Aug 23, 2016
Free Educational Resource Explores the 2016 Election Cycle and Helps Students Make Sense of Campaign Chaos
WASHINGTON — Today, the Newseum launched “Election 2016: Stumped!?” — a free online resource for teachers and students that puts the 2016 election in context and offers tools to demystify election procedures, decode campaign messages and make their voices heard.
The new educational resource is available on NewseumED, a website that provides learners of all ages free access to curated, standards-aligned content from the Newseum’s vast collection of more than 35,000 newspapers and magazines, 20,000 artifacts and 40,000 photographs. “Election 2016: Stumped!?” is made possible with generous support by the American Association of University Women.
“AAUW could not be more proud of our connection with the Newseum, NewseumED, and the resources gathered for the ‘Election 2016: Stumped!?’ project,” says Cordy Galligan, AAUW’s vice president of marketing and communications. “Along with the women’s history teaching module ‘Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less,’ these powerful collections show the importance of exercising our First Amendment rights and raising our voices. We encourage educators everywhere to utilize these fun — and free — resources to bring history to life in the classroom and demystify the electoral process.”
In the midst of a 2016 election cycle that has confounded everyone — from pre-voters to political pundits — teachers and students have faced a dearth of resources for tackling the subject in and out of the classroom. “Election 2016: Stumped!?” addresses this need by providing a clear yet sophisticated pathway for users to identify causes of confusion in the 2016 election, discuss the big, prickly issues and get involved.
The multimedia collection of primary sources uses an engaging case-study approach that puts “stumped” election issues in historical context. The case studies tackle the entire election cycle, from the early days of the race to the frenzy of the final weeks. The result: Students can critically examine pressing civic questions such as, how democratic is the primary process? Has social media changed presidential campaigns for better or worse? When is bias in election coverage a problem?
“We know some teachers may be afraid to discuss this election in their classroom because it is so controversial, but it’s important for students to participate in the democratic process,” says Barbara McCormack, the Newseum’s vice president of education. “Our nonpartisan resource will give them a safe launching pad to have informed discussion and debate.”
Each case study’s accompanying lesson plans provide tools for organizing evidence and structuring classroom debate around election mechanics, the candidates’ messages and the varying forms of public participation in the digital age.
NewseumED was launched in October 2015 with two EDCollections: “Making a Change” and “Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less,” which explore how civil rights advocates and suffragists used the powers guaranteed by the First Amendment to make their voices heard and enact change. In March 2016, NewseumED introduced “Freedom in the Balance,” which uses the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to examine the fragile balance between preserving the five freedoms of the First Amendment and maintaining public safety.
NewseumED includes more than 1,000 historic documents and 170 lesson plans that are easily searchable by type, topic and time period. The educational content is framed by the freedoms and ideals protected by the First Amendment, which acts as a springboard to explore more about the opportunities and challenges of our democracy. Full access to the site requires free, secure registration, but a unique “share” function allows teachers to offer their students a custom URL that provides access to the site’s content without a login.
The Newseum will host its seventh annual Fall Teacher Open House on Oct.1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., which will highlight its free resources for educators through classes, tours and workshops. Admission is free. Educators and tour operators who register in advance will be entered into a drawing for a $250 certificate to The Source, Wolfgang Puck’s famous restaurant adjacent to the Newseum.
Since the Newseum opened in 2008, more than 4.7 million students have taken advantage of the museum’s online resources and free classes related to media literacy, history, civics and the First Amendment.
The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.