• School

HaB in Classroom

21 May 2019

As part of the experiential learning and teaching using HaB methodologies, I asked my anthropology students in my Peoples and Cultures of Southeast Asia course at Northern Illonis University (NIU) to write a digital story each using everyday items or food commonly found in Southeast Asia.

Students like the previous two cohorts in Taiwan and Yangon were lost at first. After visiting the Pick Museum of Anthropology at NIU, students got a chance to see (smell, and touch) different everyday items of Southeast Asian households. The visit made the assignment less daunting. Our museum director, Rachelle Wilson, grouped the items per country and let the students pick their favorites. Students picked Thai Water Pitcher, Cambodian Khon Masks, Philippines Victory Dollar and such. Using these items, they began asking questions such as who use them, where they live, what is the significance of this item in their lives, standard anthropological lines of query about any culture or religion around the world. People and their interactions with the items are immediately made the center of the research, and without realizing, students are humanizing their inquiry trying to understand other cultures through the experiences of people. I will write more on using HaB methodologies in class but I want to share my students' digital stories through their everyday objects here first. Click on each topic to read more about their stories on Southeast Asian through everyday objects.

Burmese toys

Philippines Jeepney

Thai Water Pitcher

Cambodian Khon Masks

Head Axe


Southeast Asian Coral Triangle

Philippines Victory Dollar

Cambodian Clay Piggy Bank

Burmese Curry Masala

Cambodian Locks

Southeast Asian Illinois



It was interesting to read the transitition of the students from 'lost' to 'reading/seeing the objects'. I like the approach. Their translation into digital stories makes one remember the details and humanises even the inanimate objects.