The Classroom Unconference in #HIST2809

Yesterday, I decided that I would turn this morning's lecture in HIST2809a, The Historian's Craft (Carleton University) into an unconference. The rationale and plan for that may be found here: I started with a Flashmob

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  1. The point of this clip was to suggest that historians, when they work together in novel ways - emergent ways, even - can have an impact far outside of academe. When musicians play in the concert hall, they are playing to a well-informed, self-selected audience. By infiltrating the public space this way, they reach and enrich far more people. An unconference, I said, can be a bit like that. Especially if we're using social media in tandem. And so, I encouraged everyone to use #hist2809 throughout the class.
  2. So I began by soliciting ideas about what we wanted to talk about. Then a show of hands to decide what would go on the schedule. In good Detritus-like fashion, I tallied by rough categorization: 1, 2, many, lots:
  3. And we built a schedule.
  4. It's a big lecture hall. We just used the four corners as our breakout spaces. Sorry for the blurry photos; my hands shake. Session 1: military history, historical fiction & movies; good websites for history tools; video games. Session 2: history in museums; history as propaganda; forgeries; urban history as folk history. And so, we were off:
  5. I invited the wider world to comment on and participate. At points, I would stop everything and draw attention to the big screen at the front of the room, where Twitter rolled on inexorably...
  6. Thank you Kaitlin! Full disclosure: Kaitlin was a TA for me in an earlier iteration of HIST2809.
  7. I would wander between the different groups, offering suggestions, riffing on what was being discussed, suggesting things for the students to look into.