The Real Clear Websites As An Educational Tool

This was something I wrote a while back for a class on technology in education. I had to describe how teachers could use a particular web-based tool. I went with the realclear brand of websites.

These are essentially news aggregators divided by topic. Each of these websites is updated daily, if not twice a day, ensuring a lot of curated content from a variety of newspapers and magazines. Teachers can use this to find information texts for students to use in the classroom (possibly to supplement what they’re already learning), or to give students a resource for assignments (IE- Write about an article, be ready to tell the class about a news story, etc.)

It started with http://www.realclearpolitics.com/, which remains the best known of the websites. It covers domestic developments. It might be the least effective for teachers, due to the partisan nature of the subject matter. There have also been some criticisms of a right-leaning bent, although the front page generally has links from a variety of sources. The front page for Thursday October 22 2015 includes right-wing sources like a George Will column and an interview with Jeb Bush’s Super PAC manager, left-wing sources like a former Clinton cabinet member’s Huffington Post editorial and praise for Bernie Sanders in The Nation; and mainstream media with reportage from The New York Times, Yahoo! News and The Hill. There are other offshoots that don’t focus on partisan politics, which may be more appealing to teachers.

The sister website http://www.realclearhistory.com/ has new articles about history. These also include markers for the year in which an event occurred, which can be useful for a teacher or student looking for material covering a particular era. http://www.realclearworld.com/ has international news stories. There are less partisan implications than with domestic policy. http://www.realclearscience.com/ has new articles on science topics. This could be used by a teacher looking to connect what the students are learning about in their class, to something contemporary. http://www.realclearsports.com/ has articles on sports. For students who like sports, these would be information texts on a topic they’re interested in. A possible critical thinking piece would be to have students analyze articles that cover the same topic from different perspectives.

http://www.realcleareducation.com/ is of particular interest to teachers, but perhaps not to students. It has as new articles on education, from general-interest media, as well as periodicals and websites that exclusively cover education matters (the LA School Report, Education Week, Inside Higher Ed, the Tennessee Chalkbeat, etc.) In addition to these articles, there’s a separate section updated daily for Analysis & Commentary, and one for Research & Reports. They also have a section for articles on major issues, like school choice, early education and Education Technology. It’s an excellent way to stay up to date on issues of national importance to educators, or to ensure that you’re up to date on a particular subtopic.

Each of these websites can be added to an rss reader like Feedly. This way, whenever there is a new entry it shows up in my feedly account, to which I can log in from any computer. I personally follow Real Clear Education, so twice a day, I tend to get 15 or so new stories. One slight note is that there is no central site. Realclear.com seems to be an unaffiliated clickbait site.

 

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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