Best History Class Ever

January 21, 2011

I hated history class when I was a kid.

It was all timelines and dead people.  I don’t remember it ever being interesting.

The irony is, history has turned out what I love studying the most as an adult.  Not so much the timelines, but the dead people do interest me.

Most people think learning history has to be crusty and dull.  History Channel doesn’t really count, because half the time, it’s more like History (and by that we mean “baseless conjecture about aliens and freemasons”) Channel.  History Channel, do you mean to tell me President Washington had a secret ring of people tasked with spying on his enemies?  Dear God, I never thought the government would ever have the need to gather information about our enemies.  I am reeling from this revelation, History Channel.

But, a couple of weeks ago, my blog buddy, Kyle Reed (who can help you out big time if your blog needs tuning up), posted this video that proves that history doesn’t need to be dull, or absurd hearsay.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  It’s got lots of colorful moving dots, and a guy named Hans who can’t help but sound smart.  And you’ll be hard pressed to be a pessimist about the future after you watch it.

Pretty sweet, huh?  Makes you wish you had him for your history class.  He’s pretty optimistic that everyone can become healthy and wealthy.  Do you think it’s possible?

20 responses to Best History Class Ever

  1. what an interesting video. I wonder how he did that graph like that with all the circles.
    Karen and Gerard recently posted..6 Things We Learned in Week 3 of 2011 candy- email- happy- news

  2. Great to watch this again … love it! When I first saw it a few weeks ago, I had to show it to my high-school and college sons because I knew they’d be intrigued by the visual and the information. It gave them hope for a their future.

    I’d rather think about the future than the past (though I know we can learn a lot from the past) … I don’t long for the ‘good old days’ because I don’t think they were really that good. Plus we can’t go back, we only have today and the future.

    I’m an optimist, so yes I think tomorrow will be better than today!
    Janet Oberholtzer recently posted..Thankful Thursday – Post 10

  3. I had a Medieval Studies class in college where the instructor chose not teach history in chronological order. We jumped around all over the place. And the tests were terrible. One of the questions was “What was Charlemagne’s favorite food?” Like that matters! The guy in the video–much better. By the way–his favorite food was roast beef (according to the instructor).
    seekingpastor recently posted..A Dream to Be Thankful For

  4. Cool stuff! I’m a college history teacher, so I love the video. You’re right about my field though, so many boring blowhards. It’s like historians got together decades ago and discussed how they could make the max amount of people hate history. We have a blast. I’ll be showing this clip somewhere for sure.
    eduClaytion recently posted..FFF- The Greatest Golf Movie Ever

  5. prrrretty neat!
    What I learned in my college history class: A LOT IS TWO WORDS. Yep. That’s it. My professor wrote A on one side of the room and LOT on the other. Message received, and remembered. but that’s it.
    This video, on the other hand, is fantastic!
    Do you think he’ll ever be on the history channel?

  6. My high school US history teacher came in every morning with his cup of coffee, started the projector, and went back to sleep while we watched yet another “educational” movie about our country. Is it any wonder I majored in something completely different? Now, as a former teacher myself, I think it should be a criminal offense to make any subject boring. Anything God has His fingers in should be fascinating!

  7. My mother was a history teacher, who later became a poly-sci professor (read that Communist) at an Ivy League University. Because I was such a poor student (attitude), she had to find creative ways to help me learn everything. She bought me magazines about all my favorite stuff, but when it came to history, she took me there: Boston Freedom Trail, Saratoga, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Philadelphia and lots more. She took me to art museums in a number of major cities, and taught me to touch history. She would have taken me to Rome and Athens if should could have.

    My favorite history class was with Bill Marks in high school. He did vignettes of history and covered music, art, war, politics and invention – sometimes weather and health. Sure, we only got to a few historical periods, but I saw history as life, not as knowledge. He framed everything with what was, and related it to where we were in history. He had us picture ourselves rocking out to Beethoven just like we did with the Who when they came to town. He did one more important thing, he taught us to question history, and look at the original accounts. He would always ask, “How do you know that?” or “What’s the source?” And finally, what do you know about the author, “what’s his slant?”

    I love history, and I am teaching a class on church history in a few weeks. If Bill were in the class, he’d know my sources, and the writer’s slant.

    Love the video, but I don’t think we are going in the direction 100%. The knowledge and wisdom of man will have an end. The pursuit of technology has consumed us. In the US, we are too stressed, don’t exercise enough, work too much, and due to all these industrialized breakthroughs, we have almost lost the need for God to provide anything. What good is health and wealth without Jesus?
    David recently posted..5 1-2 How Do We Love

    • Well said. I wonder what would happen if he added man’s faith into the chart. As we increase in lifespan and income, does our faith, as nations, decrease?
      You have a very dedicated and creative mother. Treasure that. And an equally talented high school teacher. Lucky! I wish I could take your church history class. I do think it is instrumental in understanding the context of the Bible.

    • Well put. Nothing is infinite. Part of me wants to believe we can all move to that healthy, wealthy corner. We’ve done it despite the massive upheaval of the 20th century. But no one can predict the future.

  8. I used to wonder how people could be History Majors, but if all History professors were like this, I’d sign up.

    I think it is a good perspective– we so often focus on how things are worse than they “used to be”, but that’s so subjective sometimes. And it’s nice to have floaty bubbles to prove one’s point that things have actually gotten better. ; )

    I guess we are supposed to focus on what is lovely, and admirable and true (Phil. 4:8), instead of all the junk and what not, right?

  9. That was pretty cool. I also didn’t care fore history as a kid but love it as an adult. It is one of my selfish motives for homeschooling. I want to be like David’s mom and let my kids touch history, too.

    I think that the one assumption that is made is that health+wealth = happiness. With as much health and wealth in this country, even with the hard times we are in, as a nation, we have become a bunch of whiners. I see it in me and in my kids. I think the more we have, the more we feel entitled to have and the more discontented we become with what we have.

    A couple of other quotes I remember regarding statistics:
    “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics” (I am not sure of the actual author of the quote)
    “Torture numbers long enough and they will confess to anything” (A former coworker)

    So, yes, I have resisted the siren song of his version of the “prosperity gospel.” This doesn’t make me a pessimist, does it?

  10. I have seen this one on another blog, forget which one though. Pretty amazing stuff. I love history and wish more creative ways would be done to get more people into it, stuff like this should be done more often.
    Jason recently posted..“The Quotable Chesterton” by Kevin Belmonte

  11. I would also resize the video. It is spilling over into your sidebar. Just go into the coding and tweak the width into the 350 range.
    Jason recently posted..“The Quotable Chesterton” by Kevin Belmonte

  12. this video was really cool. saw it for the first time this weekend. wow…
    jay sauser recently posted..…juan pablo…

  13. amazing – I love using statistics in geography class – this would be an amazing video to show at the beginning of the year to illustrate why geography is important – geography not being where things are, but why things are where they are and how they got there. I teach 7th grade, I know YIKES, I used to teach all Geography, but now teach 2 Language Arts blocks and 1 geography class…. sad but true most social studies and history classes are boring – mainly because we don’t make them relevant for kids (or adults) iit isn’t about when it happened it is the why it happened. Why did the dots move upward and to the right? Improvement in working conditions and efficiencies – less time for work, more time for leisure, more oversight in working conditions, etc…. you could spend an entire week (in class) talking about those dots and why they moved. Incredible.

  14. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing,
    great written and come with almost all important infos.
    I’d like to see more posts like this .
    how to get pregnant faster recently posted..how to get pregnant faster

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Tweets that mention Best History Class Ever | The Church of No People -- Topsy.com - January 21, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TMarie, Matt Appling. Matt Appling said: This will make you wish you could go back and take history class all over again. http://wp.me/pSZSu-qv […]