Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2011 Navajo Oral History Project Is Underway

There are 11 students from Diné College (Tsaile, Arizona) and Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota) participating in the 2011 Navajo Oral History project which got underway on May 31.

The students are meeting three times this week via Interactive Television connecting classrooms at the two schools. During these meetings the students are getting to know each other, learning some basics of journalism and visual communication and discussing many aspects of Navajo culture.

Students are also getting tutorials on how to work video camera equipment, sound recorders, digital still cameras and software.

The WSU students travel to the Navajo Nation this weekend and with their DC counterparts will spend more than two weeks together in small groups in the field doing a service project for a Navajo elder and interviewing the elder several times. Each group will produce documentary films about the elders.

Over the next several weeks, this blog will cover the activities of these students and their progress. The blog's editor is Tom Grier, professor of mass communication at Winona State University. All photos are by Tom Grier, unless otherwise noted. (Once the group is in the field, the blog aims to feature more student photography and writing.)

To introduce the students, I'm taking a "mugshot" of each. I made images of the Winona students today and will do shots of the Diné students when we hold our first class on campus there on Monday.

Here are some shots of the class activities today (Wednesday, June 2, 2011). NOTE: click on any image to see a larger version.

WSU Professor Robin O'Callaghan gave a tutorial on how to most effectively set-up and use professional digital video cameras and microphones.

The students spoke with each other via ITV from Diné College's main campus is Tsaile, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, to Winona State University's campus in Winona, Minnesota. We could see and hear each other, watch PowerPoint presentations and videos of previous years' Navajo Oral History documentaries.

I hope you enjoy this blog and follow along during our adventure. Please feel free to share your comments below, and share the link to this blog to anyone you think might like to see it.

-- Tom Grier

P.S.: For fun, here's a picture of Dave Dvorak modeling his new form-fitting hiking shoes. He and Alex Fisher bought these and have been breaking them in while in class.

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