Learning About Slavery at Mount Vernon

As one of the historic interpreters at Mount Vernon, I constantly come into contact with students (usually middle schoolers) who find the history they are learning in their classrooms incredibly boring.  These same students can’t seem to get enough of some of the features of the estate, particularly the first person interpreters who often staff the reconstructed slave cabin.  Here, students can see and hear first-hand what life would have been like for one of George Washington’s slaves.  Students find these interactions much more rewarding than lessons from dry textbooks.  Now, the rise of digital media  and digital storytelling is making these first person interpretations available to an increasing number of Fairfax County students.

This first time, amateur attempt at Animoto was chance to highlight these learning styles and chart the change from textbooks to digital media in the classroom.  I definitely found the text limits frustrating, but the program’s user-friendly approach clearly shows that it does have potential for educational use.

Here it is

Category: W5: Animoto
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2 Responses
  1. Chris King says:

    Michael – I thought this was a great film, especially for a first attempt. You framed the issue well by providing context through historical images. You even provided a list of sources with the book cover shots, which I thought was an excellent way to tie in the scholarship. While I don’t know if this will ever replace the smell of a working fireplace in a cabin with a dirt floor, it sure goes a long way past a book and a lecture. Nice work!

  2. sblaher says:

    I definitely think that the images fit what you were trying to get across, starting with the books, moving to the sites and ending in the classroom. I also liked your choice in music, since it really envoked the imagery you were trying to attain. I think you probably could have done a quick remix to give animoto the opportunity to get the timing a little better. As it’s on there now I had to go back a couple times to read the last text slide so I knew what it said, as doesn’t even fade all the way in before fades back out. Overall it was a great job.