I’m a PhD student at Stanford working with a team at Stanford, MIT, and UCLA to create a new online space, Lacuna Stories, to explore, annotate, and draw connections between a wide array of resources (documents, images, video, novels, art, documentaries) about the cultural memory 9/11 and other major historical events, asking: 1) what happened, 2) why did it happen, 3) what does it mean, and 4) how can we think about the event and all its attendant resources historically?
For instructors, it means your students will have access to a wide array of primary and secondary sources around a historical event, including audio, video, television shows, documentaries, film, fiction, photo archives, and oral histories. It allows students to take advantage of their 21st century learning skills, such a searching, linking, commenting, blogging, while digitizing traditional print reading skills, such as highlighting, underlining, color tabbing, and annotating.
To make teaching easier, the site also tracks all individual student reading, annotations, and work. So with one click, time consuming “reading assessments” in class are no longer needed, because you can see for how long each student read each source, how many annotations they made, and you can quickly grade, “like,” or reply to student work. When it’s time to write a final paper or essay, students can quickly grab all their underlines and sources and quickly get to work, while citing all their references with the simple, built in citation manager!
The site is currently in prototype for Stanford university students. We are kickstarting the public version of the site so we can make it free, open, and available to the world, in and out of classrooms. As people interested in history and education, we hope you will find the site useful to you in the future. To make that happen sooner, we hope you’ll consider donating to this cause!
If you have any questions, please email the project director, Brian Johnsrud, at Johnsrud@stanford.edu
Thanks, and happy holidays,
Program in Modern Thought and Literature
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