Audio is an extraordinarily “hot medium”—an evocative listening experience which activates the listener’s imagination as video and film do not. As the grade-schooler allegedly said when assigned Tom Sawyer (or something like that), “I liked reading the book more than watching the movie, because the pictures were better.” Our documentaries are powerful, multilayered, enriching and entertaining learning experiences. They are cognitively-activating audio “texts” which leads listener-students (of whatever age) to their own curiosity, activity, and creative involvement—or even advocacy of a particular perspectives on or solutions to— issues in the programs.
We encourage you to use our award-winning public radio documentary programs to frame and reframe U.S. history. The programs derive their power from framing historically-documented, non-fictional materials within strong dramatic structures. We do not invent dialogue or stage scenes, yet our programs retain all the emotive power and invitation to identify of great storytelling and drama. Download our free teaching materials, and develop, improve and extend them. Listening Between the Lines has developed a Race with History: Between Civil War and Civil Rights Discussion Guide, basic post-listening quizzes, and other educational materials.
Our programs are designed to encourage critical thinking, original research, and student creativity. They are explorations of historical and cultural events, using ethnological, anthropological, artistic, legal, and sociological perspectives to illuminate today’s issues. This multi/cross disciplinary approach activates creative thinking and action, as well as suiting the shows to many learning-situations and subjects. The shows are user-customizable, too: they can be paused, indexed, repeated, looped, bookmarked, etc. They offer extraordinary educational value and potential for multimedia digital/distance interactive education.
Courses based on our Between Civil War and Civil Rights series offer the convenience, portability and popular appeal of downloadable personal audio and/or multimedia technology. Text-bound “books”, film and video are “cooler” media, i.e. demand more attention; can’t be used in-transit or while multi-tasking. In contrast, learners can enjoy the programs on their personal audio players while multi-tasking, travelling, etcetera; derive value from repeated hearings; and even interact with the programs on their computers. The programs are stimulating experiences whose audio-format encourages users to respond by researching, writing, even creating their own supplementary narratives in visual, textual, and even multi-media form. Education experts tell us that “students remember 10% of what they read or see, 20% of what they see and hear, and 50% of what they do.”
We strongly invite instructors and learners alike to join us in developing enhanced multimedia versions of our programs. Listening Between the Lines seeks to supplement these audio-programs with synchronized graphics and texts: speaker i.d.’s, dates, sources, reference icons, maps, charts, essays, abstracts, commentaries, supplementary videos, imbedded links to databases, web-articles and relevant websites, etc., for maximum effect.
Be creative! The sky is the limit! Please help us with your own reflections, lesson-plans, and ideas for making the most of the work. Send us your ideas, lesson plans, homework assignments, scripts and so forth. We welcome and will gladly consider all submissions for licensing of our proprietary materials, distribution, and/or incorporation into this website and the completed Between Civil War and Civil Rights series. Partner with us!