Monday, November 26, 2007

The Murmur Project: Cell Phone Oral Histories

In Canada an interesting project is being conducted on capturing "instant" oral histories using cell phones, called the Murmur Project. Basically people call in to Murmur from different geographic locations and walk around to recite recollections or more formal oral histories about their own experiences (or others that they interview, sometimes in real time at the location) in that particular geographic location. By allowing participants to walk around the location that they are referring to, it causes them to dig up memories or stories that they otherwise would have forgotten. It also allows them to interview people in their neighborhood to contribute to their stories. What a great way to capture and archive oral histories! And a very smart way to use cell phones as data collection tools! It also can give listeners a new perspective or a variety of perspectives on a particular city or location. It is a great resource to use in a class discussion about culture and ethnocentrism. You and/or your students can also participate in the project by filling out a simple form. What a fun homework or class project assignment for your students! And they get to use their favorite tool--the cell phone!

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