Now that USI and USII no longer have an end of course SOL, my colleague and I started discussing how excited we are that teachers won’t feel obligated to spend multiple weeks at the end of the school year reviewing the year’s content. In thinking about this new “extra time” at the end of the year, we began to discuss digital archiving and how the technology we have today allows us to preserve history in a way that would not be possible decades ago.
Based on this idea, and our mutual love for NPR’s “StoryCorps” and “This I Believe” projects, we brainstormed this assignment. This assignment is still in draft form, and we would love some feedback. Here are some specific questions we’re still wrestling with:
As far as “housing” the archives, I am leaning towards creating a blog as the repository for all of the audio files. Each students would initially upload the final MP3 audio file onto Soundcloud and share the link for the audio file with his/her teacher. During the last nine weeks, each student would create a new post on the blog and embed their audio into a post that would then look something like this…
I like Soundcloud for this purpose because we could have the student upload an image of the individual telling the story (we would have people sign waivers allowing this) and have the audio directly embedded into the site (so that it’s click and play with no download). In their posts, the students would also pick out a quote or two that provides a summary and/or hook for the story.
This activity would also be preceded by a short lesson on “tagging” and digital archiving. We would have students explore some crowd-sourced attempts at archiving historical material. Using these resources, we can discuss the purpose and effective use of tagging and then have students tag their posts with the most relevant concepts, events, people, etc.
So, here are two questions:
- Anyone see any flaws with this structure? Would your recommend another method of sharing and housing the information?
- Does anyone have any recommendations for other crowd-sourced attempts at archiving history that may be interesting for the students to explore?
Ideally, we will be having all history students at our school complete this assignment (so 1000+ entries and stories). At the end of the year, we will have students search the repository (using tags and other search features) for a story that interests them. Then, we want the students to complete a research assignment based on their chosen story. Each student will find a primary or secondary source that can be compared/contrasted to the audio story (the two sources should discuss similar events, people, themes, etc.) Each student would use specific examples from the primary document and the audio story to help answer the question: “How does perspective influence our understanding of the past?” This essay and link back to the accompanying primary/secondary documents could be completed in the comments section of the relevant audio post.
- Any other thoughts on how to finish the assignment and bring it all together? Are there some big picture themes that we’re missing?
We are extremely excited about this project. If you have thoughts as to how to make it better, please let us know!