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Visualizing Oral History

Presentation for Columbia

Robert Van Geons

on 23 November 2013

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Transcript of Visualizing Oral History

Collect pictures or other visual documentation relevant to the interviewee's responses.

Use MovieMaker or IMovie to create a visual
documentary of the interviewee, using the
interviewee's voice under the
What is it?
“Visualizing Oral History” is an amazing classroom and real-world experience activity designed to increase students' involvement in their local and family communities and thus improve students' understanding of their own history.
Students will:
Instructional Goals
National Council for the
Social Studies
I. Culture
II. Time, Continuity, and Change
IV. Individual Development and Identity
VIII. Science, Technology, and Society
IX. Global Connections
X. Civic Ideals and Practices
National Council of Teachers of English
Standards Addressed
Social constructivism views language and culture as the frameworks through which humans experience, communicate, and understand reality (Vygotsky, 1978).

This theoretical framework acknowledges students’ lived experiences and deciphering on which knowledge they draw upon for their learning experience. It is through these experiences that students become who they are and how they conceptualize the world.
Multi-Modal Learning
Linguistic, Mathematical, and Spatial Intelligences - Documentary Information Collection and Composition

Logical-mathematical and spatial intelligences - Visual Aspects and Organization of Data

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligences- Use of Technology Itself as a Manipulation

Musical intelligence- Production of Patterns and the Pattern analysis, Auditory Expression to Support the Composition

Interpersonal Intelligence- Interview Process

Intrapersonal Intelligence- Independent Research and Composition
For students, the process of interviewing and recording oral histories is a learning process and students become active in the creation of a primary document about some aspect in their community.
From a pedagogical perspective, students develop oral communication skills, language and writing skills, analysis skills of the oral communication, and then learn to transform information into a hypermedia text. Students also develop self-confidence as they present their presentations to their school, parents, community, and the community members they interviewed.
For the community, the oral history project promises benefits at many levels.

At a personal level, oral history enables the interviewee to relive their history, contribute to its interpretation, and make sense of it in a wider context.

Each interviewee participates in the creation of their own history. The completed hypermedia documentary films will be housed at the local library, the local museum, as well as the school’s library. These films will become a permanent record of important aspects of the county’s history and is accessible to the entire community. Thus these documents will become primary documents of great historical significance.
Film Festival
Definition of
Oral History
•Verbally transmitted information about past events. Although often providing information about non-written events, such history is subject to the vagaries of human perceptions and mental recall.

•Evidence taken from the spoken words of people who have knowledge of past events and traditions. This oral history is often recorded on tape and then put in writing. It is used in history books and to document claims.

•The audio recording or transcript which results from planned oral interviews with individuals. These created and preserved interviews are intended for use by researchers and historians.

•The practice or tradition of passing cultural or familial information to further generations by word of mouth, or story telling. Oral histories often contain information not available in other historical forms, and serve to enrich written history with human feelings and personal accounts of global events.
Project Elements
The Interview
Students create...
(and co-create)
Primary historical documents
life-longing learning experiences
real world human connections
Social Constructivism
You will be interviewing a person at least 34-years old about one of the following:

a.His/her experiences as a young teenager (about your age) – If you choose this, include questions about such topics as friends, school, hobbies/interests, relations with parents (i.e. what did parents worry about in those days?), relations with siblings, clothes, music/dance, etc.

b.His/her experiences as a student at ___ High School– If you choose this, focus on relations with teachers, friends, school rules (like dress code), activities, fears and hopes before coming, best and worst memories, how well --HS prepared them for the real world, etc.

c.Additional ideas for interviews:
Natives of your state or city
People who experienced the 1960s
People who served in WWII or Vietnam War or Iraq War, etc.
Professionals whose jobs the student finds interesting to explore (firefighter, artist, doctor, etc.)
Community elders from a different culture

The goal is to make this project meaningful for you.
Directions to Students
Preparation for Interview
Preparation – This is extremely important. If you are poorly prepared, your interview will probably not go smoothly.

Be sure to arrange for a quiet place and an interview time when you will not be interrupted.
Make every effort to obtain a tape recorder; having to take notes will interfere significantly with the flow of the interview and may cause the interviewee to make his/her answers unnecessarily brief. If you must depend only on notes, consider breaking the interview into two shorter sessions.
Be fully familiar with the questions you have come up with and mark those you want to be sure to ask.
Think of yourself as a reporter. A good reporter knows that being interested and politely persistent usually allows you to get the most information.

Begin with an open-ended question – one that can’t be answered with a yes, no, name, or date. The first question you ask will set the tone for the responses you get throughout the entire interview. An example of an open-ended question is: “How would you describe the city or town where you lived when you were a teenager?”

Ask only one question at a time. Wait for the complete answer. If there is a pause, don’t feel obligated to fill it in with another question. This allows the subject to fill the space with his or her own thoughts and feelings.

Use words like “Why,” “How,” “Describe,” “Tell me about” when you ask your questions.

Don’t interrupt a good story. It may not relate to what you asked, but let it run its course. You might like the ending.

“It was this big,” and “I ran from here to there,” mean little when the tape is played back. Add verbal descriptions to any vague gestures: “You mean about as big as a box of Kleenex?”

Do not antagonize your interviewee by pressing him/her too hard to answer a question he/she has indicated he/she does not wish to discuss.

One question everyone should ask is, “What would you do differently if you were in high school today?” or “What have you learned in life that you wished you’d known then?”
Tips for Interviewing
Post Interview Tasks
Thank your interviewee copiously for the time and effort made.

As soon as possible after finishing the interview, listen to the tape or review your notes and jot down any follow-up questions you might have. Ask for this further information as soon as possible.
Written Personal Reflection
Documentary Composition
Written Biography
Cover Page – Use a title that refers to a key point in the life of your subject, preferably a quote from your subject, and a subtitle that includes the subject’s name.

Biography – Summarize your interviewee’s life or the information you learned about the person in a 2 – 3 page biographical paper that has an appropriate opening and conclusion.

Transcript- You must transcribe your entire interview. This takes a lot of time, so prepare wisely.

Reflection – Comment on your experience as an interviewer and listener. Was it hard or easy to do the interview? Why? What did you do well and poorly? What questions would you add or delete?

Paper must be typed in MLA format, and the audio cassette/ audio CD of the interview must be handed in with your paper.

Collect pictures or mementos that you can scan as well.

You will be taught how to create an i-movie documentary for your audio/visual presentation.

You will present your documentary to the class and in a film festival.

You will also archive your paper, transcript, and movie at our library.
More info
Instructions for Archiving (Adapted from EHow.com)
Archiving the Original Interview

Decide the best method for storing the original copy of the oral history interview based on the method used to record it. If you used a video or audio cassette recorder, have the format transferred to DVD or CD for long-term storage. Cassettes have a short shelf life, as the materials they're made from deteriorate quickly compared to DVDs and CDs. Store cassette tapes in an environment where temperatures stay around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity. DVDs and CDs should also be stored in similar environments for longevity. Transfer material stored on DVD or CD to a computer, so they exist in more than one medium. It is always good to have a backup copy of the oral history interview, in case one becomes damaged, or the device with which to view or listen to the interview becomes obsolete. Upload the interview to a computer via a USB port. This option is available with more advanced models of digital voice and video recorders.
Instructions for Archiving (Adapted from EHow.com)
Archiving the Transcribed Interview

Keep a copy of the transcribed interview in more than one place, and in more than one format, in case damage occurs to one of the copies. Store one transcription on your computer and keep one or more print copies in a secure, air-tight location, such as a safe. Upload the transcribed interview to a genealogy website. Many genealogy websites welcome family histories, such as Cyndi's List, Ancestry, and Rootsweb. Create your own oral history website and keep your transcribed interview on it. Ask other genealogy websites to add your link to their webpages. Contact your local library or historical society to ask about their genealogy collection policy. You may be able to store your transcribed oral history interview at these organizations if it's of local historic significance or otherwise meets their collection requirements.
How to Archive an Original Interview
How to Archive an Interview Transcript
What is History? Timelines and Oral History- http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=406
Genealogy in the Classroom
Lesson Plans
possible time line
Oral History for Grades 4-6
The New Americans on PBS for Grades 7-12
What does "Visualizing Oral History"
look like?
This is negotiable. Students have done great work recording audio-visual interviews.
That way students can capture someone's voice as well as one's physicality.
Use mementos,
pictures, writings,
and scrapbooks
Poetry or Diaries
Interview a community or family member for the
purpose of understanding more about the interviewee,
a culture, a social issues, a time in history, family history,
or other purpose identified by the student.
Record the interview
visual representation.
Karen Bowers
and Donna Armstrong
G. E. Songer
Jack Hogue
David F. Ford
David Pope
Visualizing Oral History
"One of the two things that distinguish oral history from other disciplines is 'the search for a connection between biography and history, between individual experience and the transformations of society.'" -Alessandro Portelli
Mrs. Tara Van Geons, Gray Stone Day School
Whole Language umbrella
Summer Institute 2009

Works Cited
and Consulted
contact information

Oral History Programs and Projects

The Southern Oral History Program - http://www.unc.edu/depts/sohp/
This website includes information about the latest SOHP projects, as well as pages of guidelines and tips for interviewing, a bibliography of useful sources for more information, a links page, and much more.

The New Mexico State University Public History Homepage -http://web.nmsu.edu/~publhist/
This site includes an overview of the programs in the NMSU public history program, and also includes an on-line community oral history manual, Preserving Community/Cuentos del Varrio (http://web.nmsu.edu/~publhist/ohindex.html). This very helpful manual includes information on planning an oral history project, transcribing interviews, preserving oral history resources, and so on. It also includes lists of questions and a useful bibliography of oral history readings.

Center for Understanding Technology through Oral Sources - http://histech.centre.org.uk/
This site, based at Bournemouth University, includes many links to technology-related oral history projects. The Center's aim is to provide new views on technology through oral sources and hopes to "get people talking about technology." There are links to interviews with scientists, the Family Farm project, and more. A section of the site is devoted to the Center's school-based projects in England.
Oral History On-Line: Recalling the Past to Inform the Present to Guide the Future - http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/BANC/ROHO/ohonline/
From the University of California at Berkeley, this site includes information about on-going and completed oral history projects. Visitors can read the transcripts of interviews, as well as additional background information.
Links to Websites on Oral History
African American Communities: An Oral History Approach -http://www.duke.edu/web/hst195.15/
This project, completed by Duke Undergraduates, explores life in Durham, NC's African American community. Included are photographs, transcripts, and audio excerpts from interviews, as well as links to the Duke Center for Documentary Studies.

Many Voices, One Story -- an exhibit from the Billy Graham Center Archives
This exhibit provides Real Audio excerpts from interviews, as well as transcripts. The interviews focus on missionary work and the Billy Graham Crusade. Many of the interviewees discuss international missionary work in the excerpts.

we Made Do: Recalling the Great Depression -http://ipad.mcsc.k12.in.us/mhs/social/madedo/
A product of Mooresville High School in Mooresville, IN, this project includes photographs and transcripts. It also allows website viewers to add their stories of the Great Depression to the collection of narratives while on-line. It also includes information about the project itself and links to other sites on oral history and the 1930s.
The Stories of the People - http://bland.k12.va.us/bland/rocky/gap.html
Rocky Gap High School students in Rocky Gap, VA have interviewed numerous members of their community and posted transcripts to the web. The site is based in the Bland County History Archives and it includes links to Rocky Gap High School as well as other oral history sites.

The Montana Heritage Project - http://www.edheritage.org/
This project supports local research projects within Montana. The site includes links to lesson plans, prize essays by students, valuable information on creating school-based historical archives, information on recording family histories, and more.
Oral History Lesson Plans and Other Resources

Oral History Lesson Plan from the Library of Congress

From the American Memory Series, this lesson plan describes ways of using WPA life histories (found on the web at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/wpahome.html) to teach U.S. History.
More Links:
Websites on Oral History
How to Navigate This Presentation
This presentation is set to work on a "path" that you may have seen at the NCTE conference. To follow the path, click the forward arrow at the lower right-hand corner of the presentation to move through the path and use the back arrow to move in reverse.

If you would like to explore more of the presentation, you may use your mouse at any time to click on a frame (a circle or a rectangle) or a any part of the presentation you so choose.You can keep using your mouse to zoom in and read or explore more.

However, if you would like to zoom back out, you should use the space bar. If you keep hitting the space bar, you will be brought to the largest frame around the entire presentation.
Mr. Carl R. siler-http://www.indiana.edu/~ssdc/ordig.htm

Mrs. Margaret deangeli-
This lesson plan is a modification and adaptation of some of the following lessons by:
Mrs. Tara E. Van Geons
Gray Stone Day School
Interview Transcript
What is Prezi????
How can I get it??
Create a map of your ideas, images, videos, then show overview, zoom to details, amaze, convince, take the day. And it is very simple to use.

Go to www.prezi.com

You can try it for free or purchase the software.
VII. conduct research, gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries

VIII. Students use a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge

IX. develop an understanding of and respect for diversity

XI. participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities

XII. use spoken, written, and visual language to convey meaning
In an effort to save trees and make life easier for us, I only have a small handout for you. The entire presentation is posted online for you, so you only need to take notes if you choose. Online you will find rubrics, resources, teacher handouts, student handouts, and more.

Also, I will provide information about this particular presentation software (which can be accessed for free under a BETA program) at the end of the session.
Free stuff for teachers = good!
more info online at:
Do you have any questions????
Full transcript