New site targeting teens makes workings of Congress more understandable to the masses

LatinaLista — What is a PAC? What is life like as a US Senator? What does it mean running for Congress as an incumbent? And who are the interest groups known as lobbyists? These are some questions found on a new web site targeting high school students enrolled in American Government Advanced Placement classes — and for anyone who wants to get a clearer picture of Congress.

At the Civic Connections web site, a map showing the imbalance of talk radio across the United States broken down by conservative and progressive programming.

Called The Civics Connection: A Conversation with Congress, the site, produced by the University of Central Florida’s Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government, is billed as a “living textbook.” At the site, visitors find filmed interviews of congressmen and congresswomen offering their input and commentary on several topics, such as impeaching the president, overriding presidential vetoes, the war powers act and Congress’s relationship with the public.

Making sure to present a bipartisan picture of Congress, everyone interviewed is a former member of Congress. The site is comprised of 16 modules, each containing a 15-minute video interview with the former members of Congress. In addition to the video interviews, the modules contain information such as graphic tools, vocabulary and overviews.

Though the topics and content were selected to go along with Advanced Placement government and politics classes, they also go along with other history and government courses. Funded by the nonprofit organization College Board, the website is an example of using technology to bring a deeper understanding of a topic to students, said Doug Dobson, the executive director of the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government, in an article in UCF Today.

Though the site targets teens, visitors won’t find wild colors, teen slang or animation. The site, while a little bland in presentation, focuses on the substance of the content, which in politics always provides enough entertainment.

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