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I just tweeted @FlorenceNightingale

I have to admit that I’ve been skeptical about using Twitter for students. I know all of the research is saying to make use of the social media services that they’re already using if you want to reach them and have good student participation but I've been hesitant to try Twitter.

Well I found out about one project that actually seems to work well!  Twitter sites have been set up for historical figures and characters. You can have your students follow people like William Shakespeare, Florence Nightingale, Benjamin Franklin or King Henry VIII, sites that are already in place. You can also set up your own historical figure on Twitter. (See how to be a historical figure on Twitter.)

Ben Franklin & Friends, pre-Twitter era (iClipart)
Ben Franklin & Friends, pre-Twitter era (iClipart)

The idea of having the students tweet questions and comments to @KingArthur would probably not find favor with the Society for Creative Anachronism, but why not? I can see where the students could become fully engaged in tweeting @BenFranklin (after he’s had a few beers and would be in a happy mood of course). Setting up a Twitter account like this could have uses in several disciplines other than history. As a French instructor, I can certainly see the value in setting these up for famous writers and historical figures we were studying, and then having the students tweet en français.

Remember the party game of explaining your “Last Supper” list of people with whom you’d like to share a meal once you get to heaven? Well, here’s a way to converse with your dream list via Twitter! Let’s see, I need to look for a Twitter account for @BobMarley, @CocoChanel, @ElinorofAquitaine, @LéopoldSédarSenghor and @MahatmaGandhi for starters. Who’s on your dream list? Happy Tweeting!

P.S.  Check out this blog post (where I read about this topic) for more ways to promote creative learning:

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