We had some geography units for our students based around how areas have changed over time. Many of our students enjoyed comparing historical photos I found for the local areas they knew and current photos that I took of the same places.
There are a few opportunities to make this a real life project and add to a global history project.
The tools below could be useful for either history of geography if they were focusing on local studies. I also see potential for the information to be used in our language classes where they also look into the culture of the country.
1. History Pin
Back in 2010 I wrote about a tool called History Pin. It was created by “We Are What We Do”, a social action movement based in the UK (London) which is now known as Shift. History Pin was created in partnership with Google and is a tool looking at history with a timeline of photographs.
Still supported, it allows users to upload photographs, date them and then slide the timeline through history to see the changes over time. Whether you are interested in buildings, transport or “life” from a particular time, History Pin offers you a glimpse into the past.
It offered our students a great opportunity to do their own research and spend time with older members of their family, talking about the old photos in their family and making sure the stories they hear are kept for posterity. Some used it as a basis for family histories as they did the technical work and the older generations telling their stories/history.
To begin you will need to:
- collect your own photos and it is recommended that they be outdoor shots.
- know the location for each photo (the street rather than town or suburb)
- scan your photos onto a computer
You can register by going to the homepage and clicking on the join button. You will need a Gmail address (you can get one from here) and once you have joined you use will use Google’s Picassa site for sharing photos.
What Was There is a free online tool that makes use of Google Maps and the ability for people to upload old pictures of any location, add the date, and then pinpoint the location on a map and match it to the same view today. It provides a brief history of buildings that have long gone or still exist today. You can even look at a building or street via ‘street view’ and then it will overlay the old photograph on top, allowing you to fade the photo to reveal what it looks like today.
It is simple to adjust the view to match the view in the old photograph as it uses eye-level street view tools. When uploaded you can fade from one view to another so you can see the changes appear before your eyes.
This would be useful for pupils to see how streets around their home or school may have changed over time. They could contribute photographs or link from those elsewhere. It is being updated constantly with new photos. There is also an iPhone app available as well.