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Follow the 1847 pioneers on Twitter

Follow the 1847 pioneers on Twitter

By Mary Richards | Posted - Apr. 5, 2010 at 12:52 p.m.



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LOGAN -- There's a new way to learn about history - through Twitter. You can follow the 1847 pioneers as they head west and tweet about it, for the next four months.

Marion Jensen and a whole bunch of volunteers have turned into 19 Mormon pioneers. The Utah State University graduate student decided to take the diaries and letters of the 1847 vanguard company of pioneers and re-enact the events as tweets.

"You want to learn about the battle of Gettysburg (for example), you read about it in a couple of hours or watch the movie in a couple of hours. But this takes place in real time," Jensen explains.

For example, a journal entry may say, "10 p.m. arrived at the Platte River." Jensen says that night at 10 p.m. a tweet will go out about reaching the Platte River.

"You'll get 10 or 15 of these (tweets) during the day and get a sense of what's going on. But it's not like you need to sit down and read history for eight hours. You're getting it spread out over the course of four months," Jensen says.

He says the company left Nebraska on Monday, April 5, and this TWHistory will keep going until July 24, 1847 when Brigham Young reached the Salt Lake Valley.

Jensen is getting a doctorate in the Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences Department at USU. He and his fellow student Tom Caswell are working now on K-12 instructional materials. He envisions a day when students can learn more about history by creating it themselves on Twitter, like this project.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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