C-SPAN rolls onto Kent Campus

Abi Luempert

The C-SPAN School Bus has visited middle schools and high schools in all 50 states, but it made its first college appearance at Kent State yesterday.

However, this yellow vehicle, parked in front of White Hall, was far from the typical bus.

The 22-ton, 45-foot long, mobile production studio has toured the country since November 1993, familiarizing young people with public affairs and government. Yesterday, however, Stephanie Green, marketing representative for C-SPAN, introduced the C-SPAN Classroom Web site to college students and other visitors.

“C-SPAN wants to be the standard bearer for using technology to teach social studies,” Green said.

The C-SPAN Classroom Web site is www.c-spanclassroom.org. The site offers copyright-free material and other resources for use in classrooms. It includes video clips, discussion questions, links to other Web sites and worksheets.

“We want to bring this resource to students, rather than having teachers stumble upon it,” said Tish Biggs, director of public affairs for Time Warner.

Green played video clips for students and suggested ways for them to integrate the clips into lesson plans.

“I think that it will be a very useful tool that will help enhance my lessons,” said Anna DeJulio, junior integrated social studies major, about the Web site.

Bette Brooks, instructor of social studies education, took one of her classes through the bus and said Green’s presentation already has her students thinking about how they can use the site.

She said C-SPAN is an “incredible resource because it’s credible, reliable, accurate and unbiased.”

The bus stopped at Kent State at the invitation of Time Warner Cable. Since Biggs is a Kent State graduate, the decision to stop at the school was not a hard one.

“It’s such a good fit for us (to be at a college campus) because pre-service teachers will be using technology in their classrooms and these students are used to the Internet and most likely to use our resources,” Green said.

The C-SPAN School Bus is one of two buses – the C-SPAN Book TV Bus being the other – that travel around the country delivering information to students.

The two buses have hosted guests such as President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

Biggs said that while education majors came to find out more about using C-SPAN as a classroom resource, video production majors came to check out the equipment aboard.

Both buses are fully functional studios, complete with a conference area where interviews and TV broadcasts take place and a production area with controls, monitors and two 42-inch plasma screen televisions.

During one month in the summer, the C-SPAN School Bus is pulled off the road to receive maintenance, bus driver Mike Connors said. He said both buses are serviced and retrofitted in Columbus.

C-SPAN, which stands for Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network, is a commercial-free network financed through cable companies.

Contact College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Abi Luempert at [email protected].