YouTube-CNN Debates


Sometimes I really wish I didn’t teach science. Whenever election season draws near I start thinking, “Hmm….it would be really cool to teach social studies.” Perhaps it is because I was once a staffer in the California State Assembly or perhaps it is because I can see all of the potential uses of technology as a history teacher, but right now I would love to be teaching kids all about the election process.

I heard about the CNN-YouTube debate connection a few days ago on the radio and I thought, “What a great idea!” Hook your kids into the Presidential election by creating a way for them to potentially become part of the process through a medium which they enjoy. Depending on the age level of the class, I can easily imagine having an entire class or groups of students prepare and video tape questions for Presidential candidates. These students would then have an immediate incentive to tune into the debates and might find themselves learning something in the process. I also love the idea of rebroadcasting some key components of each debate using the YouTube clips that are posted the next day. What a great way to start in class discussions on a current event!

Last year (before the site was blocked) I showed a few science-related YouTube video clips to my students. Immediately they were hook and suddenly my coolness factor jumped simply because I was using YouTube in the classroom. The clip we watched about sublimation was not the most exciting topic, but my students were glued to the screen for those few moments all because they were being educated through a technology with which they were quite familiar. Come to find out most of them were already YouTubers and had been posting their own videos for about a year.

Just imagine the impact you would make if your students’ question had led to a video clip like the one above? The Republican Debate is September 17th….



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