Oregon Trail! Podcasts! Twine! This week’s module included so many components and topics that are near-and-dear to my heart and through all of it weaves the topic of storytelling. In our class discussion we were asked, “how are history and storytelling different and complimentary?” I would argue that storytelling is a component of presenting history and is especially important for engaging the public. Incorporating narrative and storytelling elements into research often makes a work more readable and accessible to those outside of academia. I attempted to do that when I wrote about “The Great Virginia Flood of 1870.” Although it could always be improved upon, my writing appears to have been successful for engaging a local audience. One of my friends who is a nurse recently had a patient that was reading my book. My friend told her patient that she went to high school with the author which prompted the patient to start reading “favorite passages” to her. It’s one of the most rewarding stories I’ve received as a local, public historian. It makes me incredibly happy to know that the narrative element was successful for holding the reader’s attention. That said, there are so many other mediums besides books, and we got to look at (and hear!) a few good examples of digital history that incorporate storytelling in their mediums.
For some audiences, interactive gameplay can also be a good medium to teach aspects of history. When I was a kid, I learned more about the Oregon Trail from the game than reading or in class. I appreciated having that game included in this week’s activities. It was a good piece of nostalgia. However, I had a moment of feeling old when I learned a few of my classmates had not played this one before. A few years ago, the card game came out and that revived some interest, but it didn’t have the same feel. I guess there really is an Oregon Trail generation.
I love podcasts because they’re so easily accessible. Often, I like to have a podcast on at work while multitasking. The narrative element makes it easy to follow, while also learning a bit and if it’s a topic I’m really interested in, I can jump into readings later (not that I’m able to do that while taking classes). There are times that I wish more academic readings were available as audiobooks. For some reason, it’s often easier for me to listen to a work than focus on reading. I ended up listening to all three recommended podcasts for this week. “Eden to Ashes”, this disaster history that discussed the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902 was my favorite. “Zooming Ahead,” while interesting, was also a bit on the frustrating side as the in-person teaching bias of Dr. Zimmerman came through. I completely understand that when the pandemic first happened and some professors were struggling to learn how to post lectures, etc., certain online learning elements were unideal. However, Zoom and online classes have been the best thing ever for me and I’m dreading the return to in-person. Interviewing another professor with a positive online teaching experience would have balanced this topic.
Finally, I was so excited to learn Twine and would love to know more about using it for non-linear digital history storytelling. I plan on picking up “Twining: Critical and Creative Approaches to Hypertext Narratives” and learning more about this creating more in-depth narrative projects. My little Twine adventure involved a Saturday afternoon trip to the thrift store and a few haunted items. I had a blast creating it and plan on adding it to my Reclaim account for easier sharing. I shared this project with a few friends, and they all cracked up at the record section. What was your favorite part of this week?
 Paula F. Green, The Great Virginia Flood of 1870, The History Press, 2020. (I feel like such a dork citing myself…oof.)
 “Eden to Ashes,” Consolation Prize, https://consolationprize.rrchnm.org/episode-8-eden-to-ashes/, Accessed September 27, 2021.
 “Zooming Ahead: How Virtual Learning is Shaping the College Classroom,” Backstory, https://www.backstoryradio.org/shows/zimmerman-teaching/ Accessed September 27, 2021.
 Anastasia Salter and Stuart Moulthrop, Twining: Critical and Creative Approaches to Hypertext Narratives, Amherst College Press, 2021.