Five Reasons CNN 10 Videos Are Great Tools for Teaching Current Events
Today’s Friday, the first Friday of the year for me. Oftentimes, I like to take some time at the end of the week to break up the routine of class and talk about discuss some current events with my students.
To do that, I’ve got a go to, free resource: CNN10.
What Is CNN10?
CNN10 (formerly CNN Student News) is a daily video newscast produced by CNN10 with anchor Carl Azuz. The program is designed specifically for middle and high school students. In a typical day, it’ll feature three to four stories, a bit of trivia, a funny viral video clip, and some closing puns.
All of that happens in ten short minutes.
Why Do I Love CNN10?
There are a ton of reasons to love CNN10, but here are my top 5:
- The videos are downloadable (go to the RSS feed here). You can also subscribe to the video podcast on iTunes and automatically download each new episode. I don’t know about you, but I hate when the internet isn’t working well and I’ve planned a lesson around streaming a video.
- It’s short. Ten minutes is the perfect length. It’s long enough to be of substance, but it doesn’t take up the whole period. Depending on how long you discuss it afterwards, you’ll still have twenty to thirty minutes left in a regular class period to do something else.
- The host is engaging. Carl Azuz is entertaining and relatable, albeit a bit funny in a corny dad kind of way. He’s not overly serious, dramatic, or pedantic. You’ll either love or hate his puns, but either way I think he was a great choice for hosting a show aimed at students.
- It’s actually “fair and balanced.” FOX News might have ruined that phrase forever, but in an era of hyper-partisanship it’s refreshing idea. Despite the President’s hatred for CNN, I don’t notice any discernible bias in the CNN10 broadcast. Read this analysis for a more in depth look at whether or not CNN 10 is biased.
- It’s interactive. Each day, there’s a quick trivia question in the middle of the video that leads into one of the stories. The students are prompted to call out the answer, and in my classes there are always some who get in the routine of trying to guess the answer.
How Do I Use It In Class?
I watch CNN 10 regularly with my classes. It can be a great filler for those “wasted” days – half days where you only see some of your students, testing days, days before holidays, etc. But it can also be an integral part of your daily or weekly routine.
Is It Biased?
In today’s climate, you may think twice about using a source that’s been labeled “fake news.” But despite the political attacks on its parent company, CNN10 is about as unbiased and straightforward as a newscast can be.
CNN10 simply presents issues and goes to painstaking lengths to offer balance of viewpoints. While the viewer may have a strong opinion one way or the other, I would challenge you to watch a week’s worth of the show and provide examples of how the host or production is biased.
Closing Thoughts and Follow Up Reading
So what do you think? Are you planning on using CNN10 in your class? Drop a comment below.
Also, you should know that discussing current events and controversial issues is one of the six research based methods for improving civics education. Read more about the other five here.
CNN10 is also fun for your students, and there’s nothing wrong with livening things up a bit. If you’re looking for some more suggestions on how to do that, here’s a list of six ways to teach government in a fun way.