I am one of those cranky people who see new social technologies like Twitter and MySpace and ask “Why do I want to tell this stuff to strangers?” or “Why should I care what some guy in Denver is doing Friday night?
But I am intrigued by the FICTIONAL incarnations of these tools where people assume virtual identities based on know historical or fictional figures and then do their blogs, Twitter and MySpace profiles.
Many classes like history and business have latched on to role play, but these technologies take it to a whole new level. Man
Thus far my favorite examples have been:
- Second Life Gold Rush Game – Why shop in a virtual world when you can earn money in 1849 California? A real simulation from a real course.
- Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog – Both a way to practice “modern” Middle English (with French & Latin phrases) and a comparison of 14th century vs 21st century living.
- Thomas Jefferson on MySpace – Read the blog and visit his friends. A surprising number of our Founding Fathers have discovered MySpace.
- Darth Vader Twitter – Not terribly educational, but definitely offers the purest essence of Twitterdom. But seriously, would Marc Anthony’s Twitter look any different?
Silliness aside, there is a chance here for students to explore the messiness of politics and daily life from previous generations in a way that makes it more real. Thomas Paine had his pamphlets, but I’m pretty sure he’d be a prolific blogger today.