Abe Lincoln, Facebook, Twitter and teaching history
Update 1/4/2011 – I posted some new Facebook online creation tools and Facebook templates on a recent Tip of the Week. Find it here.
I’ve been wanting to get this screen shot of Lincoln’s facebook page off of my desktop for a while and you’re looking for a fun way to suck kids into talking about historical people. I think we can help each other.
Not sure who first came up with the Lincoln Facebook page but it’s been floating around for a while. But if you look closely, you’ll see that who ever it was put some real work into it. (Do you know who Jack Armstrong is?)
And it got me thinking . . . could I use this with middle school and high school kids? I like how we can learn about Lincoln from his Facebook page through a variety of different perspectives, media and voices. Couldn’t we use this format to create some sort of research project or assessment?
A few ideas:
- The teacher acts as the historical (Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, D-Day paratrooper, Henry VIII) or fictional (Johnny Tremain, Pink & Say, Hawkeye) character and posts comments, photos, speeches, quotes and status updates. Kids interact with the page in much the same way they would on an actual page.
- Ask your student to create a Facebook page instead of the traditional book report.
- Students create their own Facebook pages based on research that you assign. This could be a specific person or even non-human kinds of things such as a country, region, event or place. Students would then respond to each others’ pages.
No access at school. Parent concerns about social networking.
The work- around?
Create an offline template. Not the best but a nice solution that lets you get the same Facebook feel. Kids could do some simple research and complete different pieces of the template, exchange papers and add to one another’s work. This could include fictional and actual links, photos, quotes, friends, flame wars and possible groups.
Sticking with the Lincoln theme:
This seems like more of a hook activity though you could extend the assignment to the creation of Twitter profiles.
Whether Facebook or Twitter, I think it’s a useful way to engage kids with historical content in a format that is familiar and engaging to them.
What ideas have I missed?
(inspired by Multimedia Learning)