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Teaching History to a Digital Generation

By       Message Allan Goldstein     Permalink
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Comment from Kepler3: "WTG, Izzie. Always knew you had it in you."

Comment from Leibniz: "Makes perfect sense, Newton. Who'd you steal that idea off of?"

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Reply from Newton: "Don't be hatin, Gottfried."

Reply from Leibniz: "You're a Nazi."

Creative translation can put any historical subject in a context the digital generation will understand.

The French Revolution as the clash of enlightenment with the divine right of kings? Uber boring. Tell them that The French Revolution was history's first flash mob. That they'll get. If you want to explain the guillotine, ROFL should work.

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Our children understand modern entrepreneurship; it built their virtual world. We can teach them that it was no different in classical times. Papyrusbook, ancient Rome's social network, was financed by advertising for Sicilian Pharmacies, where you could buy Fenugreek without a prescription.

It is important for the digital generation to know they're not the first to use slang to convey information in code. It started thousands of years ago, as this inscription found in Pompeii attests.

"I luv Clytemnestra and I want II have VI with her."

If the kids ask you what Pompeii was, look sad and flush the toilet.

With human history now glowing on the screens of the digital kids, we can take them further back, into the mists of the before time, when the very first texts appeared.

Yes, children, before there were modern humans, there were Neanderthals. They looked like extras from the Planet of the Apes. We have found some of their texts on cave walls in France.

"Gr8 eats @ Og's Mastodon rave tonight:-)"

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And, tragically, just before they disappeared forever:

"Wassup with all these skinny n00bs?"

Once we've passed on our cultural heritage to the digital generation, we must insure they don't contract baby boomer's disease--terminal smugness. If your students get to acting all superior, remind them how ignorant and deprived they'll look to future generations, who'll be horrified they had to cope with organic heads, before Apple came out with the iBrain.

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San Francisco based columnist, author, gym rat and novelist. My book, "The Confessions of a Catnip Junkie" is the best memoir ever written by a cat. Available on, or wherever fine literature is sold with no sales tax collected. For (more...)

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