I was blown away by several of the digital stories created by our participants this week in our first “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” oral history digital storytelling workshop of the year.

Karen Jo’s story, “Lillie and John,” relates an amazing account of her grandmother whose family moved away when she was 13 to prevent her planned (and potentially scandalous) marriage to a 15 year old boy. Lillie (her grandmother) later met her teenage sweetheart again at age 72 (after both of their previous spouses had passed away) and finally married him – John, living happily together for another 20 years. All the photos Karen Jo used in this story are originals of her grandmother, step-grandfather, and other family members. She created this in 2 1/2 days using Audacity and PhotoStory, but had been working on the script of this tale for years. Now her story is available in a powerful digital format, complete with a musical accompaniment. WOW.

Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

Dawn’s family oral history tale, “The Story of Richard Ivie,” is equally touching and also filled with original photographs of her grandfather which she brought to the workshop with the specific purpose of finally creating a digital version of these life changing events. I hadn’t realized the photo on the front of our Oklahoma World War II project wiki was Richard Ivie until I heard Dawn recount this story. She used a free account on Gcast to obtain the audio recordings of her grandmother relating this story. She reported that there were over 28 minutes of recording files, which she had to cull down to just a few minutes. Absent a tool like Gcast, Dawn wouldn’t have been able to obtain a digital recording of her grandmother recounting this story, during our workshop this week. Behold the power of cell phones as portable audio recorders: digital learning tools in the pockets of many students in today’s classroom!

Dawn also integrated original photographs in her digital story, with the exception of a few which were obtained using the Flickr Creative Commons website.

Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

I am touched and blown away by the power of these stories. I have no doubt that “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” matters.

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2 Responses to Compelling Oklahoma Oral Histories

  1. vejraska says:

    Wow, Lillie and John is great! I am drawn to digital stories since creating my own with Bernajean several years ago, and this one is pawerful- brought tears to my eyes. I LOVE THAT! What a great project, and thanks for sharing:)

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Yes, it is definitely powerful– You know you’ve got a notable story on your hands when an emotional response can be evoked in such a short amount of time. I think Karen Jo did a wonderful job with this.

    I have never been able to take a workshop with Bernajean Porter before but would love to– I’ve utilized her web resources and referenced others to them multiple times, and spoken with her on the phone, but never met her.

    Glad you liked the story. I am so looking forward to continuing to work with educators in our state on this project!

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