March 16, 2011
By Isaac Sprik
C-SPAN for many years has been widely understood by social studies teachers around the country as a beneficial teaching tool, a way to get students involved and understanding what actually occurs in government. C-SPAN Classroom just builds on this idea by creating a web site that has a goal of educating and assisting in student education. This is a site that provides teachers an avenue to integrate video of the federal government directly into the classroom, and in addition provides many teaching resources including: tutorials, Constitutional Clips, Congressional Chronicle, and video search. All of these services are provided for free, though some require teachers to register in order to gain access.
Constitutional Clips: Perhaps the most unique and interesting aspect of this web site, this section allows teachers to go line by line in the Constitution, and find links to videos in each article that show how that particular aspect of the Constitution is seen in current politics.
Congressional Chronicle: One of the more basic tools on the web site. It allows a teachers or students to go through and follow the day-to-day occurrences in Congress and watch video of these issues. It allows you to search by representative, senator, date, or bill. This is a great tool for high-quality investigative research from a primary source.
Tutorials: This portion of the site focuses on making sure that all the teachers that use C-SPAN Classroom know all that it has to offer. In addition it gives ideas and videos of ways to employ this resource in a classroom. The tutorials are lead by C-SPAN Education Fellows and give good applicable advice on how to integrate C-SPAN Classroom into an individual classroom.
Video Library: The broadest tool on the site allows you to search for any of the videos that C-SPAN as a whole offers on any particular topic or on a particular member.
Ultimately, C-SPAN Classroom can be a great new tool to expand the use of media in social studies classrooms and offers a plethora of information for teachers to engage their students in current political issues by using up-to-date videos.