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 Learning Our Community's American Lore

Past News & Events

Podcasting and Building Student-Led Historical Walking Tours
Held October 20, 2007
A Project LOCAL Workshop

In the first of two fall workshops held at Tufts University, invited teachers (grades 3-12) from Medford, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop public schools gathered to kick off the fourth year of Project LOCAL. In this last year of the federally-funded project, each community was asked to propose one project to which all participating teachers (as many as four per district) could contribute. Each project has two longer-term objectives: 1) to help to sustain the district's commitment to teaching the local history of that particular community so that student learning continues beyond the end of the grant; 2) to help to increase the profile and dissemination of the work of LOCAL by raising awareness of student projects through public displays of student work.

During the six-hour meeting, participants engaged in a combination of informal lecture and discussion with university faculty and hands-on activities. Building on the work of prior years, the workshops focused on collecting oral histories, building walking tours, and producing podcasts. The morning began with an inspirational talk by Dr. Mark Auslander, an anthropologist from nearby Brandeis University, with years of experience working in the West Medford community to reassemble the lost history of the Afro-American residents through oral histories, walking tours, and podcasts. Through transcripts from recorded interviews, Dr. Auslander shared important examples of specific methods of taking oral histories and demonstrated how his students had composed a walking tour with podcast episodes delivered via a class website.

Teachers spent the remainder of the day in two sessions one, held by Al Vega and Shaua Rigaud of MyTown, Inc., and the other convened by Jim Olson of the Wellesley College Museum. Mr. Vega and Ms. Rigaud, along with two student guides from MyTown, explained how MyTown has built and delivered youth-led tours of Boston neighborhoods, shared methods and materials, and engaged teachers in creative exercises used by the MyTown organization. Mr. Olson presented methods for podcasting and facilitated teachers' learning to make their own podcast recordings in the nearby computer lab. Podcasting equipment will be distributed to all participants for use in the 2007-8 academic year. The day was facilitated by Dan Cogan-Drew (independent consultant), Rob McGreevey (Brandeis University), Steve Cohen (Tufts University), and Cynthia Robinson (Tufts University), with an introduction by Joe Burke (Somerville Public Schools), Co-PI of LOCAL. Photographs were taken by Pearl Emmons (Tufts University).


Shore Collaborative  •   Department of Education at Tufts  •   TAH Grant Program
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