Welcome to the Great Debate of 2008!

The "Great Debate of 2008" is a collaborative project that provides students in grades 8-12 with an opportunity to lead an exploration and discussion of issues and candidates surrounding the 2008 presidential election.historic1.jpg It officially begins September 22, 2008, though classes may join after that date.

How does the project work?

Participating classrooms contribute information and resources about campaign issues to this Great Debate of 2008 wiki. Each participating classroom is expected to contribute to at least one page on this wiki, but are welcome to contribute to all pages. For an example of what one might contribute, please visit the Immigration and Iraq War pages, both developed by students at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts. Students will also join the moderated Great Debate of 2008 onlineocial network to meet other students involved in the project and partake in online discussions, polls, surveys, and other activities. Students may upload or embed various documents and multimedia materials at the online social network.
Thus, students will contribute to the project in various ways:
  • Students will research issues by examining materials produced by other students and participating teachers.
  • Students will view candidate videos in which they discuss their positions on campaign issues.
  • Students will join The Great Debate of 2008 online social network to meet other participating students and contribute to online discussions of prominent issues.
  • Students will participate in online polls to gauge student opinions on select issues.
  • Students are invited to submit multimedia materials, including video and audio.

greatdebate2008.jpgNote: Access to the online social network and wiki editing is restricted to participating classes.

The project officially begins September 22 and ends November 10 (though will be accessible after this date).
  • Prizes will be awarded to the top contributing classrooms!

What are the curriculum expectations?

The project strives to maximize student participation with minimal disruption to classroom curriculum. Recommended participation is the equivalent of 40-minute class periods -- two classes for research and two classes for contributions -- but teachers have the latitude to define their classroom participation.

Students: Please consult our Handout for Students:

Your classroom will be judged on the quality of its contributions to both the wiki and the online social network and you may win a prize as a result of those contributions.

What are the technical requirements?

Students will need live Internet access to participate in The Great Debate of 2008 project. Students will also need to know how to edit wiki pages, a relatively simple process explained in our video tutorial. Additionally, students and teachers might need permission from the school's network IT administrator to access YouTube videos at school.

What about student privacy and security?

The Great Debate of 2008 project is continually moderated and only those accepted into the project may edit the wiki pages and join the private online social network. No outsiders will be allowed access to the Great Debate of 2008 online social network. Visitors will be allowed to see the wiki pages (in an effort to promote student work), but they will not be allowed to edit them in any way. Moreover, all edits to the wiki and contributions to the online social network are moderated and any inappropriate comments or information will be removed.

Why undertake this project?

Encouraging students to learn more about national issues and candidate positions is important for developing effective global citizens. Many Americans believe that the 2008 presidential election will be the most important in their lives. Moreover, our students live in an interconnected world where online sharing information and networked collaboration on projects will be a prominent aspect of their 21st century professional lives.

Questions or suggestions?

If you are interested in participating in The Great Debate of 2008, or you have questions, please contact Tom Daccord. Please indicate the name of your school and its location, the class you teach, and the number of students you would like to enroll.