OK, after watching nearly all of the three debates I need to vent about the debate process. I want to see a truly 21st century debate! I’ve tried to frame my thinking through an educational lens. I’ve broken my thoughts below into three categories. The first two are current status and desired status, and they refer to the debates. The final category is educational implications, which relate to the connection to education.
Current: Facts are shared, but they go unchecked immediately.
Desired: A panel of non-partisan fact checkers are in a back room immediately checking the credibility of candidate claims. Their results are displayed for all to see in real time (Maybe a flashing screen behind candidates, or a loud horn when the fact finders say a candidate’s facts are false!).
Educational Implications: If you’re in a 1:1 environment, every class should have a fact checker or two! Assign students to not only check facts, but to find facts that connect to the lesson.
Current: Candidates stand or sit throughout the debate with essentially no resources other than what is between their ears.
Desired: Candidates are allowed to have resources including computers. They can share data with viewers and the other candidate. Similar to a trial, they should present “evidence” they will use prior to the debate. It doesn’t need to be a surprise!
Educational Implications: Create assessments that allow students to use resources and the Internet. If you’re worried the question can be easily found online, it may not be a great question. The ability for students to evaluate and make decisions based on information that have found is a truly essential skill!
Current: Candidates debate one another without any assistance.
Desired: Candidates can chat online with their strategists throughout the debate. Part of being a great leader is surrounding yourself with great people!
Educational Implications: Allow students to collaborate with other students in the classroom and around the world as much as possible. We often get consumed worrying about students cheating at the cost of collaboration. In the “real world”, the ability to collaborate with others is invaluable!
Current: Candidates exhibit behavior that wouldn’t be acceptable in a middle school debate when they speak over one another, refuse to listen to the moderator, or don’t follow the agreed upon rules for time speaking.
Desired: If a candidate goes over their allotted speaking time, their microphone is immediately shut-off and the auditorium sound system begins playing the national anthem! That may cut back on some of those problems!
Educational Implications: Don’t consider a career in politics!