Category Archives: New Tech


Copyright by New Tech student Adrian Harris
I am part of a massive PBL project with the New Tech Network centered on the election this fall that I thought I would share with everyone. Joe Urschel and myself brainstormed the #MYParty12 project that asks students to not just follow the political banter this fall but to evaluate what they actually believe in themselves. Our main goals of this project include (but are not limited to):
  • Have students understand the history of political parties and the election process in the United States
  • Have students think about what issues are most important to them.
  • Show students how they can have a voice in this country.
  • Challenge students to develop persuasive arguments to support claims (Common Core)
  • Have students explore the civility of politics.

So we created a project that focuses on these points but is flexible enough for teachers and students to take in unique directions.

Every participating school will have students create their own political platform and then a 30 second video commercial. Schools will have primaries based on their own voting methods and the winning video from each school will be entered into a New Tech Network election. All of the schools’ entries will be narrowed down to the top five who will participate in an online debate leading up to the presidential election in November. On election day there will be a Network vote for the winning party.

But that is just the minimum requirements. Students and teachers can take this starting point and go in many directions according to their interests and class. We have made a Google Doc jam packed with resources that you need to get this project started and other suggestions of activities and how to implement it. Also check out the Election tab of my livebinder for other resources. Some of the suggestions include debates between different schools, having students develop their own civility rubric, skyping in state politicians and others involved int the election process, and having “debate parties” at school to watch the presidential debates live and tweet out thoughts with the hashtag #MYparty12.

Obviously this project is perfect for an American Studies (integrated U.S. history with ELA) or Government class, but is not limited to those subjects. This project could be completed in a stand alone ELA, digital media class, or adapted by any teacher. We are using the hashtag #MyParty12 to send out info. and to promote student work. 

I know that you may not be part of the New Tech Network of schools but feel free to follow our hashtag and watch the students commercials when they start to post them on the New Tech Network home page. Or better yet borrow from our ideas and set up your own collaboration with another teacher in another school.