Activity - Using Twitter in the classroom: Who am I?

Aim

To investigate key characters from history through using a micro-blogging tool to document activities and events from their lives based on primary source material.

Background

From Research skills:

Students can also find out about key Victorian historical figures using the broad range of resources in the Explore History section of this site.

What you'll need

A ‘class set’ of usernames and passwords for a micro-blogging site such as Twitter. We would suggest using generic names like historymystery1, historymystery2 etc and keep a record of all logons and passwords in an Excel spreadsheet.

Digitised primary source material related to your chosen period of history

Method

  1. Introduce students to primary source material on your chosen topic. Talk about the range or resources available online including letters, journals, manuscripts, postcards, equipment lists etc.
  2. Explain that the students will be creating a History Mystery - a ‘Who Am I?’ game using a character from history.
  3. Ask students to select a character for their History Mystery and make notes about key events and activities in their lives. As a starting point, you could suggest they collect general information eg. date and place of birth, parents, arrival in Australia (if applicable).
  4. Once students have recorded some information about their character, ask them to order the events in chronological order.
  5. Distribute logon details to each student for the class set of micro-blogging accounts that you have put together. Make a note of which student is using which account
  6. If this is your first time running this activity, you need each user to follow other users in the class. Decide if you would like students to follow each other in groups (eg. in groups of six, each student follows only the other five people in their group) or open the activity up to the whole class.
  7. Depending on how much students know about the characters each other have chosen, you may need to put a list characters on the board so students know who mystery characters could be.
  8. Ask students to use information about their character to post tweets in the first person, as if they were their character.
  9. Ask students to read other students tweets and try to work out the identity of other students' mystery characters. You could run this activity as a competition – who can be the first to identify a History Mystery character?