H.W. Brands is telling the American story through Twitter postsHistorians in the News
tags: education, Twitter
History professor Henry W. Brands is chronicling the history of the United States one tweet at a time.
Since joining the site in April 2009, Brands has posted over 1,000 tweets chronicling past historical events such as the Dred Scott Case of 1857, the battle of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the Watergate scandal of 1974. By compiling these 140-character haikus, Brands relates issues that people in these time periods faced to things students may be struggling with today.
“I want to spark their curiosity. Initially the main idea was to tell [students] interesting stories and get them to think about their place in the world,” Brands said. “UT is a fascinating place because there are people who are knowledgeable about all sorts of things. There is almost no topic of human curiosity that you can’t find something about.”
Brands was originally inspired to create his Twitter account when a student asked if he had ever written history as haikus. Intrigued at the possibility of such a condensed writing medium, he decided to begin tweeting out historic haikus. As Brands continued with his project, other educators began using haikus as teaching mechanisms with their students.
“There’s a high school teacher in Utah who every year has his students write out haikus, and [he] sends me the best ones,” Brands said. “I take great pleasure in reading them and seeing other students and teachers have fun with it. At least in that small universe it has caught on. It’s very interesting what they can come up with. People don’t realize that there is a poet within them.” ...
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