Place-Based Education

Engaging students in their own communities through local history, local culture and the local environment. An initiative of the Massachusetts Studies Project at UMass Boston.

October 9, 2007
by Joanne Riley
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Digital Storytelling: Using Technology to Tell Stories

Oral history projects are a dime a dozen.  It seems so easy: find a few local folks with good stories to tell,  and stick a microphone in front of them.  Many of us have learned the hard way that oral history projects – that is, those that result in interesting, usable primary source material – need to be carefully planned and executed.  Fortunately there are materials at hand like this website housed at our sister campus, UMass Amherst:

Digital Storytelling: Using Technology to Tell Stories

Created and Maintained by Kevin Hodgson, technology liaison for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, the site is aimed towards Windows users, but contains info that will be useful for oral history projects at all levels, and on all platforms.  Sections include:

February 2, 2007
by Joanne Riley
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Evoca – new tool for oral history

Evoca is an online system (free for 60 minutes, monthly fee for 200 minutes) that allows recording, saving and searching digital voice messages.  It’s used for many purposes, but the website includes a page devoted to oral history.

From the website:

Evoca enables oral historians to:

  • Record and store an oral history project in one place.
  • Preserve existing recordings in digital format.
  • Search audio recordings – the results will actually pinpoint the word you are looking for!
  • Transcribe interviews
  • Translate interviews
  • Spread histories around the world!

January 15, 2007
by Joanne Riley
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Bland County History Archives Project

Bland County History Archives Project, created by the students of Rocky Gap High School, Rocky Gap, Virginia.  Oral histories and their transcipts, cemetery record databases, images, life narratives, special exhibits and more.

"The Rocky Gap High School Oral History and Technology Project is place based education. It is grounded past, present, and future in this place, Bland County, Virginia. The history, the culture, the technology, the writing skills, and the organizational and managerial lessons are all rooted in this place, in these mountains.

The project is a unique blend of tradition and technology. Technology is the lure to bring students to their community history through the stories of its citizens. However it is these stories that give content for the technology to organize, manipulate, and publish. The process gives a student sense of place and thus of himself.

The purpose of this part of the Archives is to help teachers or community members initiate similar projects. The links to the right will show how this was done. It will also explain much of the philosophy and thought behind the project.

Rocky Gap students also travel and conduct oral history workshops. A multimedia presentation is available that explains the project.

We plan to have a cd and a short video to share by the end of this school year. "

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