Using Twitter to teach history

17 Jan

Looking for a way to bring history to life for students in today’s technology rich world? A twitter re-enactment might be the answer. Last summer my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas decided to re-enact one of the local historical events, Quantrill’s Raid of 1863, as if it would have happened in real time, via Twitter. A cast of characters/participants was created, and the hashtag #QR1863 was born.
Thinking about all the preparation that went into this, I can imagine it would be an incredible way for participants to learn more about historical events. All of the people tweeting had to understand the basics of the event, but also had to imagine putting themselves in the shoes of their characters. A few of the re-enactors even took on the roles of their ancestors or relatives that were involved in the actual event. Primary sources had to be researched in order to recreate the August raid. A script had to be written, verified, and timed. So much work, and I’d say it was worth it.
Knowing how much today’s students used social media like Twitter and Instagram, using this type of an activity to re-enact historical events might just open their eyes to the history that brought us to where we are today.


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