The Magic 8 Ball says "Concentrate and Ask again": Can You Predict this Year’s Election?
There’s no denying it – election season is always exciting, and part of that excitement stems from trying to predict the unknown. While we intuitively make predictions all the time – we guess the weather, for example – the act of making a truly educated prediction requires a comprehensive set of skills.
From an educational standpoint, this suggests that the practice of making predictions can provide multiple, rich opportunities for learning and application. Think about it in terms of this year’s U.S. election. What are the things a learner might need to know in order to predict who will become president? Here are just a few that come to mind:
- The names, backgrounds, and viewpoints of the candidates
- Historical trends (state-by-state and national)
- How the electoral process works
- How analyze and interpret poll data
- Candidates’ platforms across all major issues
- Current events
Even knowing these things, the learner’s work is not yet done. Predictions require the application of knowledge within context. What’s more, that application and context will likely change over time, depending on what is happening in the world (and what tools we are choosing to use!).
Clearly, the educational potential of exploring predictions is enormous. That’s why we built a prediction feature into Voters Ed, our browser- based app for exploring the presidential election process. After learning about the electoral college and scrolling through electoral maps throughout history, users can then create their own prediction maps, save them, and share them with others.
To try your own hand at presidential predictions, and to experience for yourself the rich learning that happens as you do, be sure to check out Voters Ed.