The "Truths" We Make of Our "truths"

Berkeley High School's Arts & Humanities Academy Fall 2012 Senior Interdisciplinary Project aimed to explore the multiple narratives surrounding a variety of socio-political issues, with particular attention to how these narratives are developed, articulated, and perpetuated.

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  1. THE TASK:
    Working in groups of four, students were responsible for first selecting a topic. This did not have to be an issue with a clear pro and con, but students were encouraged to consider topics that seemed to generate completely distinct interpretations based on audience or intention.

    The topics selected were:
    - Internet Privacy
    - Airport Security
    - Violent Video Games
    - Animal Testing
    - Gun Control
    - Genetically Modified Foods
    - Humane Slaughter
    - Obesity in America
    - Healthcare 
    - Decriminalization of Prostitution

    After settling on a topic the students began to research, investigating at the various narratives that they discovered that were used to explain, refute, support, or question the topic.

    The final product would consist of the following:
    1. A series of Investigative Reports - anywhere from two to four - that explored a particular narrative.
    2. Original graphic representations of data
    3. Found data and artifacts from various media sources
    4. A pastiche of a familiar movie poster built around the central ideas of the topic and/or narrative(s)
    5. An annotated works cited

    The goal was to have all of the projects submitted digitally and for that we chose to use Storify with the hope that it would facilitate the incorporation of social media consequently helping to get a clearer - and perhaps more interesting - picture of the current conventional wisdom surrounding their topics. As with any new platform we ran into some issues and limitations with the format. While being able to just drag in relevant media was a great help, the inability to import files that are not web-based was not popular. We were thrilled to be able to have multiple editors as we use Google docs regularly... but it turned out that Storify pages are not intended to have simultaneous editing and there were innumerable problems with lost data, writing and inconsistent saving. Once we decided to never have the story open on more than one computer we seemed to conquer this issue, but it was a shame that real time collaboration was impossible.

    Here is what they produced. 

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