Revving the drive for social studies education: C-SPAN bus tour stops at R.E. Davis; school’s Lowe honored

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 11/16/18

iddle-school students typically have heard of Washington, D.C., and Donald Trump, but C-SPAN ... that's usually not on their radar.

That made Tuesday's visit by the official C-SPAN bus from the Washington-based public affairs news network to R.E. …

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Revving the drive for social studies education: C-SPAN bus tour stops at R.E. Davis; school’s Lowe honored

Posted

Middle-school students typically have heard of Washington, D.C., and Donald Trump, but C-SPAN ... that's usually not on their radar.

That made Tuesday's visit by the official C-SPAN bus from the Washington-based public affairs news network to R.E. Davis College Preparatory Academy middle-schoolers in the rural eastern portion of Sumter County that much more special and educational. The cable network is known for its coverage of the legislative branch of government, and C-SPAN's bus is on a Top Teachers Tour of social studies educators across multiple states, including South Carolina.

In the selection process, the state's social studies association recognized four exemplary teachers, including R.E. Davis' Zachariah Lowe, for the bus to visit.

After starting the day at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, C-SPAN's bus made the two-plus-hour trip to Sumter and rolled into the parking lot at R.E. Davis on Eastern School Road about 1 p.m.

Through the years, C-SPAN has expanded its website and now offers C-SPAN Classroom as a free resource for social studies teachers across the U.S. with an archive of video clips covering events in our nation's history, lesson plan ideas and other features to appeal to today's students.

The 45-foot customized bus can become a live studio and is complete with a 360-degree video camera, numerous interactive touch-screen kiosks to illustrate the wealth of informational resources available online and even a selfie-station - in front of a picture of the White House for those students who aspire to become C-SPAN's next White House correspondent.

For two hours, all R.E. Davis eighth-graders, quiz-bowl team members and a student group of potential future teachers - about 75 students total - got to tour the bus in small groups. Most students had never heard of C-SPAN, but a few had heard of the network before.

Two C-SPAN marketing representatives - Doug Hemmig and Shannon Augustus - started each 15-minute session with students by giving an overview of the cable news network and its "gavel-to-gavel" coverage of the U.S. House and Senate and White House events. Hemmig and Augustus also explained that C-SPAN's networks (C-SPAN, C-SPAN2 and C-SPAN3) provide no analysis and commentary but are nonpartisan, so viewers can make their own determinations and decisions.

C-SPAN's networks also cover historical U.S. Supreme Court cases and even celebrities who go to Washington to provide their voice on issues, Augustus said.

After the overview, students got the chance to explore the bus, take a quiz on the kiosks and watch numerous video clips available online - such as Kanye West giving his perspective on the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the U.S.

"We want students to be able to walk off the bus with a new resource for information," Hemmig said. "We have a wealth of video-related resources to learn about Washington."

After exploring the bus, eighth-graders Jasmyne Singleton and Ti'lik Harrison said they both like social studies and enjoyed the experience, including the hands-on monitors to explore C-SPAN's website.

"I liked the way the people explained the network," Harrison said. "I also liked that the bus was set up with plenty of monitors to show us the diversity of the website."

Harrison was one of a few students who has heard of C-SPAN.

"I have watched it a few times at home," he said.