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IT Program Spurs Election Participation

July 1, 2008
Regional students, teachers, administrators and media specialists are teaming up to create awareness and involvement surrounding the upcoming presidential election using emerging technologies created by Northwestern University Information Technology's Collaboratory Project.

The iVOTE! '08 initiative, funded by the McCormick Tribune Foundation, utilizes the Collaboratory's easy-to-use Web-based collaborative learning tools to encourage Illinois youth voting while exploring ways to bridge the gap between civic engagement and democratic participation.

"iVOTE! '08 generates an awareness to Illinois youth about the importance of civic responsibility," said Bob Davis, director of the Collaboratory Project. "We are honored to facilitate the technology that is pivotal to the interaction of diverse communities that may not otherwise have the opportunity to collaborate."

Unique tools utilized by iVOTE! '08 participants include the Cybrary, the Survey Studio, and interactive maps. Students create virtual libraries of Internet resources to support research and education/advocacy campaigns with the Cybrary. Using the Survey Studio, students create personalized public opinion polls, collect data, and analyze results. Additionally, students and teachers from different regions are able to locate other projects, share data, and report and find new iVOTE! '08 partners via the interactive maps.

Upcoming events on the iVOTE! '08 calendar include students continuing community involvement projects and collaborating to discuss position papers while making their decisions on the candidates for the upcoming iVOTE! '08 online election in the fall.
More information about iVOTE! '08 is available on the Collaboratory Project Web site. Please direct questions to Roxana Hadad at (847) 491-2061.

The Collaboratory Project is a Northwestern initiative funded by the State of Illinois, federal, and foundation grants that provides project consulting, training, and support to educators throughout Illinois who are interested in using the Collaboratory to improve student learning and achievement. The Collaboratory is an easy-to-use, Web-based collaborative learning environment that teachers use to develop project-based activities in a framework for engaged learning that are aligned with Illinois Learning Standards.

Today more than 9,600 Illinois teachers and more than 750 technology coordinators and media specialists, representing over 2,000 Illinois schools, have accounts in the Collaboratory.