On February 6 at the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund kickoff event, the Chattanooga Public Library gave a well-received demonstration of Hyperaudio and the Hyperaudio Pad. This is a proposal for the formation of a local content alliance that would feed a local instance of Hyperaudio, the development of curriculum or lesson plan using the Hyperaudio Pad, and further development and refinement of the Hyperaudio transcription tool.
story begins with the discovery of a box of almost 20 videotapes from the early 1980s that were found deteriorating in the library’s local history department.
The February 6 demonstration story begins with the discovery of a box of almost 20 videotapes from the early 1980s that were found deteriorating in the library’s local history department. The videotapes had been given to the public library by WTCI, the local public television station, many years ago. On the tapes were a series of oral history interviews with local characters, some of whom were significant community figures. Nobody had seen these interviews in 30 years, as they’d been relegated to a dim, inaccessible, existence in a musty back room. In preparation for our experiment with Hyperaudio, the tapes were digitized, edited, and transcribed. The interviews offered amazing insights into what life was like in Chattanooga around the beginning of the 20th century as well as in the 1970s: we had discovered a real gem.
... I developed a much more intimate understanding of the content itself. I had unknowingly been engaged in an active learning process
Hyperaudio is a slick, drag-and-drop web interface for remixing audio and video content. While a great deal of work went into getting the WTCI interviews ready for Hyperaudio, once it was made available on the platform it was incredibly easy to make fun, engaging, remixed narratives. Notably, I found that as I mined the text and the footage for moments to best express the story I wanted to tell in my own creation, I developed a much more intimate understanding of the content itself. I had unknowingly been engaged in an active learning process. When I edited and remixed the content to make my own creation, I was learning by doing; I was engaged in a personal, creative, learning process that allowed me to experience the content relative to my own needs. My wife is a history teacher, and she frequently tells me that her biggest challenge is finding lessons that can make ancient history seem relevant to the lives of the students she is teaching. The Hyperaudio Pad presents one excellent solution to that problem.
Chattanooga has so many stories to tell, and Hyperaudio provides the best possible platform to tell them.
While remixing local history content like the library did for demo is useful to one target audience, there is an opportunity to make Hyperaudio available to a larger, more diverse community. The many amazing events around Chattanooga (PechaKucha, Code & Creativity, Art + Issues) should be captured, but to simply aggregate, categorize, and display them in one place underestimates our city’s potential to express itself. Chattanooga has so many stories to tell, and Hyperaudio provides the best possible platform to tell them. Just as sets of data can be manipulated and interpreted in different ways to tell different stories, once a series of videos is made editable by time signatures synchronized with the corresponding audio track, the video can be manipulated to tell different stories as well.
Currently, Hyperaudio’s greatest friction point is the difficulty creating and adding time-synched transcribed videos to use in the Hyperaudio Pad. For the platform to scale to the point a city or metro could draw value from it, there must be easy paths to onboard new content. In addition, for a teacher to use Hyperaudio in a classroom as a teaching tool, they will need an easy, efficient way to add relevant content for a class to manipulate.