framework of E-HELP project:

Collaborative work

Some of the participants of this meeting are in charge of some of the most successful examples of collaboration on the internet: The Education Forum Schoolhistory Forum and, in Spanish, Foros de Debate, on Jose Luis de la Torre's Educahistoria web site, are other illustrative samples of history teachers' forums. Some years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have a virtual meeting point where teachers may share ideas, resources, even some jokes.

There are a growing number of initiatives that try to bring together schools, teachers and students from different countries. Web based projects are undoubtedly one of the most powerful teaching tools in the next future.

Despite of recent Virtual School closure, European Schoolnet is one of the most successful European web based initiatives. MyEurope, E-Twinning or Spring Day in Europe are projects that try to promote the European dimension at the schools. Global Gateway is a British web site that tries to enable teachers and students to engage in partnerships.

However, in the future, we have to go further. What about on line lessons prepared by teachers from different countries? How enriching would be to work with colleagues that come from different traditions and styles of teaching!
Internet is globalising education and, therefore, students will learn in a new learning environment. This change will go beyond students forums and will be very positive for the most gifted and talented students.

History, the subject we teach, is one of the areas of knowledge that will profit more by collaborative work. Traditionally, history has been a subject strongly biased by nationalism. Classrooms have been places where national prejudices and xenophobia were promoted amongst children and youngsters. Europe knows a lot about it.

Students should listen to different voices and interpretations when studying the past. Collaborative web based work can be an excellent tool to improve our students' historical knowledge and critical thinking.

We have just started our project, but I would strongly like to set up in the future a Comenius Network that created links between HELP and other Comenius projects focused in history teaching. A European history curriculum would be an excellent outcome of that future project.

The Council of Europe has developed several interesting history teaching projects on this matter:

Learning and teaching about the history of Europe in the 20th century

Bilateral and regional Co-operation - Reform of History Teaching

European Dimension in History Teaching

Yet there is a serious lack of web resources to teach history from this new collaborative perspective. To fill this void will be one of history teachers' challenges in the next future.

Interactive websites

Ramón Burgaleta - PrincipiosdEconomia, Economics teacher at IES Parque de Lisboa, and I are working on setting up interactive resources by using Macromedia Flash.

Instead of creating colourful and (too) imaginative new activities, we would like to bring the traditional history teaching activities on the internet, taking advantage of all the ICT potentials.

Our activities are not very refined yet, but we hope that over our three years project we will manage to set up a sufficient number of useful resources that cover most of the typical history teaching activities.

These are some of the activities we have been working on:

Treinta años de la primera crisis del petróleo (Thirty years from the first oil crisis)

This Flash animation can help us to introduce the topic and motivate students. Then, by putting links on it, we can create a didactic sequence that offers our student different activities (texts, images, maps, videoclips, mind maps) to study the theme in depth.

Other examples are the following:

Instituciones de la Unión Europe

Cold War and Olympic Games

Textual analysis is a very usual task in Spanish and other countries' schools. Here you can see a sample of a Flash animation which includes a text to analyse, some guidelines on the task and boxes for the students to write. The document can be printed.

Textual Analysis Exercise

This is just a preliminary version. Once refined, this resource can be used for analysing images, graphics, videoclips...

We are aware that working with Flash Macromedia is far beyond most of European history teachers' technological abilities. Trying to cope with this problem, we have started creating some pdf files, far easier to elaborate and very useful to assess students' work. This sort of documents can be sent by e-mail to our students as home work. Their reply will merely consist of the data written by then, a very light file, easy to send back to the teacher, and then we can grade and comment it by e-mail or at the classroom.

A visit to the Prado Museum

We can embed in these .pdf documents all sort of files (texts, images, videoclips, graphics, statistitcs...

Edited by Juan Carlos, 01 March 2005 - 08:44 PM.


#2 John Simkin

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 03:57 PM

There are a growing number of initiatives that try to bring together schools, teachers and students from different countries. Web based projects are undoubtedly one of the most powerful teaching tools in the next future.

Despite of recent Virtual School closure,  European Schoolnet is one of the most successful European web based initiatives. MyEurope, E-Twinning or Spring Day in Europe are projects that try to promote the European dimension at the schools. Global Gateway is a British web site that tries to enable teachers and students to engage in partnerships.

However, in the future, we have to go further. What about on line lessons prepared by teachers from different countries? How enriching would be to work with colleagues that come from different traditions and styles of teaching!
Internet is globalising education and, therefore, students will learn in a new learning environment. This change will go beyond students forums and will be very positive for the most gifted and talented students.

History, the subject we teach, is one of the areas of knowledge that will profit more by  collaborative work. Traditionally, history has been a subject strongly biased by nationalism. Classrooms have been places where national prejudices and xenophobia were promoted amongst children and youngsters. Europe knows a lot about it. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I have been involved in several of the projects you have mentioned. In fact, in two of the cases, we worked together on these projects. I agree that this has been an important first step. However, as you rightly point out, we must go further. Not only because we can, but because we must.

I agree completely with you when you write: “Traditionally, history has been a subject strongly biased by nationalism. Classrooms have been places where national prejudices and xenophobia were promoted amongst children and youngsters.”

I believe that the best way of dealing with this is by teachers working collaboratively. There are two main reasons for this. (1) It shows that people from different countries can productively work together. (2) It can show the limitations of historical accounts written by someone of your own nationality.

For example, in the early 1980s I wrote a history textbook with a teacher from the United States entitled the American Revolution. The book attempted to show how this event was seen differently in the two countries. Most importantly, it attempted to show that school textbooks, even those written by “liberals” provided a distorted view of the past.

In the past we have worked together on producing materials on European Unity. Hopefully the E-HELP project will enable us to broaden this out to include teachers from several other countries. I am sure this process will develop new ways of interpreting our past.

#3 Caterina Gasparini

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 04:18 PM

There are a growing number of initiatives that try to bring together schools, teachers and students from different countries. Web based projects are undoubtedly one of the most powerful teaching tools in the next future.

Despite of recent Virtual School closure,  European Schoolnet is one of the most successful European web based initiatives. MyEurope, E-Twinning or Spring Day in Europe are projects that try to promote the European dimension at the schools. Global Gateway is a British web site that tries to enable teachers and students to engage in partnerships.

However, in the future, we have to go further. What about on line lessons prepared by teachers from different countries? How enriching would be to work with colleagues that come from different traditions and styles of teaching!
Internet is globalising education and, therefore, students will learn in a new learning environment. This change will go beyond students forums and will be very positive for the most gifted and talented students.

I agree on the importance of having students from different countries cooperating and actually meeting on the Internet. The Springday event we organized in 2003 in my school was based on a series of videoconferences with students from the UK, Sweden, Turkey and another school in Italy to discuss issues such as the European Constitution, European values, European languages, etc. Schools sent each other the questions they had prepared a few days before the event so as to get ready to give their answers during the videoconference.
It worked perfectly well above our expectations and the debate developed beyond the original questions to include values such as tolerance, mutual understanding, immigration, peace and war (it was a hot question at the time), etc. Students interacted freely, with no control from their teachers who did not take part in the debate and it was extraordinary to see and hear young people who had never met or spoken to each other before that day speak "the same language", compare their ideas and find they all agreed on the importance of common values such as peace and tolerance. The event concluded with invitations to "actually meet" and continue the dialogue.

#4 Juan Carlos

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 08:44 PM

I have just uploaded on my web site different pages dealing with European projects and collaborative environments:Proyectos y entornos colaborativos europeos The main European initiatives for Spanish teachers. It is in Spanish.

#5 Dalibor Svoboda

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Posted 12 March 2005 - 09:35 AM

Just single thought popped in my mind when reading Juan Carlos contribution. A thought I was fighting for elsewhere in debates.

Where are the students?

Couldn’t they do a huge bit of creation of these web sites you mention as a part of their educational process?

What are student’s responses to the teaching material created by you? You wrote a lot about new and better teaching but very little about new and better learning.

#6 Juan Carlos

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 12:58 PM

Where are the students?
Couldn’t they do a huge bit of creation of these web sites you mention as a part of their educational process?


I focused my presentation on two topics: collaborative work and interactivity.
Both features will change dramatically the student's situation in the learning process.

Working on the internet will provide the most gifted and talented students the possibility of building up their own knowledge by collaborating (researching, analysing, producing all sort of resources) with students from all over the world. I expect that in one generation a majority of European learners will get by in "Euro-English", then, when language barriers are demolished, the classical classroom will be deleted by a brand-new organization of the learning process.
Collaborative work will also improve dramatically the learning of less gifted students. I am not an expert at all, but I am sure that ICT and internet can help this sort of students to be motivated, feel successful and improve their learning.

Interactivity is another characteristic that will create a new sort of learning project. So far, the sort of interactive web sites we can use are based on quite basic cognitive abilities. I believe that things will change in the next future. Just think about Collaboration features of conceptual maps on line or weblogs

#7 Mike Tribe

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 10:50 AM

I hate to be at all negative about the "internet experience" because I agree absolutely with Juan Carlos that it has the capacity to enrich funadmentally the teaching and learning of history. However, there are potential dangers of which we should be aware and against which it would be advisable to take some precautions.

I invite you to take a look at http://educationforu...wtopic=3104&hl= which is a thread here on this forum which purports to look at the evidence for and against the historical "fact" of the Holocaust. On it, you can find people who write with apparent conviction about a conspiracy to create a myth that 6 million jews were murdered by the Nazis. They produce "proof" that this simply couldn't have happened and suggest that the "historical establishment" has ignored such evidence for some reason or another.

Now, as trained and experienced historians, we can see this sort of stuff for the rubbish it clearly is. What worries me is the ability of our students to sort the wheat from the chaff. I see a necessity to begin to teach classes on how to determine the reliability of web-based information. With written sources, I teach my kids to look at origin and purpose and various other measures of reliability, but these are much more difficult to determine with internet sources. Does anyone know of any suitable materials I can use for this purpose?

With reference to the call for more collaborative work, I can only say I concur absolutely. We used to try to achieve something similar with exchange trips and pen-pal schemes when I was a lad. The internet makes it possible to extend such contacts expontentially. I just wish I could convince my bosses of this!!

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 03:59 PM

I hate to be at all negative about the "internet experience" because I agree absolutely with Juan Carlos that it has the capacity to enrich funadmentally the teaching and learning of history. However, there are potential dangers of which we should be aware and against which it would be advisable to take some precautions.

I invite you to take a look at http://educationforu...wtopic=3104&hl= which is a thread here on this forum which purports to look at the evidence for and against the historical "fact" of the Holocaust. On it, you can find people who write with apparent conviction about a conspiracy to create a myth that 6 million jews were murdered by the Nazis. They produce "proof" that this simply couldn't have happened and suggest that the "historical establishment" has ignored such evidence for some reason or another.

Now, as trained and experienced historians, we can see this sort of stuff for the rubbish it clearly is. What worries me is the ability of our students to sort the wheat from the chaff. I see a necessity to begin to teach classes on how to determine the reliability of web-based information. With written sources, I teach my kids to look at origin and purpose and various other measures of reliability, but these are much more difficult to determine with internet sources. Does anyone know of any suitable materials I can use for this purpose?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


This is clearly a serious problem. Research suggests that students are more inclined to believe information they find on the web than other sources such as textbooks. This is part of the “magic box” problem.

This will be a growing problem. All the evidence suggests that students will become more and more dependant on information from the web.

There are two possible strategies:

(1) Attempt to prevent students seeing this information. I know some schools try to prevent students from accessing non-approved websites. Google also block certain websites such as those run by Holocaust deniers. However, this approach is counter-productive. One of the reasons they are inclined to believe these “conspiracy theories” is that they know attempts are being made to stop them seeing this information. To some students, this is evidence that the conspiracy must be true.

(2) Students must be equipped with the necessary skills to challenge all information they receive. This might make work for the teacher more difficult, but it will help to produce a more healthy democracy.

I am currently working on producing some teaching materials on the 1936 Olympic Games. Until I started this I only knew what I read in school textbooks. This usually focuses in on the Jesse Owens’ story. The message is that Hitler’s attempt to use the games as a propaganda exercise ended in failure. However, that is the comfortable story that we tell in hindsight. For example, I have never seen the story of Helene Meyer, the German Jew who gave a Nazi salute when she was presented with the silver medal for fencing. This story is all about a political conspiracy that wasn't.

On May 13, 1931, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1936 Summer Olympics to Berlin. This was partly a political decision. As a result of Germany losing the First World War it had been prevented from taking part in the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games. This was an attempt to show that Germany had been fully accepted into the world community. Theodor Lewald, who had been Germany’s leading supporter of the idea that sport could be used to achieve world peace, was appointed as chairman of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee.

Six days after Lewald and his Organizing Committee held their first meeting, Adolf Hitler gained power in Germany. Members of the Nazi Party immediately called for Lewald to resign as chairman of the Organizing Committee. The reason being that one of Lewald’s grandparents had been Jewish.

Before gaining power Hitler had been opposed to the Olympics being held in Germany. He denounced the Olympics as “an invention of Jews and Freemasons” and an event “inspired by Judaism which cannot possibly be put on in a Reich ruled by National Socialist”.

The Nazi government immediately took action that suggested it was not interested in hosting the 1936 Olympic Games. On 1st April, 1933, the German Boxing Federation told Jewish boxers that they could not take part in German championship contests.

Later that month Danny Prenn, a leading German tennis player, was dropped from the Davis Cup team because he was Jewish. In May all Jews were expelled from all gymnastic clubs.

In July, 1933, Fritz Rosenfelder, committed suicide in protest after being expelled from his local sports club. The German Nazi newspaper, Der Sturmer reported: “It is evident why Rosenfelder was expelled from the sports club. We need to waste no words here. Jews are Jews, and there is no place for him in German sport.”

The first few months of Hitler’s administration saw a campaign to exclude Germany’s Jews from all aspects of German life. It looked certain that Germany would be expelled from the Olympic movement and would lose the right to hold the 1936 games. However, Joseph Goebbels, the Minister for Propaganda, urged Hitler to reconsider his views on this subject. He pointed out that the Olympic Games could be used as a vast propaganda exercise.

Hitler now began making speeches in favour of Germany holding the Olympic Games in 1936. Hitler also became active in the organization of the games. In October, 1933, he announced that a new stadium that could seat 100,000 would be built in Berlin. He told the German public that the country would also get a new swimming stadium with seats for 16,000 spectators and a hockey stadium with 20,000 seats.

Jews throughout the world called for Germany to be denied the right to hold the Olympic Games. They were joined by left-wing political groups who saw their comrades in Germany being placed in concentration camps. Jewish refugees living in the United States played an important role in this campaign. Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), pointed out that Germany had broken Olympic rules forbidding discrimination based on race and religion. In his view, participation would mean an endorsement of Hitler's Reich.

In 1935 Avery Brundage, the new president of the AAU, conducted an inspection tour to Berlin. The Nazi government insisted that Jews would be able to compete in the games and even selected a few to represent Germany. On his return to the United States the president of the Athletic Union published a statement insisting that Jewish athletes were being treated fairly. He added that there existed a "Jewish-Communist conspiracy" to keep the United States out of the Games.

Lord Aberdare, Lord Burghley and Sir Noel Curtis-Bennett, the three British representatives on the International Olympic Games Committee, played an important role in making sure there was not a boycott against the Berlin Olympics.

On 13th January, 1936, Curtiss-Bennett made a speech arguing that those calling for a boycott were trying to “mix sport with politics” and added: “All I have to say to them is, Hands off sport, politicians.” As his critics pointed out, he should have tried making that speech in Berlin.

Lord Aberdare reported that Germany was not guilty of persecuting Jews. He claimed that this false impression had been manufactured by the mass media: “The Press seems to me to fail lamentably in its duty of giving the true state of affairs to the public. It chooses to link its political aversion and hatred of international sport, instead of spreading the true doctrine that sport should be non-political.”

Behind the scenes the International Olympic Games Committee worked closely with Hitler in order to allow the games to go ahead. This included persuading Hitler to remove anti-Jewish signs while competitors were in Germany. They also persuaded him to allow a few Jewish athletes to take part in the events. The most important of these was the 1928 Olympic fencing gold medallist. Helene Meyer, whose father had been Jewish had suffered considerable persecution in Germany and had gone to live in California. However, Meyer was persuaded to return to take part in the Berlin Olympics. She even agreed to give the Nazi salute during the ceremony.

Meyer’s decision was condemned by Jewish athletes all over the world. A large number announced they were unwilling to compete in Germany. Others, who held left-wing views also refused to participate. They complained that German socialist and communist leaders had been held in prison for over three years without trial. Just days before the Olympic Games took place, the German government announced that Edgar Andre, the Communist leader, had been sentenced to death, after a secret trial in Hamburg.

The left-wing government in Spain was especially critical of the decision to hold the Olympics in Berlin. They therefore announced an alternative "People's Olympiad" in Barcelona in July, 1936. The objective was “counter the Berlin Games with a popular sports festival which does not hope for record feats, but intends to preserve the true Olympic spirit of peace and cooperation between nations.”

Thousands of athletes were arriving in Barcelona when the Spanish Civil War broke out. Fighting became so fierce that the alternative games had to be cancelled. On 26th July, 1936, Hitler agreed to send military help to General Franco and the fascists in Spain.

However, the games went ahead. The reason being that the public believed the view that the idea that Jews were being persecuted was being put about by a "Jewish-Communist conspiracy".

#9 Juan Carlos

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 08:10 PM

Mike wrote:
With written sources, I teach my kids to look at origin and purpose and various other measures of reliability, but these are much more difficult to determine with internet sources. Does anyone know of any suitable materials I can use for this purpose?


The best web site I know is Internet for historians. It is an excellent web site written by Frances Condron and Grazyna Cooper, Humanities Computing Unit, Oxford University Computing Services, University of Oxford. There you can find a whole section focused on Review - What to trust on Internet. I used this resource and others to set up this page on my web site Evaluación de los sitios web

John wrote:
There are two possible strategies:

(1) Attempt to prevent students seeing this information. I know some schools try to prevent students from accessing non-approved websites. Google also block certain websites such as those run by Holocaust deniers. However, this approach is counter-productive. One of the reasons they are inclined to believe these “conspiracy theories” is that they know attempts are being made to stop them seeing this information. To some students, this is evidence that the conspiracy must be true.

(2) Students must be equipped with the necessary skills to challenge all information they receive. This might make work for the teacher more difficult, but it will help to produce a more healthy democracy.


To think that the first strategy is going to success is, apart from counterproductive, wishful thinking. We cannot and, probably, must not keep our students away from searching the internet.
The second strategy is one of the greatest challenges of our job. Unfortunately, extreme political stances, specially the fascist and nazi ones, have a lot of web sites on the net. Probably, a good resource could be based on deconstructing and criticising some of these nazi "revisionist" web sites.

Edited by Juan Carlos, 14 March 2005 - 08:13 PM.


#10 Juan Carlos

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Posted 14 March 2005 - 08:20 PM

John wrote:
Lord Aberdare, Lord Burghley and Sir Noel Curtis-Bennett, the three British representatives on the International Olympic Games Committee, played an important role in making sure there was not a boycott against the Berlin Olympics (...)
The left-wing government in Spain was especially critical of the decision to hold the Olympics in Berlin. They therefore announced an alternative "People's Olympiad" in Barcelona in July, 1936. The objective was “counter the Berlin Games with a popular sports festival which does not hope for record feats, but intends to preserve the true Olympic spirit of peace and cooperation between nations.”

Thousands of athletes were arriving in Barcelona when the Spanish Civil War broke out. Fighting became so fierce that the alternative games had to be cancelled. On 26th July, 1936, Hitler agreed to send military help to General Franco and the fascists in Spain.


I never thought of the Berlin Olympic Games vs. "Olimpiada Popular" in Barcelona as an excellent example of the "appeasement" policy. It can be a very sugestive way for our students to study international relations in the 30s.

Edited by Juan Carlos, 15 March 2005 - 09:08 AM.


#11 Mike Tribe

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 06:38 AM

The best web site I know is Internet for historians. It is an excellent web site written by Frances Condron and Grazyna Cooper, Humanities Computing Unit, Oxford University Computing Services, University of Oxford. There you can find a whole section focused on Review - What to trust on Internet. I used this resource and others to set up this page on my web site Evaluación de los sitios web

Juan Carlos

I checked this out, and it's a good site. Some of the links appear to have died which unfortunately makes the interactive "quiz" unusable, but the guidelines are still very valid. Unfortunately, it's aimed at university undergraduates, and I don't think kost of my 14-year-olds could use it. I think we should be tackling this from the moment we begin using internet sources with our kids, even back at primary school ages. As John said, kids can be very uncritical of material they found on the web... This used also to be the case with stuff they read in the newspaper: one of my 16-year-olds told me yesterday that he'd read that 70% of all people in Spanish jails were Moroccan! He hadn't thought about the statistic at all. Because he'd "read it somewhere", the responsibility for the accuracy of the information was removed from him. He had no responsibility for checking its veracity or even for think whether such a claim met the simplest "common sense" criteria... I hate to harp on about this, but I really do think it's important and could be a useful project within the E-HELP framework...

I also read your material on evaluation of sources, JC, and it's useful and thought-provoking, but it is aimed at teachers looking to use internet sources in their courses. What I need is something to use with my students which will help them develop the critical skills in evaluating internet sources which we've been working to develop with regard to written sources over the past 20 or so years...

#12 John Simkin

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 09:04 AM

I hate to harp on about this, but I really do think it's important and could be a useful project within the E-HELP framework...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I agree with you. You have identified a problem that E-HELP should attempt to so something about. I assume you are suggesting that we provide an online guide on how to test out the veracity of a document, website page, etc. on the web. We could do that but I don’t think it will completely solve the problem. For example, I recently came across on the web what appeared to be an official CIA document dated 3rd August, 1962.

Wiretap of telephone conversation between reporter Dorothy Kilgallen and her close friend, Howard Rothberg; from wiretap of telephone conversation of Marilyn Monroe and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Appraisal of Content: (Blacked Out).

1. Rothberg discussed the apparent comeback of subject with Kilgallen and the break up with the Kennedys. Rothberg told Kilgallen that she was attending Hollywood parties hosted by the "inner circle" among Hollywood's elite and was becoming the talk of the town again. Rothberg indicated in so many words, that she had secrets to tell, no doubt arising from her trists (sic) with the President and the Attorney General. One such (illegible) mentions the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purpose of inspecting things from outer space. Kilgallen replied that she knew what might be the source of the visit. In the mid-fifties Kilgallen learned of secret effort by US and UK governments to identify the origins of crashed spacecraft and dead bodies, from a British government official. Kilgallen believed the story may have come from the (illegible) in the late forties. Kilgallen said that if the story is true, it could cause terrible embarrassment to Jack and his plans to have NASA put men on the moon.

2. Subject repeatedly called the Attorney General and complained about the way she was being ignored by the President and his brother.

3. Subject threatened to hold a press conference and would tell all.

4. Subject made references to "bases" in Cuba and knew of the President's plan to kill Castro.

5. Subject made reference to her "diary of secrets" and what the newspapers would do with such disclosures.

On the surface this appeared to be a fascinating document. It was dated the day before Marilyn Monroe’s death. It seemed to be suggesting that the Kennedy brothers had good reason to want her dead. Kilgallen an investigative reporter, was also found dead in suspicious circumstances. However, there was one passage that made me feel it was a forgery. That is the reference to the secret air base inspecting things from outer space. That was put in because they thought it would appeal to those who were “conspiracy theorists”. I suspected that the document had been produced to smear the Kennedys.

I contacted a friend of mine who is an historian in the United States. He is an expert on released documents from the CIA and FBI and did a check for me (the document had a CIA number on it). It was indeed a forgery. The point I am trying to make that no online guide provided by E-HELP would have been able to help them identify it as a forgery.

I think the best way forward is for teachers to provide online activities for students that includes documents checked out beforehand. For example, I use the document above in an online activity. However, I tell the students that it is a forged document. The activity then raises the issue about why people should plant false documents on the web.

#13 Juan Carlos

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 09:19 AM

You (Mike) have identified a problem that E-HELP should attempt to so something about. I assume you are suggesting that we provide an online guide on how to test out the veracity of a document, website page, etc. on the web. We could do that but I don’t think it will completely solve the problem.


I definitely think that it can be one of the E-HELP tasks. I believe that it is going to be very difficult to cover all the criteria we need to evaluate the veracity of any sort of resource we come across on the web, but it is worth trying it.

On top of that, students really enjoy playing the detective role. I recently used the web site The Commissar vanishes on the falsification of photographs in Stalin's USSR and it was a successful class on dictatorship's manipulation.

Probably, the best way to deal with this topic is categorizing a series of criteria and finding web sites that exemplify them.

#14 Mike Tribe

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Posted 15 March 2005 - 10:09 AM

I contacted a friend of mine who is an historian in the United States. He is an expert on released documents from the CIA and FBI and did a check for me (the document had a CIA number on it). It was indeed a forgery. The point I am trying to make that no online guide provided by E-HELP would have been able to help them identify it as a forgery.



I know there's no fool-proof way of verifying sources, either written or on the web -- but I think what we need to do is to start training kids to develop the sort of "nose" for fakes which led you to doubt the document to which you refer. If you hadn't been suspicious, then you wouldn't have checked with your friend, would you?

The website JC referred to has some very useful suggestions which could be a basis from which to work, but it's too advanced for most of my students...

#15 John Simkin

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 04:46 PM

Juan Carlos Ocana presentation can be seen here:






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