After having the past week set aside in my course for conducting research and putting my final project into full gear, I have made significant progress toward where I need to be.
My previous blog posts have covered my topic area fairly well into terms of what I’m trying to accomplish, but to finalize: my project will ultimately be exploring Indigenous methodologies by creating a module of work that can used as a classroom assignment for high school to undergraduate students. The activities center around exploring non-Western approaches to source analysis, such as examining oral traditions from American Indian Tribes to understand their complexity and utility as a source, but also to provide instruction for helping non-Indigenous students to understand source material from a different cultural context. It will also allow them to see how these sources are explored from an Indigenous perspective to observe things such as accuracy and how to understand apparent contractions between these sources.
Another example activity could involve the use of ledger art and other visual/pictorial works created by Indigenous Peoples to be compared to written accounts for a comparative analysis.
Right now, I have begun exploring different platforms to see what will get me close to what I’m envisioning. I started out with drafting a storyboard of my idea for a site so I could at least visual what I want to see in my options. I’ve explored applications that can be installed onto my domain server here, such as WordPress and Omeka. I also looked into Course Management Systems (CMS) such as Moodle and Google Classroom, as well as digital storytelling platforms such as StoryMaps. However, after reviewing a number of previous projects from former students of this project, I am leaning toward WordPress as it is simple and provides a number of predetermined options through the offered themes that will reduce workload for this project.
As I work on constructing my site for this activity, I have been provided with numerous examples to reflect upon to inform my choices. Many of these have been very insightful in terms of understanding the types of activities I can build for my content: everything from digital storytelling assignments to “choose your adventure” type experiences to an outline of suggested readings and question prompts. At this point, I have not determined what kind of activities I will be providing, but I suspect that by the time I have a draft of my website working and scaffolding for the information necessary to introduce visitors to my site to Indigenous methodologies, I will be able to craft (or find) activities that get to where I’m going. What I find very helpful to consider from these examples of previous work is that many of them take the time to explain to some degree the act of thinking historically, or at least provide an easily inferred glimpse into how historians go about “doing” history. I find this to be important and I believe I will need something similar, but adapted to how an Indigenous historian might envision the elements of historical thinking. From here, this can further inform the structure of my content and design of my activities.
My next step is to settle on a platform and begin drafting my storyboard onto the digital paper. I want to have at least a prototype up and running for my own sake, if only so I can start seeing where my content is going. For myself, I find that walking myself through my draft in the desired medium before other preliminary steps are finished is helpful to organize my thoughts. Once I have this in place, I will start building the activities.