An educational application for working with historical sources

With the help of numerous interactive tools, students enter a historical laboratory to analyze period documents, historical photographs, or audio recordings step-by-step.

Go to the catalogue →

What is HistoryLab?

HistoryLab is a Czech online application that works with historical sources for history teaching. Its focus is the 20th century. It offers teachers and students a safe space where they can work creatively without being afraid to make mistakes. With the help of an array of interactive tools, students can enter a historical laboratory and gradually analyze period documents, historical photographs, and audio recordings. Thanks to its playful form, students adopt skills that support critical thinking and develop historical literacy. The application was created in Czech, but we are happy to offer a few sample activities here in English.

Why work with HistoryLab?

HistoryLab is thoroughly tested for work in schools. The application’s user results confirm that students enjoy creative work with the sources, that it stimulates questions, and that it opens up discussions of history in the classroom. Students and teachers have both evaluated HistoryLab positively:

“Greeat, finally fun activities about history. Your own opinion, etc., is better than just writing words in a notebook.”

Students’ comments from HistoryLab’s testing in 2019

“One positive thing that surprised me and that was really nice was how, when we were doing the group work in groups of three or four, it really engaged everyone. Everyone attempted to write something down there, to add something. It even energized the kids who usually don’t do anything.”

A teacher’s comments from HistoryLab’s testing in 2018

“It creates discussion. With its completely simple form. The activities are made such that they are fairly problematic, that is, they really can’t be evaluated unequivocally. The students thus actively discuss them and argue about them. This is what I liked the most of all.”

A teacher’s comments from HistoryLab’s testing in 2016

Catalogue of activities

How Did They Celebrate a Public Holiday?

normalisationeveryday lifecelebrating anniversarieshistorical significancequestioning
This activity focuses on the analysis of a photograph of May festivities in 1980 in the town of Polička. Students describe individual symbols and features of the decoration and realize that a thorough analysis may make understanding the captured festivities easier. They get acquainted with the form

The Village of Horní Vysoké’s Transformation

consequences of the World War Icountrysidemodernizationcause and consequencesquestioning
This activity illustrates the historical change in a concrete village. Students compare photographs of the same place in the village from 1925 and 2004, looking for similarities and differences. The approach of this simple descriptive work (like a “find 10 differences” activity for young students) s

What Happened at Croydon Airport?

World War IINazismthe Holocaustrefugeesethical dimension of historycreating
This activity works with a photograph capturing a critical moment in the story of a refugee from Czechoslovakia trying to find sanctuary in the United Kingdom in 1939. Using additional documents, students reveal unexpected layers of the story. With the aid of a family archive, they give an identity

Why Were They Displaced?

The Munich AgreementWorld War IIdisplacementcause and consequenceschanging perspectives
This activity offers a pair of photographs that capture the displacement of Czechs from the border area in 1938 and the displacement of the Germans from Czechoslovakia in 1945. Students get a sense of the historical events from the perspective of concrete people. They use other sources (the Munich A

What’s next for HistoryLab?

The application is still in development, to be completed in 2021. Czech teachers can already use it in their teaching, however. Feedback from practical use of the application in schools is very important for the creative team, and they constantly integrate it into the development process.

Contact

For general inquiries on Historylab and requests for seminars with Historylab, please contact helpdesk@historylab.cz.

Administration for teachers

Currently, it is also possible to register and test the administrative section for assigning exercises and managing classes.

Testing version of the administration →

The HistoryLap application is being developed within the framework of the “HistoryLab: The use of technology for the development of historical literacy” project, no. TL01000046, with financial support from the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic.


Media partner


Since 2016, several institutions whose work includes the aim of effectively using digital technologies to innovate history teaching have been working together to develop this application. Outside of the TAČR project’s framework, they also work with a consortium of other partners (like Czech Radio, for example).

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