First I want to share one more article about the Twitter History project I’m involved with that came out in this morning’s local newspaper: http://hjnews.townnews.com/articles/2010/01/13/news/news05-01-13-10.prt. Journalist Arie Kirk did a nice job describing the project. Best-selling author Annette Lyon also wrote about her involvement in TwHistory here on her blog, and it’s a great read.
But there’s always more to the story, which is one of the things I love about history. Here’s a little glimpse of what’s been going on behind the scenes as volunteer authors gear up for the Mormon Overland Trail reenactment using a Google groups page:
Laurie: Does anyone understand the concept behind the ten-mile stakes, as in ”Put up the fifth ten miles stake.” Do they count these per week?
Annette: I have no idea how often they did these, but it sounds like they’re putting up markers every ten miles for those who come behind. Someone–I can’t remember who–built a pretty sophisticated odometer to track the miles.
Marion: That was Appleton Harmon who created the odometer, I believe. I think he got tired of counting the rag tied to wagon wheel. I’m not sure what they mean by the fifth. They wouldn’t have done that in one day, so maybe they were tracking by week?
Josi: I think they meant a fifth of whiskey; that’s about what I would need about every 10 miles to get from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake.
Rob: I think we might be surprised to see how often that was the case. :) There’s a story from Robert Gardner, one of my ancestors, while working on the temple. He had a big gash cut in his leg from a log coming down a chute up in the mountains. Porter Rockwell was helping him out and gave him some whiskey. Rob told that he started pouring it on his leg to clean the wound, and Porter told him that it was for him to drink, so he did both.
If you would like to join in on the fun please contact us via the TwHistory.org site or leave me a comment. What would you like to reenact next?
I really enjoyed being part of the UNESCO Chair in E-Learning conference on Open Social Learning last week with my friend and colleague, Marion Jensen. We presented TwHistory, a project that Marion started and I have been involved with during 2009, and it involves reenacting historical events using Twitter. Jeff Young posted a nice summary of the TwHistory project on the Wired Campus Blog of The Chronicle of Higher Education, although he gave me more credit than I deserve. TwHistory was Marion’s idea from the beginning; I was fortunate enough to have gotten involved early on in the development of that idea.
For more about the UNECSO Chair in E-Learning conference I will refer you to José Mota’s excellent conference summary. This was my fourth time visiting Barcelona over the past 18 months, and I feel very lucky to have had all those opportunities. Barcelona has quickly become one of my favorite cities in the world, and the wonderful people at UOC are big part of why I feel that way. Thank you to Emma, Julia, and all the organizers at UOC for an excellent conference. You have given me a lot to think about, and I look forward to future opportunities to share and discuss the future of Open Social Learning.
Last week I met Emma Kiselyova, Executive Director of the UNESCO Chair in E-Learning at the Open University of Catalonia. Somehow we got talking about the historical reenactments Marion Jensen and others have been doing at TwHistory.com. Today I am thrilled that we have been invited to present the project at the 6th Annual International Seminar of UNESCO Chair in E-Learning next month in Barcelona. The focus of the seminar this year will be Open Social Learning, and I think TwHistory will provide a nice example of what can be done with relatively simple, social tools. Here is the proposal:
TwHistory: Historical Reenactments with Twitter
Tom Caswell and Marion Jensen
The TwHistory project began in early 2009 with the first Twitter reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg over a period of several weeks. While history is considered a boring subject by some, others find a great deal of satisfaction in reenacting important moments in history, dressing in old uniforms and marching on preserved battlefields. TwHistory is based on the idea that historical reenactments can take place online and have the same positive effects for volunteer participants and virtual onlookers.