Monday, May 11, 2009

A Digital Anthology for Poli Sci (or any course!)

Sometimes I blog and wonder if my words make any impact. Then I am comforted by the thought that one reader often takes the words to heart. . . . Me!

This happened again recently after I posted Teaching Literature Unbound. In it I described Jim Burke's Weekly Reader-- A Digital Anthology. Afterwards, I found myself musing about the types of lit I might include for an English class. Then I hit on the realization of how valuable a digital anthology would be for my AP Government and Politics class.

I have have always included a "reader" companion to the text for this course. Typically it costs about fifty bucks. And even though I regularly order newer editions, many of the articles typically seem dated in even the newest collections. A digital "reader" could be current, free, and include multi-media.

Since having this brain storm I have thrown myself into the project. I've drawn from four main sources so far:

Academic and news articles-- Gale Student Resource Center

Video Lectures-- Academic Earth & NY Times Video Library

Podcasts-- iTunes U

I am using Google Docs to collate my materials. The hyperlink feature (see Hyperlink Heaven) allows me to pull all the resources into one space. After seven years I have a pretty clear idea of the kinds of topics I want to include for my students. As I pull together the resources, I also compose critical thinking topics, which I compose in a different color text)

Next school year, besides saving my students fifty dollars, I will break by anthology into course packs which correspond to each unit. Students will have direct links to the resources with attendant topics to write, vlog, blog about (according to instructions).

From the teacher's point of view, the anthology can continually be refreshed and tailored exactly to each year's course.

If you have suggestions, please comment. If you would like to see a section of my anthology, just shoot me an email:

Screen Capture of "Academic Earth". Thanks to our Jonell, our Dean of Students, for passing this link along.

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