Posts Tagged 'election'

Wikis, webcams and other Web 2.0 tools for teaching about the 2008 Election

On September 17, 2008 I attended an excellent event at Lesley University entitled “See How They Run: Teaching the 2008 election to growing voters.”  One of the goals of the presenters was to engender in young people a sense of civic responsibility by engaging them in the political process rather then having them just be bystanders. The first speaker children’s book author, Susan E. Johnson, read excerpts and provided details about her book See How they run: Campaign dreams, election schemes, and the race to the White House (2008).  The text is engaging by being both informative and humorous, and the illustrations are sure to capture young students.  The author takes complex concepts like the electoral college and presents them in simple yet truthful ways.  The honesty in the text is refreshing, and it is presented from the beginning to the end.  For example, the first line of the introduction states, “We put our Founding Fathers on pedestals and think they were perfect.  But they weren’t.”

The second presenter was Associate Professor Jo-Anne Hart who discussed and showed excerpts from her curriculum enttitled “Growing Voters 2008: Classroom Teaching Materials Grades 1-12.” She highlighted a number of open-ended lessons that can help to increase students’ knowledge and keep students engaged the political process.  She noted that far too many high school students do not have a basic knowledge of politics.  She referred to research that people who are non-voters at a young age tend to remain non-voters.  Political apathy once established persists.  The Growing Voters curricular  materials are free on the website as are all the web-based applications that will help to motivate students. Prof. Hart previously vetted a number of websites that are easy to learn and use.  Some of these include creating a wiki, online surveys, online photo slide shows, blogs, video editing and storage.

The entire event sponsored by the Alumni Association was also an excellent venue for connecting with other educators and exchanging ideas.  I found the event a welcome change from just learning on the web.  There are some things that cannot substitute for face-to-face encounters.  Hurray for them.


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