Educators have long struggled to modernize their teaching tactics to capture the attention of a digitally savvy generation. In Chile, a teacher used memes to explain the novel Cien años de soledad to her students. And now, it seems a textbook in Venezuela caught up on the trend.
In a tweet that went viral, a Venezuelan woman posted a photo of a fourth grade history textbook that showed a simulated MSN conversation between Simón Bolívar and Manuela Sáenz. The exchange began with Bolívar greeting Manuela with the word “Holap,” which has become a colloquial way of saying “Hola” for many millennials in Latin America, and Manuela replies accordingly. The graphic came accompanied by a prompt that asked students to rewrite an exchange between Simón and Manuela, whose love letters have become a part of the revolutionary history of Latin America, in the form of a chat.
The prompt even reimagined what Bolívar and Sáenz would be like if they were alive during the MSN era. Bolívar’s profile displays one of his famed quotes, like many teenagers did during the 1990s and 2000s. Sáenz, in turn, shares her status, saying, “Extrañando a mi querido Ecuador.”
We all know Simón Bolívar and Manuela Sáenz shared an impassioned love story. Sáenz was the mistress of the famed libertador and was also a dedicated revolutionary from Ecuador. Sáenz even attempted suicide when she learned of Bolívar’s death in 1830.
While the assignment is certainly creative, many took to Twitter to condemn the textbook for promoting incorrect use of language. Others implied that all Simón would have wanted today are nudes or for Sáenz to slide into his DMs. And yes, there were those who thought the book felt outdated because, honestly, MSN Messenger isn’t even a thing anymore. (WhatsApp, anyone?)
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the post.