The Presidential Election is nearing a point where it will soon occupy most of our news media portals. Right now, we are on the precipice of the first African American presidential candidate announcing their candidate for Vice President. Following that will be a steamroll of activities (Democractic National Convention, then John McCain’s announcement of his VP, then the GOP Convention, and so on) that will be (if the candidates and news media alike have their ways) an endless chain of stories that culminates in the election of the next President of the United States.
Kids under the age of 18 may not be able to vote, but that doesn’t mean they can’t participate in the election. There are numerous online sites out there that provide activities to try to engage youth in the presidential election. I’m skeptical of the aims behind some of these sites that come from major media companies, as I am with most things that come innocuously packaged from media corporations (NBC’s olympic coverage has been the single, greatest branding exercise of any one event and period of time). That being said, I think that some of the election web portals for youth have a real opportunity to engage our children about the election as well as explore the ways media are used to wage presidential campaigns.
They have launched an interactive presidential election hub that invites both educators and youth to discuss, explore and critique the 2008 Election. I invite you to do the same. I particularly enjoyed the Create a Campaign Poster under Games and Quizzes, where students are asked to use images and text to convey a political message.
Now that’s right up our alley…