College professor ‘1492s’
new method for teaching history
UCLA instructor translates important dates into text message shorthand. The idea has 1903'd with students, but faculty are 1054.
By Juan R. Cabrillo, Staff Writer
Hoping to reach today's text-message-obsessed youth, a UCLA teacher has 1492'd a new gimmick to help students memorize key dates in history.

"Kids are always looking for texting shortcuts, like 'LOL' instead of 'laughing out loud,' " said professor William Lombardi. "So I converted historic dates into a new language for text messages."

"After Jenny 1776'd with Todd, he 1789'd and then 1812'd her." Translation: "After Jenny broke up with Todd (1776 is the year America "broke up" with England), he lost his head (like Marie Antoinette in 1789), and went into stalker mode on her (in 1812 Britain tried to win back the colonies and burned down the White House)."

Another example: "Dude, don't go into the men's restroom. Somebody 8/6/45'd in there," a reference to the first atomic bomb being detonated.

Lombardi's tech-friendly lessons have taken flight (or 1903'd, the year Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully went airborne) with students.

"This class is 1848," said sophomore Lucy Chambers, using the date of California's Gold Rush as shorthand for "pure gold."

However, UCLA faculty are 1054 (the year of the Great Schism) on the method.

Lombardi said he 1492'd (as in the year Columbus "discovered" the New World) his approach through trial and error. "I originally tried using historic names as verbs," he said. "For example, 'Sheila's creepy neighbor Julius-and-Ethel-Rosenberged her in the shower' instead of 'Sheila's neighbor spied on her in the shower.' But students 11/22/63'd that idea."

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