When you think about it, this election will look (or should) like no other in the classroom.
We can study it differently. We can engage our learners in new ways. We can poll. We can push. We can blog. We can comment. We can explore a wider array of perspectives. We can share our ideas, our concerns, and our questions in media of all sorts in environments as private or as public as we choose.
As librarians, another thing we can do, is to gather, organize, and share content and to share and implement the best cutting edge instructional ideas.
I know the tool my teachers and students are likely to need most immediately in the next few weeks is an Election pathfinder. And I was hoping some of you might help me pull it together.
I’ve tried to gather together the major portals, news sources, polls, convention information, blog portals, media, and education-specific resources.
- Kids Voting USA offers a variety of critical thinking activities to encourage civic participation.
- Linda Joseph’s CyberBee Election Lessons cover campaign advertising, the election process, candidates, trivia, history, and more.
- Google for Educators presents an iGoogle Election Video Search gadget.
- PBS offers both elementary and secondary lesson plans.
Allow me also to highlight another area of the resources in this baby wiki with which I’ve had some personal involvement.
In the for the classroom area, you’ll notice the new site: Access, Analyze and Act: Blueprint for 21st Century Civic Engagement, a collaboration between PBS Teachers and the Media Education Lab at Temple University. I was asked to narrate the project and was honored to serve as edtech consultant for the videos.
The rich resources on the site
- Ask Your Lawmaker: This tool allows user to pose questions to specific legislators and vote on other users’ questions. Capitol News Connection journalists will track down the lawmakers, pose the most popular and best questions, and post the answers on the Web site.
- Ballotvox: This site features user generated audio, video and commentary related to the elections. It’s a great resource for finding out what the public thinks about the issues and candidates.
- Budget Hero: This engaging and journalistically sound game encourages players to think through the complexities and challenges of the federal budget and the major policy issues of the 2008 election. Can your students be Budget Heroes by staying true to their values while creating a sustainable government?
Campaign Audio: This module includes a collection of audio clips from public radio stations across the country. The clips are organized by topic and theme to make them easily searchable.
- Get My Vote: This site invites user-generated audio, video and/or text commentaries regarding personal political convictions and what it will take for candidates to earn users’ votes. Users can rate, review and discuss other people’s submissions. National Public Radio and its public broadcasting partners will use selected commentaries on air. (Individual video and audio clips on this site have public embed codes.)
- Idea Generators: These tools give citizens a method for collectively identifying critical issues and sharing possible ways of addressing them. They provide extensive background information on the issues in addition to soliciting public opinions.
Interactive Map: This map enables users to track primary and caucus results, read analysis from the NewsHour and National Public Radio, and get information on upcoming contests. With the You Predict game, students can make predictions about which candidate will win the most electoral votes in particular states and the general election.
Select a Candidate: This survey tool shows which candidates are most aligned with a user’s views and opinions regarding critical campaign issues.
- Vote by Issue Quiz: This quiz allows users to find out how their views line up with those of the candidates. The quiz is based on direct quotes from the candidates themselves.
You Decide: This online devil’s advocate activity fosters critical thinking about issues of national debate. The tool is designed to expose users’ to several sides of critical campaign issues. After considering various perspectives, users cast a vote.
In the next few months we can deliver standards and create authentic learning that really rocks!
Wiki design note: I am still working on using Sproutbuilder to the home page for this one. It should get prettier as I get better.