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Fifth Piece of The Puzzle

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  • 4 minutes read
  • Jun 06, 2022

Overview:

My final project is an oral history activity that is intended to be used in a US history classroom. The topic of my final project is on the removal of the families that resided in the Blue Ridge Mountains within the boundaries of the Shenandoah National Park. This project is built off a previous project that is housed on my Omeka site titled; “Map of The Stony Man Region in the Shenandoah National Park” Digital Map. This digital project is an interactive map using an existing map of Shenandoah National Park titled “Map of Stony Man Region in the Shenandoah National Park” originally drawn by Tom Culverwell from the year 1935. The main content of this digital project includes a digitized version of this “Map of Stony Man Region in the Shenandoah National Park” as well as images that provide context about different elements that can be seen on the drawn map, primarily from the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress). These images and other primary sources are organized into digital exhibits. The oral history activity will also have students utilize the rest of the site to complete the activity. The target audiences for this digital project would be teachers/students studying US history during the 1930s. The teacher/student target audience would be interested in engaging with this digital project as this is a free resource to use in the classroom to get an up-close look at the 1930s in Virginia, this would help teachers and students get an idea to understand and analyze how different aspects of this area were viewed during this time in American history. This oral history activity and the rest of the site will show the perspectives at the time about the park overall and specifically about the ‘mountain people’ while containing references to culture during the 1930s. The purpose of this oral history activity is to get students to think critically about the oral histories and their purpose. This activity is to aid teachers in their teaching about 1930s American history and to promote historical thinking skills through analyzing oral histories.

Next Steps:

  • I still need to cut up the selection of oral histories that I will have for the oral history activity. The oral histories in their entirety are over an hour each so I will cut them down into sections and provide the transcripts that correlate with the oral history as well.
  • I also need to create one more digital exhibit that discusses archeological evidence that was found that concerns the way of life for the ‘mountain people’. This exhibit will help students learn about the contradictions between the way they were perceived by the media and what life was actually like for them by providing more primary source material to explore in addition to the oral histories. I am still finding the source material for this portion of the project.

Challenges:

I am running into an issue with embedding a google doc into my Omeka site. I need to spend some time on the Omeka forums, as I am certain someone else has had this issue and there will be a solution available.

I am also struggling with the activity being maybe not interactive enough. If I am able to embed the Google Doc and the students can click around in that to fill out prompts for the activity and they will also be clicking on the oral history icons to listen to the oral histories, I am not sure if that is enough interaction. The rest of the Omeka site is pretty interactive with the digital map and digital exhibits, so I am wondering if that will be engaging enough.

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