"Making Objects Speak:
Portable Audio Guides for Teaching with Material Culture in the Humanities"
at the Graduate Center, CUNY
June 1-4, 2009
hosted by John Jay College of the City University of New and the National Endowment for the Humanities
The Making Objects Speak program is designed to help humanities faculty develop audio tours that can be downloaded to ipods, allowing students to tour historically or culturally significant museum collections and neighborhoods on their own schedules but with the benefit of the Instructor’s guidance / expertise.
Many college teachers understand the value of studying the artifacts and built environments—the material culture —of past societies, but pedagogical and logistical problems often get in the way. Downloadable audio tours designed specifically for students in humanities courses have the potential to solve these problems by helping students “learn to look” at visual evidence in rigorous, structured, and active ways.
Sponsored by the National Endowment of the Humanities, the program will host a three-and a half-day institute at the City University of New York Graduate Center - beginning Monday afternoon June 1 until Thursday afternoon June 4 along with a follow-up blog communication for participants. The purpose of this institute is to provide faculty with the pedagogical and technical strategies, as well as the theoretical foundations, necessary for developing effective digital tours or “podcasts” that will enhance undergraduate education in the humanities.
The institute will be led by David Jaffee, Professor and Director of New Media Research, Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, and Donna Thompson Ray, Project Director, Faculty Development Programs, American Social History Project/Center for Media & Learning, Graduate Center, CUNY.
The theme "Making Objects Speak" addresses the expanding realm of digital audio technology by drawing upon the experience of the project’s City University of New York faculty, who have already developed ten scholarly audio tours of local museum collections, historic buildings, and neighborhoods. We encourage faculty and museum educators and others to join us who are interested in enhancing their humanities courses by creating their own audio guides.
Participants will be introduced to material culture scholarship and digital audio technology; develop “slow looking” strategies for student learning with audio tours; and discuss the individual and institutional implications of incorporating these new pedagogies and technologies.
Sessions will include:
• Presentations and discussions of how audio digital technology can facilitate active learning by students in the humanities
• “Learning to Look” workshops that use museum collections, walking tours, and new media materials.
• In one session, we will study the World of Homer tour, which was designed to enhance courses in world literature and classical mythology; this audio tour leads students through the Ancient Greek Art galleries of the Metropolitan Museum
• Work with scholars and educators who have been pioneers in developing new media applications
• Time for collaborative planning of participants’ audio tours
Application materials and additional information are available at http://jjcweb.jjay.cuny.edu/history/mos/mosapp.doc
Workshop participants will receive a small stipend; they will be responsible for travel and lodging costs. For more information, contact: Donna Thompson Ray, City University of New York Graduate Center, DThompson@gc.cuny.edu
Donna Thompson Ray, Project Director, Faculty Development Programs, American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, City University of New York Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, 7th floor, New York, NY 10016
Fax: 212-817-1568, Email: DThompson@gc.cuny.edu
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