High school students capture the election on videos for PBS

Students in Allison Risoli’s advanced placement American government and politics course might be too young to vote this year, but they are still getting a hands-on lesson in the election process: The class was selected to take part in Video Your Vote, a project sponsored by PBS’ "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" in which they will make short films related to Election Day, reports the Journal News of Lower Hudson Valley, N.Y. The TV show has partnered with YouTube, allowing students to upload their videos onto the videoyourvote.org web site–which also can be viewed on YouTube–while giving them an opportunity to learn about the voting experience. Peekskill High School was among some 50 schools nationwide chosen to participate in the program. "The idea behind the project is to encourage young people to vote," Risoli said. "But I think for this generation, because they are so used to texting and eMailing, it’s also teaching them communication skills." Yesterday, several students roamed the halls wielding a pocket-sized Flip video camera provided by "News Hour" searching for prospective people to interview on topics ranging from why they vote to whether they have ever encountered problems at the polls. Risoli said this presidential election, more than any other, has caught the attention of students–in part, she thinks, because the candidates have utilized technologies such as text messaging and MySpace to reach this population. Her 45-minute course, which includes 14 students, dedicates each Friday to discussing the topic with the help of Anita Prentice, a student teacher from Pace University. Prentice applied for the video project through an education technology blog, she said, adding that the digital camera is theirs to keep. Video Your Vote has been an exciting addition to their curriculum. "We’re almost of voting age," said student Catie Davis, 17. "It’s good to hear from people about their voting experience to learn why it’s so important…"

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