A Great Guide to Capturing Oral Biographies

A few years ago I hosted a workshop on recording history with students (slides from that workshop can be seen here). The purpose of the workshop was to help teachers help their students record interviews with elders in their communities. The workshop was loosely based on a project that I did with my own students eleven years ago with a tool called VoiceThread. VoiceThread was the perfect tool at the time. It’s still a solid choice, but there are now other, less expensive or free, tools that could be used to record stories. A few of those options are Synth, Anchor, and Flipgrid. But the point of this post isn’t to write about those tools. Instead this post is to share How to Create Instant Oral Biographies (link opens a PDF) from Make Beliefs Comix.

How to Create Instant Oral Biographies is a free ebook created by Bill Zimmerman, the founder of Make Beliefs Comix. The ebook is an update of Bill’s original work of the same name that was published in 1979. By reading the ebook you’ll learn interview techniques, find lists of questions to ask during an interview, space to write notes, and a few cartoons to inspire the interviewer and the interviewee. I particularly like the cartoon frame that asks, “make believe you can reinvent your life.. how would you picture your past?”

How to Create Instant Oral Biographies is one of thirteen free ebooks available on Make Beliefs Comix. I’ve previously reviewed a few of the others including Your Life in Comics.

Make Beliefs Comix is more than just a place to find free ebooks. The site offers a complete online service that students can use to create comics in multiple languages. Watch my video below to learn how to use it. 


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!