I blogged earlier about using Twitter in my Intro to Middle Eastern Studies course. I have to say it’s been really exciting to be using this as a teaching tool for a course focused on the Middle East at the same time that revolutions in the Middle East are being pushed forward using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Last night I was working on my computer and noticed a tweet with the hashtags #feb17 and #libya. It wasn’t yet the 17th of February, but anti-Gaddafi protests were already breaking out in Libya, two days early. It was exciting to see a revolution breaking out as I watched — kind of! Now I can’t get work done if I leave my Twitter notifications open with a search for #Feb17 — there are notifications about every couple of seconds.
I told my MESA 201 students to record any first-hand accounts they are hearing about these revolutions. Some of them have friends in Cairo who provided them with first-hand information during the Tahrir Square uprisings. In 1993 I taught English in Prague, Czech Republic. One of my students took me on a walking tour of the areas where the Velvet Revolution protests occurred only two years earlier. He had been one of the thousands of students who marched and brought about this peaceful revolution. I now really wish I’d recorded his words — so neat to have had that inside perspective, but by not recording it, I’ve lost most of the details.