Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Making History Fun with "Alternate History Hub"

One of my favorite YouTube channels that I love to watch is Alternative History Hub.  Alternate History Hub features several videos that asks the FanFic writers in all of us "What if (insert historical event here) didn't happen?  What if events in certain movies or video games (i.e. The Day After Tomorrow or Fallout 4) actually happened?  What if certain people in history or groups of people didn't exist?  What would our world look like today?"

Of course, we can't travel back in time and change what has happened.  The past is the past.  But it's fun to ponder about our world today and think about the what could have happened and how our world would appear and feel much different from what we are experiencing now.

I believe this channel is great for educators.  It presents history in a fun way with humorous and simple stick figure animations, along with a few stock photos and pictures here and there, and the narrator has lots of funny quips he inserts while narrating the videos.  What's also great about these videos is it allows the viewers to think about and reflect on what has happened in the past as well as how important events or major figures in society can quickly change our world with the impact lasting decades or even hundreds of years.

What I believe is missing in most social studies and history classes is the "why" element.  Why are we learning this?  What's the point of learning about history?  Watching this channel more than makes up for the the "purpose" missing in most history classes.  It presents a lot of background information on certain historical events and then proceeds to show its audience how these events majorly changed the course of history, but then it also presents "alternate" what-if scenario alongside it, providing a "non-example" of the historical occurrence presented.  In turn, the videos helps its audience see why we should pay attention to history and how events in our present time could impact us for several generations to come.

In addition to showing videos to the class, teachers can assign students their own "Alternate History" projects.  Having students write about an alternate history scenario or having them create their own video about what they would think history would be like with or without a certain event occurring would be a fun way to have them reflect on history, investigate the effects of people and events in the past, and harness their creative side at the same time.

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