Using Twitter and Facebook to tell a Story
Using less than 140 characters to explain a historical fact is not what you would imagine a historian doing. Yet this is increasingly becoming the norm especially in the cultural heritage sector where more and more “SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATORS” are being hired. Which means that all those teachers/professors/educators/historians need to start practicing the art of condensing info into humorous historical nuggets.
The best example I can think of is my newest discovery: Facebook Histories of the World featured on College Humour (which also became a recent addiction of mine for procrastination purposes. I’m still learning so it’s really not that bad to be spending time on this site).
This is my favourite Facebook History:
College Humour – Facebook History of the Protestant Reformation
Summarizing some basic facts might not be what your typical history teacher/professor would want you to learn. More than anything else, 4 years of undergrad + 1 year of grad school has taught me that when it comes to history “IT DEPENDS ON THE CONTEXT” (sh* public historians say).
This practice could essentially start in high school. This could be the solution to every high school history teacher”s predicament of “How do I get these students to care?”.
Grade 11 “World History” (University/College)
These are two requirement listed in the Ontario High School Curriculum (last developed in 2005).
-analyze factors that allowed certain societies to thrive (e.g., abundance of natural resources, legal and military traditions, position on trade routes, common beliefs, strength of leadership);
– assess the criteria by which historians judge societies to have become “civilizations” (e.g., lasting influence of cultural contribution, longevity, significance of role in events of the period).
NEW ASSIGNMENT IDEA
Historians like timelines. Facebook likes timelines. WHY NOT COMBINE THE TWO?
Students must: Create a Facebook History of one specific event in world history i.e. the rise and fall of Alexander the Great – complete with images, a few historical quotes and at least 3 different major players. Max 1 page.
- concise – assignment is easily understandable to students because the collegehumor histories can be shown
- allows them to use creative skills – computer graphics will be marked
- able to use a recognizable language – i.e. slang abbreviations like LOL, WTF
- Short enough to keep their interest
- still requires in depth research
- nuances will be ignored, opinions will figure in heavily
- history will be very basic
- danger of descending into slanderous-like comments
- how do you mark/recognize if the content is plagiarized or not?
- How do you show Facebook Histories with all its swear words? Should you require the students to have PG13 timelines, or bleep them out?
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