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Posts tagged ‘twitter in education’

Tweet the Debates: Using Twitter to recreate history

Twitter is a pretty amazing tool. Think about it. With Twitter, I can get constant updates from my friends, family, and colleagues on what they had for breakfast, how their drive to work went, and truly important stuff like how hot they think it will be this afternoon.

Seriously. How did we live without Twitter?

I kid because I love.

Twitter really is a pretty amazing tool. Revolutions in Egypt. Live updates on natural disasters. Connections with loved ones thousands of miles away. Not to mention a decent instructional strategy.

We’ve talked about using Twitter in the social studies before. And so when I came across Tweet the Debates, I was more than just a little curious. Created by artist and lawyer Toby Grytafey, Tweet the Debates is his attempt to recreate the summer of 1787 as if those attending the Constitutional Convention had access to social media.

It’s an interesting concept that has worked for other historical events. And it sounds pretty cool. Toby started a Kickstarter project that was hoping to raise funds for a mobile app and other goodies. Even if the fundraising idea fell through, the actual Tweet the Debates idea is awesome.

Toby uses a quote from James Madison, apparently written in the spring of 1835, as inspiration for the project: Read more

10 best hashtags for social studies teachers

Twitter. It’s a good thing.

And I know many of you are already big social media fans. But for those who are still just a bit unsure about the whole Twitter / Facebook / Plurk thing, this is for you.

Two pieces of advice:

1. Start small. Use Twitter just for yourself. Don’t use it as part of your instruction yet – focus on using it to grow your Personal Learning Network. Follow and read other teachers and organizations Gather info. Ask questions.

Start here to find helpful users to follow.

2. Use hashtags. Hashtags are a way for you to follow a theme or topic rather than a person or organization. This allows you to cast a much wider net while also helping you find more people to add your Follow list.

The problem?

You can’t follow a hashtag directly through your Twitter account.

This is perhaps the most confusing point for people who are new to hashtags — but it’s important to understand. From your Twitter account you can only “follow” other Twitter users (accounts set up for an individual, organization, project, event, etc.). A hashtag is not a Twitter account that you can click a “follow” button for.

It’s a way to label or tag tweets so they can be easily pulled together. A hashtag is always a word preceded by the pound sign like “#sschat” which users insert into their tweets like this:

Since a hashtag is nothing more than a character string inserted into a tweet, it’s something that you can search Twitter for. So the most basic way to track hashtags through your web browser is:

  1. Go to Twitter Search.
  2. Search for a hashtag you want to track. Include the “#” in your search query. Here’s a search for #historyteacher
  3. Keep that page open in a browser tab, and refresh it periodically to see the latest results. Or subscribe to the feed for your search in your feed reader and check there occasionally for updates.

But what hashtags should you follow? Here are 10 great tags that are a great place to start.

#sschat – Social Studies chat (One of my favorites. Check out their Ning page too.)
#socialstudies – General social studies
#history – General history stuff
#apush – Advanced Placement history
#ushistory – United States history
#civics – Government and civics teaching
#apgov – Advanced Placement government
#historychatHistory chats
#historyteacher – History instruction
#geographyteacher – Geography instruction

Which tags am I missing?

Tip of the Week – 65 History Twitter feeds

Okay, I may have done the math wrong. But whatever the number is, it’s a bunch of very cool and useful Twitter feeds. Grab a couple or three of them and expand your Personal Learning Network.

A quick and easy way to grow the list is to check out who these users are following. In no time, you’ll have tons of links to tons of stuff.

And just in case you’re interested:

glennw98: Occasional blogger, presenter and history nerd.

General

From news to history blogs, you’ll find it all from these history Tweeters.

  1. @librarycongress: The official feed from the Library of Congress.
  2. @smithsonian: General news from the Smithsonian
  3. @amhistorymuseum: Updates from the National Museum of American History
  4. @smithsonianNMAI: National Museum of the American Indian news
  5. @NMAAHC: National Museum of African American History and Culture highlights
  6. @SmithsonianEdu: Things from the Education folks at the Smithsonian
  7. @DocsTeach: Updates from NARA’s latest web site focusing on primary docs
  8. @discovercivwar: NARA’s great Civil War site
  9. @GLIAmericanHist: Gilder Lehrman Institute has great US History stuff
  10. @plimoth: Plimoth Plantation’s cool stuff
  11. @historytweeter: This Twitter feed is all about history.
  12. @PocketHistory: Check out @PocketHistory to find random facts from world history.
  13. @Historyday: See what happened on this day in history with @Historyday.
  14. @greathistory_: Great History highlights the best in history blogging.
  15. @HistoryOfAll: Here you’ll find the official Twitter page of Everything is History.
  16. @HeritageTwit: @HeritageTwit has the latest news and thinking on heritage policy.
  17. @timelines: Use @timelines to discover, record, and share history.
  18. @VHStudio: @VHStudio shares history through visual art and imagery.
  19. @ThomasJefferson: Quotes and says from the Jefferson.
  20. @GeoWashington: Tweets as if Washington were writing them in real time.
  21. @Boston1775: History, analysis & unabashed gossip about the American Revolution in New England.
  22. @Medievalists: Interested in the Middle Ages and Medieval History?
  23. @EarlyAmerica: Timely and exciting stories of early America’s historic past.
  24. @ushistorysite: Helpful links and resources.
  25. @colonialwmsburg: News and updates from Colonial Williamsburg.
  26. @teachinghistory: Central place online for K-12 American history education
  27. @MissedinHistory: Didn’t pay attention in history class?

Media

See the historic media at work on Twitter.

  1. @historynetwork: This network specializes in history podcasts.
  2. @HistoryChannel: @HistoryChannel has a variety of non-fiction series and specials.
  3. @ArchaeologyDN: Archaeology Daily shares news, headlines, and more in archaeology and related disciplines.
  4. @BBCHistoryMag: Dave Musgrove is the editor of BBC History.
  5. @HistoryTimes: Through this account, you can learn from the editors of the History Times.
  6. @Discovery_News: @Discovery_News has a variety of programs on history and beyond.
  7. @HistoryToday: On @HistoryToday, you’ll find news and thoughts from Paul Lay of History Today magazine.

Educators & Students

Check out these feeds for the educational side of history tweeting.

  1. @MisterHistory: David Hilton uses online resources to teach history.
  2. @nchsucla: This organization brings historians and teachers together .
  3. @titzel: Art Titzel teachers American cultures in Pennsylvania.
  4. @jmcclurken: Jeff McClurken’s work lives at the intersection of teaching, history, and technology.
  5. @dancohen: You’ll learn about history and new media from this professor of history.
  6. @mcohen00: Melissa Cohen tweets about high school history and film.
  7. @thinkbigbebig09: Waldemar Rollan is an economy and history professor.
  8. @russeltarr: Author of ActiveHistory.co.uk.
  9. @bencarp: Early American tweets and resources.
  10. @kenhalla: Lots of news from US History teacher.

Documents & Publications

These feeds specialize in maps, documents, books, and more.

  1. @TheHistoryPress: This publisher specializes in history texts.
  2. @TimeMaps: TimeMaps works to visualize history and chronology.
  3. @LookBackMaps: Jon Voss shares history through maps.
  4. @tannerritchie: Here you’ll find a publisher of daily historical sources.
  5. @history_book: @history_book shares new history book releases.
  6. @historycellar: This blog has unseen documents and more.
  7. @RagLinen: @RagLinin is an online museum of rare newspapers.
  8. @footnote: Check out @footnote to find original documents online.
  9. @TheWomensMuseum: @TheWomensMuseum highlights heroines from the 1500s to the present.
  10. @Culture24: @Culture24 has news, listings, and more from thousands of historical resources.
  11. @tenementmuseum: Check out this museum to learn about tenements.
  12. @CapitolHistory: This organization educates the public about the history of the US Capitol and Congress.
  13. @Gozaic: This travel community explores heritage sites and culture rich places.

Military

These accounts specialize in military history.

  1. @wceberly: Here you’ll find a historian, author, and oil painter.
  2. @WWIIToday: AT Nelson tweets about news and ideas from WWII.
  3. @SecondVirginia:Recreating the Virginia soldier of the Revolutionary War.
  4. @RevolutionaryPA: A site dedicated to the colonial and Revolutionary War history of the Keystone State.
  5. @MilitaryChannel: Check out this feed for tweets from the Military Channel.

Historical Tweets

Read these accounts to see what Twitter would have sounded like throughout history.

  1. @HistoricTwits: @HistoricTwits has a collection of the best tweets that might have been in history.
  2. @historicaltweet: You’ll find funny Twitter messages from history on @historicaltweet.
  3. @TwtsFromHistory: Here you’ll find a Twitter study of history.

Hashtags:

You can also use Twitter to follow hashtags. Hashtags are a way for you follow a theme or topic rather than a person or organization. The problem?

You can’t follow a hashtag directly through your Twitter account.

This is perhaps the most confusing point for people who are new to hashtags — but it’s important to understand. From your Twitter account you can only “follow” other Twitter users (accounts set up for an individual, organization, project, event, etc.). A hashtag is not a Twitter account that you can click a “follow” button for. It’s a way to label or tag tweets so they can be easily pulled together. A hashtag is always a word preceded by the pound sign and users insert them into their tweets.

Some sample hashtags?

  • #historyteacher
  • #history
  • #socialstudies

The easiest to follow hashtags is to use Twitter Search.

Since a hashtag is nothing more than a character string inserted into a tweet, it’s something that you can search Twitter for. Therefore, the most basic way to track hashtags through your web browser is:

  1. Go to Twitter Search.
  2. Search for a hashtag you want to track. Include the “#” in your search query. Here’s a search for #historyteacher
  3. Keep that page open in a browser tab, and refresh it periodically to see the latest results. Or subscribe to the feed for your search in your feed reader, and check there occasionally for updates.

Have fun!

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Tweeting your way through history

Over the last year or so, more and more folks are beginning to use social media tools to recreate history. We’ve seen the likes of the John Quincy Adams Twitter feed, Historical Tweets and Lincoln’s Facebook page as well as a much less serious version of historical figures interacting with modern online tools.

One of the latest historical media tool integrations I’ve run across is called TwHistory.

The project began in 2009 with the first Twitter reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg over a period of several weeks. TwHistory is based on the idea that historical reenactments can take place online and have positive effects for all involved. In school settings these virtual reenactments can increase engagement while providing opportunities for students to research personal journals and other primary source documents.

There’s a couple of things to like about TwHistory. First, they have a couple of reenactments already in the can (Gettysburg and the Cuban Missile Crisis) and a current reenactment that has just started that they’re calling the 1847 Pioneer Trek. So you can jump in as a classroom teacher and start using their goodies right away.

Second, they’ve got a helpful Teacher’s Corner that provides downloads, resources, ideas and examples of how to create your own Twitter reenactment. They also have a handy FAQ page.

Third, TwHistory just received a grant from the Talis Incubator for Open Education people to fund work designed to help teachers create their own TwHistory reenactments. So what do you got to lose?

The only thing you’ll need to participate is a Twitter account and a desire to actively engage your kids in historical thinking.

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