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Preserving Local History One Voice at a Time: A Popular Technology Workshop for Teens Possible Location: The Urbana

Free Library Audience: Teens 6th-12th graders Time: 2 hours Overarching Objectives: To help teens become more aware of their positions within communities and to show them that their voices and experiences within the community matter. Everyones voices and experiences need to be heard and shared to create a fuller understanding of our history. Specific Goals: Locate each teens unique network of communities Identify values and insider/outsider perspectives of a given community Define local/community history and understand why it is important and what role teens can play in preserving and sharing this history Use Google Maps to preserve and share community history while identifying its advantages and disadvantages Materials: Whiteboard Dry Erase Markers Large Sheets of Paper for Maps Markers or Crayons Paper for quick writes Pencils or pens A computer for each teen Generic Google user name and password for teens who do not have an account Handout of ways to get involved in community history projects Outline: 1. Introduction a. Ask students to share what makes them unique. As they answer play the devils advocate and argue that other people may have those same tastes or experiences. b. Often times, it is very hard to be unique in any one aspect of our lives because the very things that make us unique place us in a community with others who share that interest or trait. Mention some examples that they shared to support this point. c. However, if we look at individuality as the collection of communities that each of us belong to, we can begin to see how each of us are unique while being connected to the greater community.

2. Definition and List of Communities a. Since we will be spending quite a bit of time talking about communities today, it is important to figure out what community means to us. i. Ask the teens to individually create a one sentence definition of what community means to them. Give them one minute to do this. ii. When their sentences are complete, divide the teens into groups of four to create a group definition of community based on the four group members individual definitions of community. iii. Once each group has written their definition, each group should write their definition on the board and read it to the rest of the group. The whole group will work together to combine those definitions into one collaborative definition. b. After the group has settled on their collaborative definition of community, ask the teens to think of categories that define the types of communities they belong to. Ex. Residential, Academic, Hobbies, Virtual, Family, Other, etc. Write their category ideas on the board and ask them to use those categories as a starting point as they individually create lists of the communities they belong to. 3. Community Mapping a. Pass out paper and markers and ask the teens to map out their communities. They may focus on just one or two of the most important communities that they listed, or they can include many communities and show the ways that their communities intersect. Whichever approach they take, encourage them to include their favorite parts of their communities and the details they feel are the most important. b. After the teens have had time to draw their maps, ask them to share their maps with the group. Once everyone has shared, discuss the maps using the following questions: i. In what ways are your maps similar and different from each other? ii. What do each of your communities value or think is important? What do you value most in your community or communities? iii. How might an outsider of your community have drawn the map differently? What might they have included or excluded from the map? Why might they see your community differently than you do? 4. What is local/community history? a. Give the teens 3-5 minutes to do a quick write and consider what local/community history is and what it isnt and who is considered a community historian and who isnt. b. When the teens finish writing, write local/community history on the board and draw a circle around it. Ask the teens to add a few key words or phrases to the local/community history web based on what they wrote during the quick write. If they arent familiar with webs, it may help to model what they should do by adding a word or two as an example. c. Discuss the web. During the discussion, address the following points: i. What has local/community history looked like historically or in the past? What are the implications of that? ii. What would local/community history look like ideally? What would the implications of that be?

iii. Based on what your community values and what you value about your communities what do you think should be included in your communitys history and who do you think should contribute to that history? 5. Preserving and Sharing Local History a. Explain that as the teens drew their maps, they each started to document local histories in their communities and the unique ways that their communities intersect. While the paper copies can be preserved, they are more difficult to share. We can make customized maps on Google Maps that make community history easier to share with others. b. Ask teens to go to a computer and make a Google Map version of their drawn map using Custom Google Maps (See for an example of teen generated Google Maps). Set up a special account in advance for teens to use if they dont have a Google account and dont want to set one up. If there is time, discuss privacy concerns and what to post and what not to post because of Google Maps public nature. i. Go to ii. Click on My Places and then Maps. iii. Then, add locations and descriptions. c. After the teens are done with their Google Maps, discuss what each version of the map communicates. i. What are the benefits and limitations of print maps? ii. What are the benefits and limitations of the digital maps? iii. What other tools could be used to preserve and share local history other than or in conjunction with maps? 6. Conclusion a. Thank the teens for coming and invite them to ask questions if they still have any. Pass out a handout listing the ways they can get involved in community history if they are interested in contributing.