Sunday, June 24, 2007

Social Studies by Cell Phone...

I am a bit of a "presidential 08" junkie. As I was reviewing the websites of many of the republican and democratic candidates, I discovered that most of them have "mobile" options! Students and/or classes can subscribe to mobile updates about different candidates, current polls, and other political news. For example on Barack Obama's site you can "join the movement" and Go Mobile! The mobile options seemed to be targeted at younger voters, high schoolers and college age students. Therefore I believe many assignments could come out of this "mobile" political movement. One idea is to ask students to subscribe to different campaigns in order to become more informed, and eventually hold a class debate (where students can represent different candidates). Obama's site (and I'm sure many others) have "hip" ringtones that students can download. Maybe a teacher will not mind a cell phone ringing if it is about endorsing a specific political candidate---a nice class discussion/debate, over why that ringtone was selected, could ensue from the call! Students could even create their own mobile campaigns using Mob5 (which creates mobile webpages), PrivatePhone (to send out campaign updates via voice mail or text), Pix2fone (to create a campaign logo for the cell phone) or PhoneZoo (to create ringtones for the candidate). I also think the mobile options may help get younger voters more interested in politics and voting! Beyond the presidental race many news-worthy sites have mobile subscription options such as CNN with live streaming news feeds and updates. In a time and place where it is difficult to get secondary students interested in news other than Paris Hilton, the mobile feeds may help engage today's students in the 21st century national and international political news.

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