Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Maps and Podcasts

Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of anything that makes history more visual. But what I want to talk about a little is the podcasts from the AP article about Historical Websites. They have links to podcasts in the following sites: Colonial Williamsburg, the Smithsonian, Monticello, and the Boston Freedom Trail. I can't wait to download some in mp3 format and upload them onto my iPod/non-iPod. Especially the ones about Thomas Jefferson's writings/speeches on religion and religious freedom/toleration!

The only problem I have found is trying to listen to the podcasts on my computer. With no visual element, it is pretty hard to just sit there in front of my machine and not do anything else while the audio is playing. Then, I get doing something and don't really listen to it at all. But these would be great to have on tours of battlefields, national parks, and other historical areas. It would save money too since often times those audio CDs with the tour guide on them cost a few bucks at the gift shop. And many times, I avoid buying them altogether.

And as for maps, I too, like many of my fellow Clio students, love maps! Maps, charts, graphs, tables, slides, documentaries, whatever!! Anything that can make history more visual is, in my book, a good thing. I would have really liked to add 2 maps to my thesis, but I had no way to do it because no maps from my time period in my area exist. But I do have a lot of geographical information and with that and newer maps, maybe I could have designed them (or maybe I will make them for my dissertation!). I did put 2 tables and 2 graphs if anyone is interested!


At 17 October, 2006 12:26, Anonymous Misha Griffith said...

My family downloads podcasts, old radio shows, and books on tape for long car drives--on the West coast, it took three hours to get anywhere, so we had a lot of listening time. I listened to one of the podcasts from Williamsburg. The audio quality was nice and the information was good, but the presentation was not very dynamic. Could have been the presenter. I can't see using this at Williamsburg, because you will be too interested in what the live presenter is doing. What I would like to see--podcast tied to GPS landmarks, so you can walk through battlefields and listen to commentary.

At 17 October, 2006 15:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, am a big fan of the podcast concept. I download about 10 of them now from topics ranging from science fiction to Irish culture. They're incredibly useful, but they are HIGHLY dependent on the presenter. In fact, I gave up on two of them I subscribed to after just one episode because they were just flat out boring (both history podcasts, which somehow didn't surprise me). I know the Smithsonian was mentioned as having podcasts, but my museum does not. It's amazing how much bureaucracy can get in the way of these dynamic ways of presenting materials. Regardless...great post and comment by Misha.

At 17 October, 2006 15:59, Anonymous Jennifer Levasseur said...

That 'anonymous' post was by me...sorry for not identifying myself properly before.

At 20 October, 2006 00:23, Anonymous Bill A said...

Until you have an MP3 player you're pretty limited. You could multitask and do E-mail while the podcast runs on your desktop...


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