Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Happens When You Awaken a Sense of Civic Engagement in Students?

What happens when you awaken a sense of civic engagement in students? When a teacher gives a call to action across a network of empowered , empassioned and engaged colleagues? They have a party!
The Invitation

“2012 should be the year we leverage politics to teach media literacy & critical thinking in the classroom”

Students began diving deeply into learning about media bias, campaign techniques and thinking deeply about what they themselves believe.  Read Mike Kaechele, facilitator at Kent Innovation High's, blog post detailing "What My Student's Believe About Politics"

Students began to formulate their party platforms and even to discuss them at home.

Middle School students at APEX in Indiana  rocked the vote by registering high schools students and assisting with voter registration at a local community center.

Ypsilanti New Tech students got involved in an issue that deeply affects them, district consolidation, and presented their findings to the school board.

Students across the country have been tweeting together every debate, with several schools hosting debate parties. After learning all day at school, then going to various practices, rehearsals or work, students met back at the school to watch & tweet the debates with their classmates and teachers.

Warren New Tech High Students
Insights from the students debate watching
See complete 1st Debate archive here
See complete VP debate tweet archive here
See complete 2nd debate archive here

The students were APPALLED by the lack of civility in these debates, definitely a big take-away !

After much critical thinking surrounding the debates, students began to prepare their own stump speeches and got busy story boarding and filming their commercials. Read more about that process in this article from mLive

Each of the schools involved had students select the best campaign commercials and platforms and submit them to this playlist.

On October 29th from 10am to 11am EST students will be tweeting @BarackObama and @MittRomney with their concerns, issues and/or support.

On November 2nd at noon EST the top 5 student candidates will debate via a Google+ Hangout so that students everywhere can evaluate the debate along with the commercials & platforms of each of these groups before final voting across the network begins.

We will also be voting via a poll inside Echo on actual Election Day for President of the United States! It should be very exciting to watch those votes roll in live.

Three of the many great joys of this project have been watching teachers across the country collaborate via Echo,  Skype & Twitter, watching students investigating, evaluating and communicating on issues about which they are passionate and anticipating how these connections will continubeyond the scope of this project.

These stories are just a small part of the bridges being built by teachers & students during this project, I can't wait to see what these amazing, engaged, fearless educators and students do next! 

Photo from @jschackow


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