PBS has been at the forefront of election and campaign coverage striving to provide ‘unfiltered access’ to both the workings of government and its representatives. In an age where partisan politics and analysis have infiltrated television, which tends to pass itself off as ‘the truth’, having a station dedicated to providing a balanced perspective is important. This PBS webpage provides teachers with lesson plans on elections, the political process, and voting (all of which are important topics to be covered in the Social Studies as the election approaches). Streaming video, images, historical documents are just some of the artifacts students examine when using these PBS lessons.
My favorite lessons include:
1. How does the economy effect the election
-With the crisis on Wall Street impacting Main Street this lesson takes a historical look of the relationship between economics and voting. In fact, many new commentators and politicians have called the economy “Issue Number 1” in this year’s election (Over such issues as health care, armed conflicts abroad, and social conservative issues). Do voters have more in common than the media portrays?
2. The 2008 Election: Technology and the Internet
-Yes, it’s true, both Barrack Obama and John McCain our seizing the potential of social network sites such as Myspace and Youtube. Both of the candidates are using technology (the internet) to get their messages across to voters. This website asks how does the use of these technologies both hinder and help the election process. For those of you that know Neil Postman (See his work Technopoloy), his view of technology promoting information glut, spectatorship, and appeasing corporate agendas would be a great point of reference.