There was a wonderful commentary in the Philly Inquirer about collecting war memories for a project called the Veterans History Project. I used it to try and inspire the students in our American Studies class to explore their backgrounds as they choose a topic for the long term research project. I posted excerpts of the commentary to our class weblog and found some excellent resources on connecting hertiage projects to the classroom. One is called Heritage Projects and Place-Based Education: "The broad goals of a Heritage project are to positively impact a particular state or school's educational achievement by providing teachers and students the means and motivation to become cultural researchers and historians of their own communities. " They also have additional resources for teachers here.
This sounds like it could be helpful in gaining an audience, guidance, and opportunities for collaboration as we move ahead with this project. Details are still a little sketchy at this point. We've had them do an Interest and Background Survey, given them very general parameters, and set them up with weblogs, a news aggregator, and introduced them to RSS feeds. The next step will be narrowing and deciding on a topic (that will be meaningful to them) and getting them started on collecting artifacts.