“It was like watching a movie, but it was going on for a month,” says Jennifer Klein, World Civilizations teacher at the Open High School of Utah, an online charter school.
Welcome to the latest iteration of Twitter in education. Using TwHistory, a group of 12 of Klein’s students researched historical documents, took on a historical character, and Tweeted their actions to create a month-long reenactment of the 1961 Freedom Rides this May.
TwHistory co-founder Marion Jensen told her school about the project when it was in its earliest stages, Klein says. And since the Utah Education Network, which had given a grant to TwHistory, was pushing for coverage of the Freedom Riders in celebration of the movement’s 50th anniversary and a new PBS documentary, Klein and her students opted to have a Freedom Ride going at the same time that the Freedom Rides took place. They started on May 4th and went continually until June 2nd.
Her students used Google docs to create the Tweets about their character – the group ended up with 10 total – and then merged them in a single document at the end of a month of research. Since it was an early TwHistory experiment, the twelve students involved had to apply to be a part of the project and take care of all of their work as an extracurricular activity. But that was hardly a deterrent. Continue reading