American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

ASHP/CML Collaborates on NEH Funded Education Grant with CUNY’s John Jay College

Published March 30, 2011

The Division of Education of the National Endowment for the Humanties awarded its third largest teaching and learning grant this year to former ASHP/CML staff member Professor Fritz Umbach and his colleagues at John Jay College, Elisabeth Gitter and Patricia Licklider. “Making Objects Speak: Portable Audio Guides for Teaching with Visual Culture in the Humanities” is a three-year project that brings together scholars in English and history to produce and disseminate ten audio tours of local museum collections, historic buildings, and neighborhoods. The project will also create supplementary web-based educational materials and develop workshops and other resources to foster the replication of this project nationally.

Building on the flexibility of digital audio technology, the “Making Objects Speak” project will enhance introductory college courses in history and literature by engaging students directly and actively with the artifacts and environments of past societies. ASHP/CML will develop the website for this project, while ASHP/CML’s Donna Thompson Ray and Professors David Jaffee and Cecilia O’Leary of our New Media Classroom and Learning to Look programs will convene workshops in New York and California with faculty interested in creating their own guides based on the same pedagogical principles. These institutes will explore the instructional potential of material culture for the humanities, with attention to inquiry-based pedagogy and new technologies. Participants will also learn the best practices for creating new audio tours and the practical computer skills required to produce them.

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