Scrolling through my Google Reader today, I was captivated by this post by Wesley Fryer. He tells of an encounter he had with a Katrina survivor and the harrowing events she experienced.
What struck me the most were these comments:
Listening to this woman tell her story, I was further convicted of the importance of recording and archiving the stories and experiences of others in our communities and in our homes. It was impossible to listen to her tale and not be moved. Too often in school, I think we focus too much on facts and dates, and fail to connect personally with a context. Listening to the lived experiences of others who have survived harrowing circumstances can be an impactful learning opportunity.
A search this evening on YouTube for “hurricane katrina” yields over 9000 videos, and I will readily admit I have NOT taken the time to watch many of these. Of the videos I have seen, however, none communicate the desperation and all-out battle for survival which the woman on our train shared in her story Sunday night. I have an abiding sense that much of “the story” of the Katrina disaster remains untold and undocumented, at least for those of us who would be students of this recent history.
So here are some ideas I have right off the bat that could be put to use (especially in those days after EOGs when teachers struggle to keep students engaged).
- Have students find someone to interview in their community, someone with a story to tell and interview the person
- Have students document the interview by taking photos of the person telling the story, shooting digital video, or record the audio digitally
- Take not only the words the person says but these digital captures and mash them up in a project that tells the story visually and aurally
For these types of projects to have the most impact, they need to be shared and not just in the form of a presentation in the classroom but online through teacher blogs or the school blogs. Ok, ideas for mashing:
- Create a PowerPoint and insert video or audio clips of the interviewee; save them as web pages, upload to the web; link to blogs
- Create a PhotoStory using still images and audio files; upload finished projects and link to blogs
- Create podcasts of the interviews (there are many tools out there for this) and link to blogs
- Create a VoiceThread project with the movie footage or still shots; share the links of the finished projects on blogs
- Publish digital video to Google video and create a PowerPoint slideshow to accompany it with thoughts or comments; publish in Zentation where the video and the slideshow are presented side by side; link to blogs
There are probably a million ways to do this but these are some thoughts that struck me right off the bat.