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Digital Historical Narratives  |   Digital Historical Narratives in the Classroom  |   Getting Started  |   Other Resources


Getting Started

There are a number of resources available to teachers and their students interested in creating digital historical narratives. First, the DocSouth website offers resources for teachers in addition to the digital historical narratives. The "Teacher Resources" site includes ideas about incorporating DocSouth materials in the classroom as well as resources for teaching students about the use of primary sources. There is also a gallery of photographs that students may choose to copy and incorporate into their narratives. The companies that produce the software to make digital movies also offer assistance. In particular we found the "Help" directory for the Microsoft Movie Maker http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/default.mspx and Apple i-Movie programs helpful in designing our digital historical narratives. Apple's web site: http://www.apple.com/education/ilife/ offers examples and lesson plans for using i-movies and other digital media in the classroom.

In order to successfully support students in their design of digital historical narratives we suggest that you have the following: high speed internet connection, computer lab, microphones (for voice recording) and blank compact discs to burn final copies of the movies. When we worked with a group, they saved their work on the hard drives of the computer. They used the same computer everyday and only burned a final version to CD. The files are generally large so a floppy disk may not be adequate. Generally digital collections such as DocSouth allow students to make copies of images and text for educational purposes. For more specific information, DocSouth offers guidelines for using their site at /permission/copyright.html. It is always a good idea to check the copyright restrictions on any sites students use especially when downloading music. We have included a web sites below that offer public domain (or non-copyrighted) music files.

As students begin to create their narratives a story board is essential to help guide their work. As a part of this storyboard student should include a detailed script, especially for portions that will be voice-recorded, and a summary of images they will use. Sometimes it can get loud and distracting when multiple students are recording their audio tracks. The teacher may want to organize a quiet corner or space in another room for recording purposes.

By going through a few simple planning steps both the teacher and students will find creating a digital historical narrative to be an exciting and meaningful learning activity. These narratives bring the past to life by connecting images, sounds, and personal stories together into one "movie". Whether teachers choose to create their own or work with students to design digital historical narratives, the result is a personal interpretation of the past.