Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lady Gaga Makes a Great Marie Antoinette

Apropos of nothing and just out of the blue, I have to say I love these brilliant musical teaching aids on European history that I just came across.

If I were a high school history teacher, my New Year's Resolution would be to play them over and over until my students could sing them in their sleep. Please browse them; I particular like the ones on the Battle of Agincourt, Elizabeth I, and the Canterbury Tales.

Most of the videos are shorter than this one, but a major topic like the French Revolution needs a full five minutes:

New media and old history combine very well (my old school even has an academic center for that), despite grumbling from those who assume history has to be made dry and boring or else it won't give the kids a character-building experience.

When you consider how vivid and dramatic the personalities of European history really are - Joan of Arc, the Borgias, Henry VIII - the music video is exactly the right format for teaching the subject. Personally, I think Beowulf is actually improved when put to 99 Luftballons.

The new and old combine to make something unique and mutually beneficial, as Philip Larkin knew:

New eyes each year
Find old books here,
And new books, too,
Old eyes renew;
So youth and age
Like ink and page
In this house join,
Minting new coin.

No comments: