Mayfield attends C-SPAN conference

Published 10:39 am Friday, July 13, 2012

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

It’s not often that teachers encourage students to watch television, especially during the school day, but that’s exactly what Jason Mayfield plans to do in his Columbiana Middle School classes this year.

Mayfield, who teaches gifted education, recently returned from the C-SPAN Classroom’s 2012 Educators’ Conference, which was held in Washington D.C. on July 9-10.

C-SPAN, which was created by the cable TV industry, offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming.

C-SPAN Classroom is a free service that promotes C-SPAN programming and website for educational purposes.

Mayfield was one of 30 educators from across the country who attended the conference. His submission essay was selected from more than 200 other applicants.

Mayfield said C-SPAN offers a wealth of videos for educators.

“I was not fully aware of everything they had to offer,” he said. “All of their programming since they started in 1979 is available online through their website. If you want to show a class what a Senate committee looks like, you can pull up the most recent (meeting).”

Mayfield said the website also allows teachers or students to view videos related to specific words or phrases in famous documents, such as the United States Constitution. For example, the words “We the People” in the Constitution are linked to a video of a Ronald Reagan speech.

In a press release, Joanne Wheeler, C-SPAN vice president of education, said the conference helps educators use technology and C-SPAN to teach social studies in their classrooms.

“Our goal is that after the conference, teachers will return to their communities armed with solid teaching tips, tools and strategies for using C-SPAN’s primary source programming to engage their students in a better understanding of how government works, as well as how to become informed citizens,” she said.