I had a wonderful visit over the phone this evening with Derek Baird, who USED to be with Yahoo! for Teachers (before Yahoo cancelled the program – although strangely the website is still up) and I’ve known through our collaborative work for the professional development committee of the K-12 Online Conference. We were visiting about my new job working as the director of technology and education outreach for the Oklahoma Heritage Association, and Derek told me about MemoryArchive. The tagline for the site is:

Welcome to MemoryArchive, the encyclopedia of memories.
Everyone has a Story. Make Yours History.

The right sidebar has a brief description of “How MemoryArchive Works:”

1. You add your story. Learn how here.
2. The editors fix formatting and index the content, if necessary.
3. After your story is correctly formatted and indexed we will lock it, that is, no further edits will be made unless you request them.

A FAQ page is available, along with invitations to become a MemoryArchive Site Steward and a MemoryArchive Affiliate, which sounds like a great idea for the OHA. The teachers and students page includes the following assignment ideas:

Have students write a memoir of a recent event.
Have students write a memoir of a common event (that is, one they all experienced) and compare the results.
Have students interview their parents or grandparents about an event and post it on MemoryArchive.
Have students read and compare memoirs of the same event.
Have students recruit others to write memoirs.
Have students create a “time capsule” of memoirs.

To sample the power of the site to index stories, I did a search in the left sidebar for “Air Force,” and read “September 11th on Holloman Air Force Base, by Christopher Gstattenbauer.” His story reminded me of where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I had just started work at Texas Tech University the previous month in the College of Education, and we were still housed in the old administration building. I saw the twin towers come down on a television in our learning resources center on the 3rd floor, and I was in shock like I imagine most U.S. citizens were. I penned and published the article “Time to Weed the Garden” on September 14, 2001. I wouldn’t start blogging until the summer of 2003, so this was a static webpage I published on my site. Not many people saw it, most likely, but at the time I felt it was very important to write it. Obviously those who led our nation to a war which continues to the present moment in both Afghanistan and in Iraq saw things differently than I did at the time, and still do. Thankfully we are having an election in several months when we, as a body politic, will have an opportunity to remedy some of the mistakes of the past at the ballot box.

Turns out there are currently 200 different stories on MemoryArchive to date about 9-11. Amazing. And the site is growing.

Memory Archive uses MediaWiki as its wiki engine, but it is quite different in its approach toward articles than WikiPedia. I am definitely going to discuss and share MemoryArchive during the EncycloMedia conference presentation I’m sharing in several weeks in Oklahoma City with Vicki Allen titled, “Get Wiki With It! Using Wikis for Collaboration and Learning.” This type of project would be fantastic for StoryChasers as well as our Celebrate Oklahoma Voices project.

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  • http://www.lutherantech.com David Black

    This is a fascinating project. Individuals are, in essence, creating primary historical sources to be studied and analyzed. The mind boggles at the possibilities which exist for working on resource analysis with students. Thanks for sharing this site!

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