Universiteit Leiden

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Rachel Schats

Rachel Schats is Assistant Professor in Human Osteoarchaeology in the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.

  • Naam: Rachel Schats
  • Functie: Assistant professor
  • Lid van de Leiden Teachers’ Academy sinds 2021
  • Thema: ICT&O

Project: Virtual Osteology: The digitization of human bones for blended education

Archaeology is about people and the lives they lived. Central to the field is the detailed study of artefacts (e.g., tools, jewellery, and pottery) and ecofacts (e.g., plants, wood, and human and animal bones). These objects and remains are therefore at the core of our teaching at the Faculty of Archaeology. While 3D visualisations and digital tools are often during archaeological excavations and research, this technology has not yet made its way into the formal education at our Faculty. Yet, the use of 3D visualisations in teaching and learning can have many benefits, both in online and in-person teaching. Currently, students only have the opportunity to study and practice with physical material in the laboratory. For independent study, they have to resort to handbooks or 2D images, which makes it difficult to fully understand the complex structure and shape of objects and material. Moreover, certain archaeological objects and materials can be very fragile and/or degrade quickly (e.g., wood), or are so unique that only the lucky-few have access. Having access to digital models in class and at home will likely increase the study possibilities of the students as well as diversify the objects and materials that can be included in the curriculum. This could have a positive effect on their study experience and success.

Therefore, the aim of this LTA-project is to study how digital models can be incorporated in archaeological teaching and learning and how the students experience and study with them. I will do so by creating 3D reconstructions of archaeological material and use these in several courses (BA and MA). By conducting surveys and interviews amongst students and staff and investigating study success, I hope to be able to develop best practices for creating models as well as for how to use them in education.

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