Audio Guides for Teaching Visual and Material Culture

Making Objects Speak: Audio Guides for Teaching Visual and Material Culture in the Humanities
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 – 4pm, until Friday, June 4th, 2010—Noon
Hosted by the College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences
California State University Monterey Bay
National Endowment for the Humanities
The purpose of the institute is to provide faculty with pedagogical and technical strategies, as well as the theoretical foundations, necessary for developing effective digital tours that can be downloaded onto iPods. Digital tours allow students to research historically or culturally significant neighborhoods, museum collections and other kinds of outdoor sites on their own schedules but with the benefit of the Instructor’s guidance and expertise.
Many college teachers understand the value of studying the artifacts, natural and built environments — the material culture — of past and contemporary societies, but pedagogical and logistical problems often get in the way. Downloadable audio tours designed specifically for students have the potential to solve these problems by helping students “learn to look” at visual evidence in rigorous, structured, and active ways.
The theme Making Objects Speak addresses the expanding realm of digital audio technology and draws upon the experience of the project’s City University of New York faculty who are developing ten scholarly audio tours.
We encourage faculty to join us who are interested in enhancing their courses by creating their own audio guides. We also welcome museum educators and others involved in non-university educational projects. Participants will receive a $250.00 stipend. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, but participants will be responsible for their own travel and lodging costs. The application and additional information is available at
The deadline for submitting applications is April 21, 2010. Email application to Cecilia O’Leary Any questions should be submitted to the same address.
Participants will be introduced to material culture scholarship and digital audio technology; develop “slow looking” strategies for student learning; and have time for collaborative planning of individual course “Podcasts.”
The Institute will be led by:
· David Jaffee, Professor and Director of New Media Research, Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture
· Cecilia O’Leary, Professor of Cultural History, Department of Humanities and Communication at California State University, Monterey Bay.


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