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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


HistoricalVoices.org

by joyce grant
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.9 stars
Content Quality: 4.9 stars
Effectiveness: 4.8 stars
Ease of Use: 4.8 stars
Reviewed: Jun 05, 2006 by Teacher Education
Overview: With a substantial portion of our cultural heritage from the 20th century being

recorded in some way, Historical Voices is an attempt to create a significant,
fully searchable online database of spoken word collections spanning the 20th
century - the first large-scale repository of its kind. Historical Voices will
both provide storage for these digital holdings and display public galleries
that cover a variety of interests and topics.
Designed as an expansive repository of aural resources, Historical Voices will
grow to include many more collections from partnering institutions around the
country.

This site contains valuable documentation of major historical events. The online
exhibits and digital files will increase student engagement and understanding
of history. The links send the viewer to rich and valuable sources of
information.

Learning Goals: The primary goals of Historical Voices are to:
1. develop both a rich set of exhibits and
2. educational curricula that fully incorporate sound files.

To accomplish this, Historical Voices will:
a. Determine Best Practices in Digital Sound Digitization;
b. Develop a Digital Archive Structure for Multimedia Materials;
c. Work with Key Institutions to develop a Robust Metadata F ormat;
d. Research Aural Perception to Maximize Student Comprehension;
e. Develop Tools to Create and Deliver Multimedia Presentations (linked sound
and transcripts);
f. Develop Alternative Delivery Web Interfaces to Facilitate Diverse Users and
Needs;
g. Build Federated Archives and Trans-Institutional Resources.
Target Student Population: Graduate and Undergraduate students enrolled in various social science classes,
Teacher Education methods classes for the secondary education studies in the
social sciences, and other related disciplines.
This learning object is also a valuable and appropriate resource for middle and
high school social science classes and humanities classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The user only needs basic computer skills of search and click to access the
information on this site.
Type of Material: Digital library of recordings (audio and video) of the 20th Century of
Americanna.
Recommended Uses: Pre-service and in-service teachers armed with a standard for learning that
deals with signifiant events in 20th century social sciences and/or related
disciplines, may be able to find audio that can support the full understanding
of this standard. Through the effective scaffolding of the learner, the teacher
can move the learner to the upper divisions of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy of
Cognitive development.
Technical Requirements: Pre-service and in-service teachers armed with a standard for learning that
deals with signifiant events in 20th century social sciences and/or related
disciplines, may be able to find audio that can support the full understanding
of this standard. Through the effective scaffolding of the learner, the teacher
can move the learner to the upper divisions of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy of
Cognitive development.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.9 stars
Strengths: The content is well organized and cataloged. There are lesson plans attached
for most of the active audio links listed.
As one is listening to the digital recordings, one has the ability to select the
audio with a transcript of the recording. This appears to help with both
understanding the speaker and for those who do not have audio capabilities.

Concerns: The reviewers identified two concerns. These are:
1. The concern of this reviewer is that the "home" page lacks sufficient
direction for navigation through the site. As a result, the first time
viewer may not be able to fully appreciate the richness of content found on

this digital learning site.

2. The "Search" and "Practices" links are under development. In the
"Galleries" section, the Flint Sit-In link was dead, although the picture
clicked right to the site.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.8 stars
Strengths: The authors of this site have provided the viewers with a guide for how to use
the site, and how to build lessons with the archived audio and visual material
available. This is found under the tab, "Education", but unless the viewer
knows it is there they may miss it. This very important feature should be
"center stage" on the Home Page of Historical Voices.
Concerns: This reviewers are concerned that the site is not complete. The incompleteness
of the "Search" and "Practices" sections seriously hampers the complete use
of this site for teaching and learning purposes. Having to wade through each
of
the galleries is very time consuming and without an effective "search" engine
may cause the viewers to bypass such a rich source of information.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.8 stars
Strengths: Once the viewer is able to discover what is available, recommendations of how
the resources can be used and how to navigate between sites, it becomes very
simple to utilize. It is difficult to find out how to use, or what are "best
practices" of how to use this rich resource.
Knowing that one would need plug-ins would be helpful to know up front, and
provide a link to the free down load of these plug-ins would greatly imporve the
use and value of the object.
Although the content is deep, the offerings are not so broad as to misdirect
students.
Concerns: Lack of clear cut directions of how to use, best practices and not knowing that
you must have plug-ins to fully utilize the resources.
Even in the individual materials, there is no navigation button available except
the "back" key to get back to home base. This would be helpful since one can

get totally absorbed in the material forget where they are in relation to Home.

Other Issues and Comments: The lesson plans are particularly helpful to both new and veteran teachers. This
site is an outstanding single point of information for the teacher of 20th
century culture and history.