Last week, I went to my local polling place and participated in the democracy that we call the United States of America Mid-Term Elections, and now I wait with eager anticipation for the results on Tuesday. While I love the feeling of voting, it is with every election season that we are bombarded by a litany of advertisements. Over the past several elections, the attack ads and general negativity seems to get worse and worse. In North Carolina, it has been estimated that in the race for U.S. Senator over $100 Million has been spent on advertising alone. I wonder what impact that money could have had if it had been spent on something a little more worthwhile like education. According to CNN, one 8 year old admonished Senate Candidates in North Carolina to be nice. With election day nearly upon us, I wanted to take today's blog post to share some Election Day Internet Resources.
However, should not limit yourself to just ONE resource. Why not try to compare the findings with resources from the Tampa Bay Times' politifact.com and the FactChecker from Washington Post.
LIVING ROOM CANDIDATE
While this is not a Presidential Election year, by far my favorite election related resources comes from the Museum of the Moving Image and is called THE LIVING ROOM CANDIDATE. This site offers a collection of Presidential Campaign Commercials from 1952-2012. The site presents not only presents the commercial, but provides and explanation and historical context. In addition, the site also has a collection of lesson plans in the FOR TEACHERS section including What Makes An Effective Ad, Developing Critical Analysis, and Playing On Emotions.
REMIX A POLITICAL AD WITH AD MAKER
While this is a great content resource, I think that the really interesting part is the AdMaker. Here you and your students can re-edit a commercial from a presidential campaign or create a new one using historical footage. The site features a web based video editing interface complete with historical video, audio, and images. I think that it is exactly this type of tool that can help students develop a much better understanding or the power of the advertising to manipulate and aid them in becoming more critical consumers of the information that they encounter.
"If we don't have an informed electorate, we don't have a democracy." - Jim Lehrer