Engaging Twitter On American History

For the last two years, dear ol’ Eduflack has committed much of his professional life to improving the teaching and learning of American history. This started by leading a national research initiative that highlighted the dire need to boost American history knowledge in the United States.

We found that fewer than four in 10 Americans could pass a basic history quiz based on questions from the practice exams for the U.S. citizenship test. We followed it up with a 50-State survey using the same questions, resulting in only one state out of the 50 (plus DC) scoring higher than 50 percent.

Such surveys occur all the time. Working with ASPR, we were able to generate hundreds of news stories across the nation to spotlight the issue. For months and months, newspapers, opinion columnists, radio hosts, and the like have reported on these findings and the need to dramatically improve how we teach U.S. history.

We know, though, that social media is king. In addition to working with the mainstream media, we invested major effort into using Twitter to share this information with those who needed it most. Through a twitter push, nearly half a million Americans took the survey as an online quiz. And millions of voices on Twitter have kept the conversation going, ensuring that this important discussion was not a “one-day” story.

The reaction from media, social media, and the public at large is one of reasons Eduflack has decided to launch a major national initiative to provide interesting, relevant American history video content, lesson plans, and professional development to current classroom teachers. This new effort will officially begin this summer.

But I am incredibly humbled to receive the 2020 Social Media Award for having the most engaged Twitter followers compared to other public engagement campaigns.

Thanks to all who helped make this possible, including Adam Shapiro, Stacey Finkel, Dorie Nolt, and Frances Hannah. The award itself is nice, but more importantly, it signifies how important an issue improving American history education is and how we can use social media, including YouTube, to begin to tackle it.

The Edu-Pundit is Back!

At the end of 2010, Eduflack unveiled his first attempt at both video and intentional humor with the release of I Wanna Be an Edu-Pundit.  The YouTube video chronicles a business “leader” who decides he just has to jump into the education game as a pundit and advocate.

This week, we offer up part two of the video series, Edu-Pundit’s TV Debut.  In his public coming out as a bona fide “pundit,” our hero offers up his own idea for education reform — the Selective K-12 Movement.
What happens next?  It all depends on whether people watch part two or not.  Stay tuned …

I Wanna Be An Edu-Pundit, The Video

A few months ago, one of Eduflack’s college buddies, David Kazzie, hit the viral big time when he launched an online video entitled So You Want to Go to Law School.  Kazzie was one of the hardest-working sports writers I knew at The Cavalier Daily, and although he turned to the dark side by getting a law degree, it was terrific to see those writing skills finally put to use with an incredibly funny series of videos on all that is wrong with the law profession.

So it all got me thinking.  It seems the education space could use a few videos that poke fun at our own industry.  And while I am hardly the dialogue writer that Kazzie is, I decided to pick up my electronic pen and write, I Wanna Be an Edu-Pundit.  I Wanna Be offers a tongue-in-cheek look at some of those “experts” in the education space, and what happens when someone wakes up one morning thinking they should opine on education policy and practice.
The full video can be found here on YouTube.
Depending on the response I get from folks, I’m hoping to make this a semi-regular activity for the first few months in 2011.  There are just some things that can best be said through the computerized voices of animated talking heads.
So consider this my little holiday gift to you.  Please watch, and please get other people to watch.  Together, we can at least get more people to watch this video than watch a typical U.S. Department of Education YouTube post!