At a meeting I attended on Monday I was introduced to Robert Thompson, Secretary and Treasurer of a cool outfit called Operation Dialogue. Operation Dialogue seeks to “inspire and capture a lively and passionate dialogue among Canadians about what it is to be “Canadian.”
Their most interesting project? An online quiz on Canadian history. Anyone in high school who answers all 50 questions correctly is entered into a draw for numerous college scholarships (paid directly to the university). The best part? The site actively encourages “cheating” insofar as students are prompted – through hyperlinks – to research the correct answers. Indeed this is the whole point, to get kids to read about, look into and learn about the different aspects of Canadian history.
As a student of history, I’m a fan.
My humble suggestion, which Robert took to heart, was to hold a secondary contest with a small scholarship, that would reward the student who designed the coolest question – including links to resources and historical references – for the following year’s quiz. I mean, if you want kids to be turned on by history, why not have them help write it? Who is better positioned to know the history their peers will be most into? It felt like an easy way to make the quiz both more attractive and so help better satsify the organization’s mission.
I say make’em active historians, rather than just passive consumers. That’s what the net should be about.