Floyd County Place-Based Education Project:: Intergenerational Connections

Floyd Story Center

Since 1998, a community oral history collection partnership of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar -Citizen Initiative, and Floyd County High School. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

College mentors, high school staff, and community volunteers meet weekly during the school year to teach the discipline of oral history collection to Floyd County High School students.

Students learn ethical, methodologically sound interview techniques, practice and complete several interviews, transcribe the audiotapes, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour long interview to create a seven minute movie production.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

iMovie 101

All this work to find theme, but how do you actually make a film?     We use i-Movie.

 Last week Radford University student Bianca taught a lesson on how to navigate the software that comes preloaded on all Apple computers. We all watched an introductory video made by John Hildreth, Associate Director, RU's Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning.  Next, FCHS students paired with RU students and everyone got hands-on experience using the program.

Michael (FCHS) learns iMovie skills as Kasey (RU) helps navigate the software.

The focus of the lesson was to get familiar with the editing techniques that iMovie will let you do to give your short film a theater feel.  

 FCHS students Jason and Cody are deep in thought as they get iMovie tips.

Students learned how to set up a project in iMovie, insert film clips, and transitions, titles, maps, music and photos.

Bianca wrapped up the lesson by asking everyone to name one thing they learned from the day.

Students now have a better idea of how to edit a film and can start thinking about the raw material that they will need to gather to feed the editing machine.

"I like the idea of the documentary as a portrait. There's not a chronological beginning, middle, and end structure. You build something in the editing room that's shaped by getting to know the person and digging deeper, un-peeling the layers of them as you get to know them."  Spike Jonze

Stay warm and safe during this snowy weather! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Archeologist Finds Pink Artifact

A filmmaker is a storyteller, is an artist, is an archeologist.  

We search, sift, and salvage slices of life then stitch them into a story.  Last week students tackled the nitty-gritty:  what's a story anyway?  There are two main things to think about when building a story.  A film is a composed work of art and needs what many works of art need:  unity, rhythm, and balance.  Keeping these concepts in mind will help students build story works of art.

Catherine's pink artifact tower demonstrates key composition concepts used to build a story.

The other ingredient in making a story is theme. A theme can be stated as an assertion:  My smartphone is stupid.  It's what drives and unifies the story.  Dr. Wagner led an archeological exploration of an assertion involving a well-known fast-food place.  Students brainstormed and listed all evidence that made our assertion true.  

Kathleen then led the construction phase:  each piece of evidence, or artifact, translates into a film clip.  These can be arranged on a storyboard to illustrate and plan your story.


FCHS student Lacy collects her artifacts for storyboarding.

Finding theme is the most difficult part of a filmmaker's work, but it's also the most exciting.  We get to unify a bunch of artifacts, balancing them just so, and find the rhythm they combine to make a story.

See you next week!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Greetings Spring 2015!

The spring 2015 semester of "Roots with Wings" is off and running!  Floyd County High School students got right to work a few weeks ago and last week was the first Radford University class meeting at the high school.  

During last week's class Mrs. Myers (FCHS instructor) made brief introductions and said the high school students have already been working on various project-related concepts.  She then turned it over to Catherine Pauley, who wove an interesting aural quilt using personal stories and experiences to give high school and college participants an idea and image of what the class is about and what the goals are.  

RU student Bianca holding locket.
 At left is Radford University classmate Bianca holding a mysterious locket -- if you want the story behind it, you'll have to ask a "Roots with Wings" student.

Catherine made it clear that while what this class strives to do is difficult and culturally important (we are making digital historical artifacts), it doesn't matter your skill level coming into the project.  Say, you don't know how to use iMovie or conduct an on-camera interview?  You can learn!  And we will!

The most important things to remember are:  (1) Put your best effort forward, (2) [it's okay to say I don't know and] Ask questions, and (3) Have fun!

About the time we did the Hokey Pokey, Kathleen Ingoldsby introduced herself.  She is our resident technical expert and students will really want to pick her brain when it comes time to edit footage and audio clips.

Dr. Melinda Wagner unveiling the Project Workbook.

A special event also happened during last week's class.  Students already have a very nice Project Manual with all kind of helpful instruction, images, how-to, and tips for successfully navigating the "Roots with Wings" class.  

Now, they have a new addition to class resources:  Dr. Wagner unveiled a Project Workbook.  It was determined through student feedback that it would help a whole lot if there were more ways to practice the concepts used in class (such as audio, iMovie, theme, file labeling).  Through the work of RU students in last fall's APST495 Research in Appalachia: "Roots with Wings" Floyd County Oral History Project for the ARC Appalachian Teaching Project (taught by Dr. Theresa Burriss) just such a practice/study book was devised!  

Be sure to look at it, 
write all over it, 
mention what you like about it 
or ways to improve it.

Tune in next time for more "Roots with Wings" updates.  What's your story?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Radford University Teaching Project "Wordle."

A wonderful data analysis graphic with emphasis (by size) on words

 used most often in the student's oral history interview project.