Day 21: StoryCorps
I discovered StoryCorps about five years ago while wandering through the Chicago Cultural Center. I was with an old friend and we both stopped to examine the small recording booth, intrigued by its warm lights and cozy interior. “I have stories to tell,” He said to me with a sigh. Then asked, “Do you have some stories?” I smiled, “Of course I have stories, ” I replied. Then we both shrugged, walked away, and began weaving our tales.
Part of me wishes we stepped into that booth and recorded our conversation. We were childhood friends who drifted apart long ago and just reconnected as adults. There were so many questions we had for each other. So many shared memories that we each remembered differently. A lifetime of separate experiences to share. As we laughed through the back and forth of the memories, 30 years fell away and we became those two kids once again. Its been years now since we have spoken, but I still remember that day of reconnecting through our stories. I wish I could listen to it again. Connecting us in unexpected ways – that is the power of conversation.
We all have stories to tell and StoryCorps has spent over 15 years helping people capture their stories through intimate conversations in a small recording booth. Their mission is to not only capture our stories but to help us build connections through the art of conversation and interviews.
Our mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.
To learn more about StoryCorps, watch this video from founder, Dave Isay.
As Thanksgiving approaches and we gather with friends and family to eat food and watch football, StoryCorps is kicking off their annual Great Thanksgiving Listen. StoryCorps encourages us all to take a moment, turn off the TV, turn on the audio recorder, and ask each other questions. They have created an excellent toolkit to help us break down the generational barriers and learn more about each other. They have also created an excellent standards-aligned toolkit for educators.
- How to participate in the Great Thanksgiving Listen
- Getting started
- Educator Toolkit and Lesson Plan
- Printable conversation stater placement
For an extra challenge, the StoryCorps team suggests taking your recordings and creating a digital story, using Adobe Spark Video. (Learn more about Adobe Spark Video from yesterday’s post.) Using visual storytelling elements such as old photographs, documents, quotes, and current pictures, you can create an amazing keepsake from your interview.
StoryCorps is not only asking us to record these moments but to share them to create an archive of our collective history. You can visit their site to browse through the interview archive.
Technolgy has made recording these precious moments so easy. There are free apps and digital recording tools that allow us to record our interviews with a touch of a button. Not sure what tool to use. Here is a list of apps and recording tools to help you participate in the Great Thanksgiving Listen.
- The StoryCorps Apps – plan, record and share your interviews.
- Online Voice Recorder
- List of 8 recording tools from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning
As you make your Thanksgiving plans, think about adding some time for capturing stories. Personally, I think about all the family members I used to spend Thanksgiving with who are now gone. I wish I had taken the time to record their stories not only for me but so that my kids could listen and get to know them and the life they lived. StoryCorps says it best.
Listen. Honor. Share.