The Future of History is with Students

The Future of History is with Students

20 August 2018 Life Writing Autiobiography Memoir Collaboration

Tangara School For Girls started the ‘Write of Passage’ program this week; helping nearby Arcare Glenhaven aged care residents collect their life stories using new ICT & AI technology to create personalised memoir books.

The technology makes the usually tedious and time-consuming process much easier, students use template questions and voice-to-text, so they can focus on enjoying the stories and expanding their worldviews, and edit the text afterwards.

At the end of October, the Residents and their families will be presented with their personalised memoir book and the audio files of the stories. Often families say they miss their loved one’s voice after they’ve gone, so this is a cherished extra.

Coordinator of Personalised Education at Tangara Girls, Rita Sakr, said “The students are very interested to meet older people in their community and hear some of the amazing life journeys they’ve had, from a time and place so different from what they are growing up in now.

They take the responsibility of documenting the lives of these older Australians as very important in saving real Australian history and culture, for future generations to understand and enjoy.”

One Tangara students said, “My resident wasn’t very talkative, so I had to think of ways to prompt longer answers.”We all agreed that it was good practice for many situations.

Arcare resident Pamela told me during the first session, “After my heart attack and operation I couldn’t remember much, so my daughter had to put me in this Home, but when this lovely girl asked me some questions from my past, I started to remember lots of things. It’s wonderful.”

Arcare Lifestyle Coordinator, Chloe Pearson said, “ We give every resident a Samsung tablet device for their personal use to Skype with family or use for entertainment, but we’ve found very few clients use it. Now that the students are using the resident’s own device for this project, maybe they will become more comfortable with using it by themselves too.”

Often families regret not asking more questions or documenting their loved ones stories. It seems that by the time grandchildren are interested in their grandparents as people, those people are long gone.

Initially I thought students could be an unrealised labour resource and useful in helping save some life stories and knowledge, but now it has become so much more. Kids are learning valuable life and communication skills, using technology as a tool, and older people are being cognitively stimulated as well as socialised.

25% of the population is going to be over 65 soon, so we need to raise children to be empathetic and respectful of older citizens, or there will not be enough people coming through to work in the required industries.

Tangara School for Girls: We believe that the best education develops the whole person: it integrates the pursuit of academic excellence, the acquisition of skills and the development of the student's character.

Arcare: A family-owned business delivering our unique brand of 5-star aged care to older Australians since 1997.

Bookform: An online program to automate collecting family & community stories into printable digital books.