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West Madison taps national voting pipeline with social media

Regardless of the presidential election’s outcome, students at West Madison Elementary School cast their ballots by aligning with a nationwide mock election connected by social media.

West Madison fifth-graders staffed a check-in table for voters.

The students voted in a mock election with national coverage fueled by Twitter, enrichment specialist Wendy Tibbs said.

During a Birmingham workshop, enrichment specialist Wendy Tibbs joined Twitter to establish a personal learning network. One contact, third-grade teacher Krissy Venosdale in Rolla, Mo., opened a nationwide election website, including at least one school per state to report votes.

On Election Day, Tibbs is tweeting West Madison’s election “numbers by grade level to Krissy’s twitter address. Students will record that info as it comes in, (like) info trickles in from polling places.” Tibbs supplied the link to all West Madison teachers for classroom viewing.

A team of West Madison video reporters will take exit interviews of random students in all grades. Voters can “tell why they think voting is important for their parents and our country,” Tibbs said. She acknowledged parents for assisting at ‘the West Madison polls.’

When the school day ends, Tibbs will email final totals with a school-wide tally. With SchoolTube software, she will load an end-of-day broadcast filmed by Madison students for Krissy’s kids to view. “The broadcast will break down our final vote tallies and share the updated tallies of the national site tallies at that time,” she said.

All West Madison students received ‘voter ID cards’ to cast their ballot during physical education class on Election Day. Fifth-graders will man a check-in table. “We thought it was a good idea, since it’s a ‘hot’ item in Alabama,” Tibbs said.

Afterwards, students will take their cards home. “We want students to experience someone checking your name off a list and making sure you are who you say you are, just as their parents do at the polling station,” she said.

Tibbs suggested viewing http://greatdaytolearn.com/kidvote/ for details on the process that West Madison used to connect nationally with Twitter.

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