#Jrobgov is taking twitter by storm this political season. What is #Jrobgov? Jessica Robinson, AP Government teacher at Altus High School would tell you it is a way for her to connect to her students about government topics on their time and in their world. #Jrobgov is a social media hashtag that her students and others have used all school year to discuss political topics. It began in the fall semester as an opportunity to offer bonus points to students for being politically engaged. “I was really inspired by George Couros who did professional development with APS staff during in service. We used twitter to interact throughout the day, and he spoke about the importance of digital citizenship for students,” Robinson said. “Government is a great place to utilize social media, because everything we discuss has a 'real world it's happening right now' example. I thought during an election year it would be fun to use the debates as a platform to exercise political science methodology.”
The response from the students has been overwhelming. “I've learned that students need and crave worthwhile meaningful discussion,” stated Robinson. #Jrobgov has been trending during most debates, which measures the volumes of tweets. Even representatives from the state of Oklahoma have liked our student's tweets.
“Young people notoriously have a low voter turnout, and I feel like engaging them in the debates has encouraged them to be civically aware,” Robinson added. Walker Sacco summed it up in a tweet where he said, "We feel like political pundits every time we do this." Ms. Robinson has registered 30 new voters just this semester, and she believes the twitter debates outside of class have played a large part in that. On October 13, senior Leticia Sanchez tweeted, “My first Presidential debate and I never want it to end. LOL #jrobgov”
Students in Robinson’s government classes have participated in mock house floor debates after choosing parties, electing leadership, researching demographics, and working in committees. They also set up mock elections for Super Tuesday. If you find yourself still undecided in which candidate to support or are curious about the political minds of high school students, search #jrobgov on twitter. You might be surprised what you learn!