Congressman Doug Collins Responded!

Earlier this week I received a response from Congressman Collins’ office when his secretary informed me that I would soon get a call from Mr. Collins’ event planner. About 30 minutes later, I received a call from Ms. Thompson, Mr. Collins’ event planner. She asked for my email address and we then exchanged emails about what my study is about and what the interview with Mr. Collins would consist of. I explained the details and sent her an attachment of the questions I intended to ask at the interview. Ms. Thompson emailed me back and said Mr. Collins would answer each question thoroughly and she would get it back to me as soon as possible. I have not yet received the answered questions from Mr. Collins as of today.

Understandably, I will not be able to meet with Mr. Collins because he has such a busy schedule. However, verbatim responses to my questions from Mr. Collins is just as good in my opinion! I cannot wait to receive his feedback and use it in my study. It will be so helpful to have an actual politicians point of view on this topic of social media and politics.

To further my research, I found two more very interesting articles. The first is Using Social Media in Your Campaign by Joe Garecht, that explained since we have the joys of social media today, campaigns do not really need email lists and websites. Social media has taken the place of those things and especially with easier access and communication with voters. I specifically liked this article the most of all the articles I have read because Garecht gave a list of how to successfully use social media in campaigns, very similar to the topic in this study. I will use this article the most as a reference throughout my study.

The second article I read was Political Campaigns and Social Media – Tweeting Their Way into Office by Laura Jerpi. This article was about how critical it is for campaigners to use social media during their campaigns. Chris Saad mentioned that instead of voters looking for “the best smile or makeup” in a politician, they are now looking for a politicians’ connection with their  followers on social media networks. I thought it was interesting Jerpi mentioned that politicians use social media mostly for feedback from their followers by doing Q&A’s. This ties in with why there are more young voters voting since politicians have used social media. However, Jerpi mentioned that social media is a “small glitch” and politicians will soon go back to using their campaign sites because they are more valuable to a politicians campaign and career.

I agree with everything in both articles except for where Ms. Jerpi mentioned that social media is a “small glitch” for politicians. I believe that politics and technology will only grow and I truly doubt politicians will replace social media with their campaign sites in the future. I think social media is so easy to use that it will only get more popular and continue to benefit politicians in their campaigns and careers.

I am patiently waiting for a response from Congressman Collins and as soon as I get one I will be blogging about it! Hopefully it will be very soon! 🙂


Exploring Social Media and Politics

Today, I began sifting through my resources I found for my first ever independent study! I am so excited and cannot wait to see what results I find. I decided on a topic about Social Media and Politics because I am very interested in political campaigning and politics, as well as social media and its many benefits. I am intrigued by the use of technology in political campaigns today and the difference it has made with voters and results for candidates.

I started my research by reading an article from the New York Times, Campaigns use Social Media to Lure Young Voters that talks about the use of Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Instagram in the recent presidential campaign between Romney and Obama. They emphasized that most of the controversy during the campaigns was mostly between candidates on Tumblr with funny, querky videos where one candidate points out a flaw of the other and so on. This apparently appeals to the young voter because the videos are funny and dramatic. Also, photo based social media sites like Flickr and Instagram are used mostly for presidents to post joyful pictures they take while traveling across America during the campaign, not so much for controversy between candidates.

The second article I read was one by iSchool based on a local political campaign in Syracuse, New York, Exploring Tech Behind a Political Campaign. I really liked this article because it focused mostly on a local perspective of campaigning and emphasized that candidates use social media to build personal connections with voters. This is very important because the policies presented by the candidates in a city or county will rely heavily on voter choice and social media allows voters to keep track of who they agree most with.

I plan to keep reading research related to the above in this study and I hope to find out more in depth details. I am also currently trying to set up a meeting with Congressman Doug Collins to interview about his experience using social media during his political campaign. I am waiting for a call back now!

Wish me luck! 🙂

Charter School “Better” Education Conclusion

In conclusion of my research to find why charter schools were campaigned to have a “better” education than traditional public schools in the 2013 election, I found that there are many different opinions on the issue more so than facts. My original question was, “Do charter schools really have a “better” education than traditional public schools?”

As I researched there were many different opinions about the topic, but the facts turned out to be that charter schools are basically ahead of public schools in certain aspects. Charter schools do have more advanced and higher quality teachers, but they use strategies public schools may pick up later on. So, if a student in a public school graduates before the school picks up a similar teaching strategy from a charter school, they could possibly miss out on a “better” education. Charter schools also expect more out of their students, preparing them for more rigorous classes in college which is a great benefit in my opinion. So, charter schools must use more interesting techniques and strategies to keep students interested in material in order for them to learn better and live up to teacher expectations. These factors were the most interesting to me because the details were ones I had not heard of before. Personally, I think charter schools are beneficial to students, however I also believe that public schools provide a great education as well. I attended a traditional public school so my opinion on the issue could be a little bias in that I think I earned a great education. One of which has helped me reach my goal of graduating in December 2013 from the University of Georgia.

If I had more time to research, I would go more in depth on the issue to see if there is a specific correlation between education techniques and strategies in charter schools and public schools. I would research teachers from charters schools and possibly interview them to compare and contrast their background education, lifestyles, opinions on the topic and their opinions on public school education. I would also interview students and students who have transferred from a public school to a charter school to get a general perspective from students who have experienced the schools techniques and strategies first hand.

This was my first time experiencing a 20% project and I loved it. I loved it so much I decided to do an independent study with Professor Thomas this June Session, which is basically an extended version of this 20% project. I recommend it to anyone who has not done this type of project before because there are so many things you can learn from exploring the internet independently and using technology to engage in an interesting topic. This project was probably the least stressful project I have done thus far in the realm of research projects I have done as a Political Science Major. Days reserved for 20% time was so helpful and useful for managing time wisely.

There are really no difficult aspects to the project other than picking your topic, everything else is free, independent exploration. Who can argue with that? However, if there comes a time that this project becomes difficult, there are many different avenues you can take. Technology offers us so many new sources for choosing topics that you can simply find certain websites with example topics to give you a head start. If finding articles becomes difficult then you should probably change your topic all together. Once you figure out your topic, you’re set.

I enjoyed EDIT 2000 so much this Maymester and I can honestly say that I came out of it with much more knowledge about education and technology than I went in with. I never thought I would be interested in education but now I certainly am and I am eager to see where this new interest might take me in the future!

Researching Secrets Behind Charter Schools

Professor Thomas sent me a link to an article by Sarah Morgan on SmartMoney about what charter schools will not tell you about their success and how they work. I was very interested in this article because it was exactly what my topic is about because it explains the hidden secrets of charter school benefits and explains the things charter schools will not tell you. It listed some things charter schools do not mention about the teachers specifically that I did not know about, some teachers are not certified teachers.

I found this interesting because in Caroline Hoxby’s article I blogged about the other day, mentioned teachers were better and they benefit students because they are more qualified to help children learn. I also found it interesting that the article listed charter schools are basically the same as public schools because as I blogged before, one benefit of a charter school was that they provide a “better” education to students. Now I will explore more on the differences of charter schools compared to public schools and hopefully discover certain aspects that set each of them apart when comparing the quality of a students’ education for both.

Click here to view the article referenced above.

Exploring Blogs Related to My Topic

USA Today posted a blog in April 2013 about the benefits of charter schools at KIPP Academy in Washington which is very similar to my topic. USA Today emphasized that school days are longer, grading is more difficult and expectations from students are higher. However, charter schools have high quality teachers who are capable of helping students achieve a high quality education.

This helps answer my question of why charter schools are considered to establish a “better” education as they campaigned for in Georgia for the 2012 election. USA Today also mentioned that charter schools are beneficial to students who currently attend public schools that are struggling to stay open.

USA Today also mentions that students have higher scores in math, science, social studies and reading. Now, I would like to explore the tactics, or possibly technology, charter school teachers use in the classroom to improve students ability to learn.

For more information on the USA Today blog referenced above, follow this link

Exploring the Benefits of Attending a Charter School

Today during my 20% time, I wanted to explore the web and see if there was a lot of available statistics for the benefits of attending a charter school. I simply googled the benefits of attending a charter school and a ton of articles came up. First, I found a study done that showed the benefits that students gain from charter schools and it described it, as well as laid it out on a statistical chart with percentages, which I liked. The data was the performance of charter schools compared to their local markets and measured by percentages in reading and math of significantly worse, not significant and significantly better. Then, I found an interesting article by the American Charter School Development that gave the top 5 benefits of a charter school, which could very well be bias but it simply listed the top 5 benefits based on a parents perspective and what they expect when they send their child to a charter school. Some interesting aspects in the article were that the classroom sizes are smaller for one on one time with teachers, they offer distance learning for courses the school may not offer, they have more flexibility on how they spend their resources and they allow students to focus on special interest subjects. I thought all these benefits were interesting so I googled further. Finally, I found an awesome study by Caroline Hoxby that compared charter school benefits to public school benefits. The study compares many different state charter schools. The article is pretty long so I look forward to reading it carefully and I think it will benefit my project the most. Fortunately, I have found many different resources related to my topic and I feel more at ease about being able to find useful resources for my project. The video attached is about Caroline Hoxby’s take on the benefits of charter schools that emphasizes more on the study by her I will be reading!

Exploring Topics for 20% Time

First, I googled technology and learning to find possible interesting topics. I found an article on technology enhanced learning. That article didn’t look interesting to me so I found an interesting site about connecting technology and student learning. This caught my eye because it gave details about benefits of technology and learning. I only found a minimal amount of interesting information on that topic so I googled charter schools and the benefits of attending a charter school versus a public school.

Since charter schools have been in the news and was on the ballot last year in GA, the topic of charter schools in general interests me. I researched a similar topic in a previous Political Science class last Fall where I gathered data on charter schools vs. public schools success based on graduation test scores across the United States. I found that both charter schools and public schools success correlate quite similarly based on graduation test scores.

The benefits of learning in charter schools interests me because the amendment got passed in GA and since I found that the data correlated similarly, I wondered why charter schools are more beneficial in learning. So, the learning benefits of attending a charter school is my topic. What makes charter schools have a better quality education than a public school education?