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Primary Source Research and Narrative Presentation

Student’s understanding is greatly enhanced when they conduct primary source research & create multi-media narratives on what they have learned. Primary source research can be conducted in diverse content areas & educational environments. By conducting interviews with people within the community & gathering data from real world experiences, students develop a connection with content. Narratives provide a rich assessment of student learning. By creating narratives which incorporate images, videos, & sound, students demonstrate depth of understanding. Primary source research & narrative creation are easily implementable in today’s classrooms through use of mobile devices. We are two high school educators who work with iPads in our classrooms - one in humanities and one in science, one in rural Maine and one in urban New York, one male and one female. We would like to engage the audience in a conversation about our student’s work with primary source research & narrative presentation.

Learning Objectives

  1. How do students keep the past alive? Students act as archivists through direct interaction with people who have experienced significant events of the past. Personal interaction allows students to understand the past. Students use iPads to interview & record these voices. The past takes on the voice of the people interviewed as students produce narratives. The past becomes a living entity, not text in a book. Students learn higher level questioning, interview, & presentation skills.
  2. How do students understand the world? Through direct interaction with scientific phenomena, students gain a strong understanding of the principles of science. Students use iPads to collect data such as displacement, time, & pathway of motion. They use this data to calculate velocity & acceleration and to determine acceleration due to gravity, the path of a launched object, & the influence of force & mass on the acceleration of an object. Students learn to explain scientific principles.
  3. How do students present narratives to the world? Based on their research, students produce narratives which include images, video, and sound and creatively demonstrate understanding. As evidenced by this proposal, narrative production is not limited by content area or geography. Our student’s narratives are shared with the world using iTunesU as a publishing platform. Examples of student narratives in both humanities & science and information on establishing iTunesU courses will be presented.



Julie Willcott, Science Teacher, Foxcroft Academy

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