History In Place 'How To' documentary
History In Place 'How To' documentary
Video produced by Arts Victoria and Heritage Council of Victoria, History Teachers' Association of Victoria.
Arts Victoria, Heritage Council of Victoria and the History Teachers' Association of Victoria.
This "How to" documentary provides a step-by-step guide for running the History In Place project.
It was filmed at the Museo Italiano and Barwon Park with year 5 & 6 students from North Melbourne and Winchelsea Primary schools.
ELEANOR WHITWORTH: So one of the key aims of the History in Place project was to link community museums with their local schools and have a structure there that makes it easy for the museums to engage with the schools and with the kids.
TANYA WOLKENEBERG: Part of the impetus for this project was to connect kids with their local history and with their collections in the buildings in their local area that maybe they walk past every day but hadn't thought about or hadn't really visited.
SIMONE WALLACE: Coming to the actual mansion meant they were able to see things, exposed to hands-on experience rather than reading about it or looking it up online.
-It really makes the kids into active participants rather than passive consumers of their history.
-We're doing a thing on--
- --Thomas Austin. We're taking pictures of the portrait to tell people what they looked like.
JO CLYNE: The History in Place project works to align itself with the national curriculum for history. And basically in the pilot project, we lined up to Grade five and Grade six curriculum, which meant a focus on the 1800s-- so the colonial aspects of early Australia-- and also the Grade six curriculum which looked very much at federation and settlement in the 1900s. However, this project can be applied to any other type of curriculum in any year level.
The skills which it really focuses on are things like sequencing events and historical figures. It also gets students to develop their own text in response to objects, stories, historical movements.
Does anyone here collect anything? Yeah, what do you collect?
-I collect shells.
-Shells-- fantastic. What do you collect?
-Elephants-- so lots of different types like posters and statues and-- fabulous. You got a little themed museum there.
We looked at their personal collections-- so things that they might be interested in or have acquired a few of. And it helps them see why they collect things and how they curate the objects that they're interested in.
So we're going to make stories which are very digital but you're also going to do voice recordings over the top to tell a story about some of the things in this museum.
ELEANOR WHITWORTH: So there's a few really important things that you need to think about when you're making your films. That you have good visuals-- they're pretty obvious-- and good audio. Because if you're recording someone talking, obviously if you can't hear properly, it's not very interesting to watch. So if you record any audio today as a way to tell your a story, make sure that where you are is quiet
So I have to call my little film-- and I've made this one up completely-- called "Music to His Ears." The first shot I've got is I've chosen a piano accordion. And the text is going to be my voiceover. It's going to say, this piano accordion belonged to an Italian immigrant called Manoza Dali. And over the top that, I'm going to have Italian background music.
So as you go through, you need to think about what is showing visually, what the visual shot is, and what the audio is going to be. Are you going to have some sound effects in the background? Are you going to have some music? And you need to script it. Are you going to be speaking? Are you going to film Fred and Andrew saying something? Are you going to interview somebody?
To be a responsible digital producer, kids need to understand about intellectual property rights. So I'm helping the kids to identify material that is likely to be out of copyright that they can use easily. And also to think about, if they're putting music into their films, where they might source that music from, to understand a little bit about Creative Commons licenses. And we also encourage them to use other applications where they can make their own music, because of course, then they own the copyright.
TANYA WOLKENEBERG: The tour's normally a tour of the property and a tour of some of the most significant items, giving the kids a couple of ideas or thoughts about what stories they might be able to pull out of the collection.
TRUDI TOYNE: We were sort of quite conscious about trying to link the story of Thomas and Elizabeth Austin back to the objects. So the objects were sort of like a trigger for us to be able to talk about the lives of those two people and the society that they lived in at the time.
-Now remember, we just looked at the bells outside that they could summon the servants. Well, there's the bell pulls beside the fireplace there. And you see one on each side?
-The concept of the butler was one that the children really related to. And then that gave you an avenue into exploring a whole range of either other rooms or objects or social circumstances.
-Understanding your collection and how it relates to the curriculum areas, it was really useful for this project. So just picking out two or three stories that the kids can be directed towards when they're doing the tour of the museum.
TANYA WOLKENEBERG: What we found is that often as the kids are doing the tours, there are particular stories that you can see that they're getting excited by. And so some of them come back from the tour, and already that group has already said, we want to do this. And they're very, very excited.
-Picked to do it on Elizabeth Austin because of her achievements-- like she made the Austin Hospital-- and because there was a lot of information about her. And she's very interesting.
-Sometimes the kids need a little bit more encouragement. Or there might be a little bit more division within the group about somebody wants to do this and someone wants to do that. And then it needs to be facilitated a little bit more by their teacher or by the museum staff,
ELEANOR WHITWORTH: Simplicity is the key in the kids creating the stories. The films are usually around a particular object, so the kids need to identify the narrative that relates to that object. Sometimes they need help narrowing that down because there might be multiple stories around an object. And to encourage them to choose just one of those stories and tell it well is a real key.
You need to think really clearly about the beginning, the middle, and the end. Endings can be quite challenging, and it's what we found the kids struggled with most of all. So really encouraging them to think how do they wrap it up. How do they maybe link the end of story back to the beginning?
So the tool that we've found through the pilot process that is most useful to achieve that is storyboarding.
Storyboard is mapping out your story. So what's in the first shot? What's in the second shot? What's in the third shot? What's in the fourth shot? So it's a plan.
And they have to think about the assets that they need-- so the images-- and also what they might be saying over the top of those images.
So the key components of the stories and the key assets that the kids will be using in the films are photographs of the objects that are appearing in their film. They might record voiceover that will run across the photographs as those photographs display in the films. And then they might also interview experts from the museum or even the community who can add additional information and context around the objects and the things.
-Most of the children moved out fairly soon after living--
ELEANOR WHITWORTH: We encourage them to try and get all of the assets that they require for their film on the day whilst they're in the museum-- so to take photos of any of the objects that are appearing in their film, any of the information boards that go with those objects. So if they want to check their facts when the finish off their films back at school, they've got the information that the museum has provided with them.
-It doesn't work.
ELEANOR WHITWORTH: When it comes to the kids putting their assets together and creating their movie, we drew together some simple apps that are being created for tablet technology, which make the process just so simple and easy-- where it's just drag and drop.
The kids will usually start from the beginning of their storyboard and drag in their first image. They'll drag in their audio, and place that under the image or a couple of images. And really that's as complicated as it gets-- dragging all the assets into the timeline in order. And then finessing it and cleaning it up in terms of the types of transitions that they use between each of the assets and then adding the titles and the captions. And then the final element is if they're creating their own music to then bring that music file in and drop it in where they need it.
So what we found on the day is that kids usually got all of their assets in place, and then they just needed to go back to their classroom and fine-tune the movies and clean them up. The teachers generally allowed about one class per week over four weeks-- so about four classes to finalize the process over all.
What we did at the end of the day is to show a couple of the films. They really love watching each other's films, and it's really exciting when you see what they've managed to pull together in a couple of hours. It's quite astounding.
JO CLYNE: The entire History in Place project kit is available online. It's been a process of trial and error over six pilots. We've put together everything that we think will be supportive of teachers and students.
I think the really important thing is to make sure you have a school who are very enthusiastic and will allow the students the time to actually produce their films at the end of the project-- and an institution who understands what it's like to have primary or secondary students inside and working with their collections.