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Electoral politics, media literacy go hand-in-hand in the classroom

With less than a month until we vote, what are educators doing to teach about the election? (Hopefully not leading students in chanting a candidate’s name, as one Missouri teacher did recently).

An article in EdWeek highlights innovative ways some teachers are using the internet to get students thinking critically about the election:

Armed with laptop computers, the students monitor and analyze video footage of the candidates on the campaign trail and in debates. Using text-mapping tools, they can scrutinize the rhetoric in candidates’ speeches and interviews, and document their positions on various issues.

When discussions about the election have gotten heated, or taken too much class time, students have continued to debate the issues or share information in an online discussion group the teacher set up or in their own blogs.

As the Nov. 4 election approaches, Mr. Sherif’s students will continue blogging about the issues, and start creating their own campaign ads that promote the candidates’ platforms.

A sidebar lists online resources that teachers can use to help students learn about the candidates, the issues, the electoral process, and elections throughout history — and get a healthy dose of media literacy in the process. They range from The Living Room Candidate, a collection of televised campaign ads going back to 1952, to the Presidential Election Wiki, a collection of resources for teaching about the election, to eLECTIONS, an online game simulating the challenges candidates encounter when campaigning.

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