Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blogs in the AP Classroom

Being a new AP Government teacher this upcoming school year, I have been looking for different ways to teach the ever evolving subject of politics to my students. The expectations I have for my AP students is very different from my comprehensive students. I expect my students to complete assignments and tasks that we might normally complete in class on their own. Regardless of ownership of computers students are expected to type all assignments, as well as have access our class website which will include web based assignments and tasks.

I think blogs be an added feature to bring real-time current events, issues, and opinions to the classroom. Blogs about politics are everywhere! Most 2008 Presidential candidates (Obama, Clinton, Brownback) have a blog that details the life that happens on their campaign. In addition to the individual candidates each having their own blogs, there are other Americans - some qualified and some not that have their own take on the current candidates for President. This is a way for students to learn how to evaluate information, and decide what is truthful and what is not. The Washington Post seemed to have a great example of all different blogs that had to do with the 2008 election. In this instance I could see using these different blogs to help students get an understanding of the issues and the different sides that not only the candidates are on, but the American people.

Not only can you use these individual blogs but I liked what another teacher of AP Government & Politics had done in respect to using a class blog to comment on their thoughts, ideas, opinions about the different blogs or articles they had read. Being AP students it is acceptable to expect them to do this out of class assignment. Obviously with high school students it would be necessary to set out expectations, rules, and etiquette in using the blog. I think the use of blogs in the classroom will be more widely used with time as teachers, and those that design the curriculum see the power and connections that they can help create.

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