Site URL: cnn.com/studentnews
Content: CNN Student News is a 10-minute daily news program for middle and high school students produced by the journalists and educators at CNN. The show and its companion Web site are available free of charge throughout the school year.
Design: The layout is simple and clean. The main content area features the day’s show in a media player, along with a written rundown of the show beside it. A smaller content box in the lower lefthand side of the screen contains the day’s discussion and quiz. Two additional boxes containing general information about CNN Student News and show transcripts round out the initial content.
Review: The first thing that jumps out at you when you log on is that the media player doesn’t begin playing automatically. This is a wonderful change of pace from too many sites, whose players jump into a clip before you know what it is you’re viewing.
The efficient, albeit bare-bones, layout lends itself to ease of use. There is no hunting around for what you want, or getting lost in a jumble of links. Teachers can simply open the page, play the show and begin the discussion.
The fact that the show is produced by news heavyweight CNN is paramount. The name adds instant credibility to the shows, and the production values will certainly keep students’ attention. The addition of ready-made discussion talking points and quizzes make this site a dream for any history, civics or social studies teacher.
Bottom Line: A network-class newscast aimed at young people, coupled with discussion starters and quizzes, make CNN Student News a must-have bookmark.