Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant: via my feed subscription to Jane’s e-learning pick of the day, I just came across We Choose The Moon – http://www.wechoosethemoon.org, a real-time recreation of the Apollo 11 moon landings.
Twitter feeds are also available…
This ability to follow along replays of historical events in relative real time (realitive [re/al/i/tive ?] time;-) provides a degree of authenticity that makes the event ‘real’. So is technology enabled real-time replay being used in education at all (other than in hugely expensive simulation training environments?).
Although I rarely play online games, there is one I keep coming back to – Sharkrunners which allows you to go on a scientific mission in search of sharks…
And whilst I don’t read many history books, I’ve often thought that replays of things like Harry Lamin’s letters from the Wordl War 1 trenches were ideal for either real-time, or daily feed replays. ( A quick trawl will probably pull up several other replays of letters from the trenches.)
Then again, Peter Watkins’ black and white “documentary” of the battle of Culloden is pretty much the only thing I remember from that period of time in my school History lessons! Maybe it’s the apparent authenticity of the medium that’s what engages me?;-)
Which is maybe why I like this Google Earth recreation of the Hudson bay plane crash so much:-)
Replays from the diarists also hit the blogsophere from time to time: Pepys diary for example. (I’m not sure if there’s a real-time/relative time replayable version of Anne Frank’s diary online somewhere?)
If I didn’t have way too much to do already, or if I had “independent means”, I think I’d be tempted to try to put together a “relative realtime re-player”, maybe chasing someone like 4iP for the funds (though we’re still chasing them for something else…), or trying to do a deal with various news archives…
Hmm, now there’s a thought – maybe the news media could extract a bit of value from their archives by allowing people to replay historical events in real time? How far back does the Guardian API search I wonder? Certainly, I think Google news has a historical news search… I’d be quite tempted to follow the “Operation Julie” trial from the 1970s in relative real time, I think, rather than just reading a book about it, for example.
There are several things that I think can add to the feeling of authenticity by replaying content in this way:
1) the chunk size – the material is chunked at a human scale; lots of us write (or at least read) 500 word articles, watch 30 minute programmes etc in one sitting; but we don’t tend to read a book in one go, or watch a 20 DVD hour box set on one go;
2) the delivery schedule follows a human time scale – it becomes real to us as the event play out on a human timescale, and one that we are comfortable with;
3) the replayed material is authentic, and was generated at the time of the actual events;
4) the opportunity to look back to future at events as they unfold in relative realtime, but with the added advantage of hindsight.
Are there any history educators out there already teaching in this way, I wonder?
Oh for more time to think about this sort of realitivity, but ‘real work’ beckons :-(