History app launched

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 gentlemen standing to the far right is Ralph Buadromo. Picture: SUPPLIED

IT seems 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History in Fiji has been limited by a lack of freely accessible resources, and what little can be found online is often outdated or irrelevant to local students or teachers.

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.

This was part of a Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL)-funded project for Technology Use in Learning & Teaching.

Led by Ralph Buadromo, Sanjeet Chand and Nicholas Halter, the research team sought to evaluate the use of a collaborative content curation tool to support online assessments.

Fifty-six third-year history students worked in groups during the semester to research local sites in Suva under the supervision of Dr Nicholas Halter, Lecturer in History at the School of Social Sciences.

They conducted archival research, interviewed people, and organised a community consultation session to present their findings.

They also went on a fieldtrip to the Navosa and Ba provinces to document additional sites and demonstrate the possibilities for expanding the app’s content.

App developer Mr Chand explained that the app can be accessed for free on a computer or downloaded on any Android device.

It can be used offline once initially downloaded.

“The app uses geolocation to guide users towards the closest sites, and includes historical photographs and audio recordings for an immersive experience” he said.

With prior experience developing the USP campus map app and the Snap TopUp Recharge app, Mr Chand stated it was exciting to develop an app that presented local Fijian histories in a simple and engaging style.

“The initial content focuses on a chronological timeline, but over time more local stories could be added as the public respond to the app,” said Mr Buadromo, educational technologist at CFL.

Using Google analytics, the team hopes to understand how people use the app, and what historical collections are most popular.

“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”, he said.

The initial sites were chosen to demonstrate the diverse range of Fijian history, such as its iTaukei and colonial pasts as well as other regional and international influences.

There is potential to expand the app to include more Fijian or Pacific sites, or social media features such as comments.

For now, the team encourages members of the public to email them suggestions.

“If teachers, students or community groups want to present the history of their own school, or a local building or landmark, they can conduct their own investigative research and email us the information and we are happy to include it,” said Mr Buadromo

The team welcomes any suggestions to revise or add information to the app, and is open to partnerships with organisations to ensure the continuity of the app.

They can be contacted via fijianhistoryapp@gmail.com.

  • To download the app visit Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=usp.fijianhistory m Or go to www.fijianhistory.com 

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