A simple way to give students access to a library of positive visual and audible memories from their home culture.
Cloud Memories is a web-based system that allows a counselor or teacher to easily create a shared memory book for students with snapshots of their home country, familiar audio, for example classic children's stories read by a native-language speaker, market sounds, songs. The memory book will also contain short-length videos and written narratives, like folk tales, in the students native language.
Remembering the positive aspects of home helps to comfort students as well as maintain their sense of their culture and self.
In the book Travellers' Tales: Narratives of Home and Displacement (Robertson, Psychology Press, 1994) Madan Sarup says this of memories of home while in a new country "When I think of home I do not think of the expensive commodities I have bought but of the objects I associate with my mother and father my brothers and sisters, valued experiences and activities. I remember significant life events, the birth of children, their birthday parties... Particular objects and events become the focus of a contemplative memory, and hence a generator of a sense of love. many homes become private museums as if to guard against the rapid changes that one cannot control. How can the singing of a particular song or the playing of a piece of music have such and emotional charge? O play a tape of 'la Paloma'. Why am I in tears?"
Cloud Memories gives students the chance to unfold and cherish these common positive sights and sounds of home countries while they go through the challenging process of adjusting to a new environment, language and culture. All they need is an iPad, Android tablet or computer and they can access the same Cloud memory book across all of these different devices at school, their counselor's office and at home.
Creating a Cloud Memory book can be an excellent group activity where students share their favorite memories and seek these snippets online or share their own photos or narratives. The product is a shared space where all students that are transitioning from that country can go and visit.
Cloud Memories is a web-based program accessible on desktops and mobile, accommodations for sight and hearing impaired users will be used as much as possible. A set of universally tested iconography will be used to aid users who are illiterate or partially illiterate.
A tablet mode for learners will be enabled allowing a teacher or counselor to place the Cloud Memory in "slideshow" mode to automatically play for a learner while they hold the tablet. This allows very young users or those with developmental issues that might preclude them from being able to identify text or icons to still fully participate in the experience.