Posts Tagged ‘twhistory’

Looking back at Open Ed 2010, looking forward to 2011

March 26th, 2011

Today I reviewed some presentations from Open Ed 2010 and thought about the last several years of the Open Education movement. Here are a couple clips from the Barcelona conference, starting with a nice overview from my favorite OER advocate, Hal Plotkin:


Hal Plotkin: impressions about Open Ed 2010

Hal Plotkin at Open Ed 2010:
“Meeting President Obama’s 2020 College Graduation Goal – The Role of Open Educational Resources”

And in case you missed Hal Plotkin’s “new speech” from his 2011 Connexions conference keynote, it’s a must.
Read more…


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An opportunity for TwHistory

September 2nd, 2010

A few months ago I helped a friend win the Pepsi Refresh Challenge, which gave $25,000 to one of my favorite music associations, the Associate of Redlands Bowl. The following month he did it again, this time at the $50K level. The basic idea is that there is strength in numbers. So TwHistory has teamed up with other groups to form an alliance by supporting each others’ projects.

We are competing for a $25K grant for TwHistory and we have a month to collect all the daily votes we can. It’s simple: if we are in the top 10 with the most votes at the $25K level at the end of the month, we get the funding. We are currently ranked #16 out of over a thousand entries, so we are definitely in the running. Here are our deliverables:

  • 10 lesson plans built around historical documents
  • 1 example of a virtual historical reenactment (Sinking of the Titanic)
  • 1 ‘how to’ video posted on our site for educators to learn the TwHistory process

Vote early and often

Vote for TwHistory and its partners here.  You can sign in using your Facebook account, so it’s really easy. You are allowed to vote for up to 10 projects each day, so please vote for our partners as well.


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TwHistory at ICLS 2010

June 28th, 2010

I’ll be sharing a poster on TwHistory at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences 2010 this week with Brett Shelton, Victor Lee, and Marion Jensen (see the sneak peek below). If you’re curious about how we create historical reenactments on Twitter, visit for more information, FAQs and a directory of our current reenactments. I’m very happy to see an ICLS Twitter channel all set up and ready to go. I’m looking forward to using it!

TwHistory ICLS poster


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TTIX 2010 TwHistory Presentation: Tweeting From the Titanic

June 27th, 2010

Earlier this month Marion Jensen, Rob Barton, and I did a TwHistory presentation at TTIX 2010 (Teaching with Technology Idea Exchange). It was a great conference, and Michael Johnson is the new Grand Poobah. Congratulations!

Our “Tweeting from the Titanic” workshop began with a presentation to familiarize participants with how we use Twitter to share historical reenactments (we call it TwHistory). During the second half of the workshop participants researched several characters from the Titanic crew and quickly created nearly 100 tweets that were scheduled and shared that night at dinner. Due to the lack of time, we allowed participants to take some liberties during the workshop, creating a sort of virtual role play based on first-hand accounts. You can see the Titanic resources we prepared, as well as the Titanic Tweets Google Spreadsheet we used to coordinate it all. While we weren’t able to broadcast the tweets on the exact day of the tragic sinking (April 15), we tried our best to tweet at the appropriate times, adjusted for our timezone (GMT-6). I would love to extend this and prepare a more robust, historically sound version for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, which will take place on April 15, 2012.

I should also mention that there is another TwHistory workshop coming up in October at the 2010 AECT convention in Anaheim, CA. We are preparing a reenactment of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and participants will have the opportunity to create some of the tweets for Black Sunday (October 27th), which happens to be the day of our session. I’m looking forward to that one! Here are the details of our AECT workshop:

11-R6: TwHistory Workshop: Tweeting the Cuban Missile Crisis
Workshop participants will be introduced to TwHistory, a framework for creating and sharing historical reenactments with Twitter. They will be guided through the process of researching and creating tweets for the historical figures they will represent in an online Cuban Missile Crisis reenactment. The combined tweets will form a reenactment that will be shared via Twitter and during the 2010 AECT conference and coinciding with the 48th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Let’s Ban Paper Too: What Public Schools 1.0 Can Learn From Web 2.0

April 8th, 2010

Let me start with a video clip. I came across this video by Soomo Publishing, a group I learned at the Connexions 2010 conference. (Soomo is in the business of creating “ready-to-use collections of rich web assignments” using a student subscription model.) Soomo takes some liberties at the end of the video, so if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool historian you may want to skip over this one.

I think this clip is brilliant.

It is exactly this kind of virally catchy, think-outside-the-box content that can pique students’ interest in a particular historical event.

But this is only a hook.

With the proper questions and encouragement, a teacher can help students unpack the meaning of something like the Soomo clip on the American Revolution. Video is not just entertainment. Viewing the clip can lead to some interesting classroom discussions if the teacher is willing to listen as well as lecture. Master teachers are able to adapt last year’s lesson to this year’s students. This kind of teaching takes more effort than one-way lecture because it requires giving students more control, more two-way interaction.

That’s the whole point of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 gives users more control. It’s a 2-way “conversation” that starts with a web page projecting information in one direction and allows the audience to respond with comments, ratings, user-generated video, status messages, etc. Some of the most successful sites have figured out how to give their users more of a voice. They are no longer simply readers, viewers, or users. They are contributors. Schools can learn a great deal from the Web 2.0 movement. People (including students) want to participate, not just watch or read.

Don’t stop there.

I think it would be great if students could dig into some of the great online sources to research and collaboratively create a reenactment of a particular historical event. A project I am involved with is helping teachers to do just that. helps teachers, students, and history enthusiasts to create historical reenactments using Twitter. More info for teachers is available on the TwHistory teacher’s corner. Are you concerned about the implications of using Web 2.0 tools in schools? So am I. These tools have huge potential. I would even compare it to the invention of paper.

Let’s ban paper too.

Blocking Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites is like banning access to paper in schools because it could be used to read, write, or draw something inappropriate. I taught at a public high school, in a computer-based classroom for 5 years. I understand the issues. Educational consultant Chris O’Neal said it well at the start of a YouTube teacher tutorial he made for Edutopia: “I think of YouTube as, like a giant video flea market. Lots of cool finds mixed in with a lot of crazy junk.” So let’s start by unblocking YouTube in schools (or perhaps finding a suitable alternative, such as TeacherTube, SchoolTube, or Edublogs TV). Social media sites like YouTube are today’s creative canvas.


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