Tuesday, May 10, 2011

White House Webinar Explains Osama Bin Laden Death to Students


How do you explain cheering Bin Laden's death to students?  This is as problem that many teachers are having.  It is difficult to explain the dark world of terrorism, but how do you explain to third grade students when they see people cheering the death of a person?  

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have someone from the White House explain about the Osama Bin Laden's death?  This happened last Thursday, May 5, at noon (CST).  Ben Rhodes, Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriter, gave a 10-minute presentation on what happened. It wasn't fancy but it was effective. He had a slide show filled with photos that was interspersed with this discussion.

Mr. Rhodes began by explaining the events of 9/11 and how things have progressed since then in trying to find and capture Bin Laden. The broadcaster had been part of the group who were involved in watching the invasion from the White House and was well-informed on the progression of events.

The amazing part of this event is that over 1600 viewers were involved.  While some of them might have been individuals like me in their offices I would imagine that most of them were classes of students. There is a recommendation on the site that suggests that because of the sensitive nature of the webinar, it would be best to limit viewers to middle and high school students.

The best part was the last 20 minutes where the students/viewers were actually able to ask questions. These questions asked about how Bin Laden's death will affect the threat of terrorism in the U.S.; why they buried Bin Laden at sea; how they compared the DNA and a variety of other pertinent questions from the news.

The Discussion on Bin Laden webinar archive is available for you to review.  It has a 10-minute segment of Rhodes' presentation and then they divided the students' questions into 2 10-minute segments.

I haven't been able to find any archives of other White House webinars through Discovery (or anyone else).  Do you know of any archives? This would be a valuable asset for Discovery and the White House to create.

What do you think?  Did you use this with your students?  Will you use this with your students? How do you like the way that they addressed this issue?  

How did YOU address the issue?

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