The Cyber Newseum is a key part of the Newseum, which is the intereactive museum of news. The Newseum includes Today's Front Pages, the Pressroom, Newseum Education, an online store, and the Cyber Newseum which is being featured in this review. The Cyber Newseum has, at the time of this review, 22 historical multimedia image exhibits all related to newspapers. The exhibits range from political cartoons to historic events to award-winning photos.
The overall goal of this website is to promote understanding of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. This website is supported by The Freedom Forum, based in Arlington, VA, which is a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people.
Target Student Population:
Middle school, high school, and college students and their teachers, as well as inservice and preservice teachers of social studies, U.S. history and Civics will find this site useful.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Knowledge or background in basic U.S. history of the 20th century is helpful but not required.
Type of Material:
Collections of newspapers, photos, political cartoons, and multimedia exhibits.
Middle school to college instructors will find this site useful for independent study, small group investigations, or reseach projects by their students. In teacher education this is a good resource site for a social studies methods class, an interdisciplinary class, and/or a graduate course in social studies or U.S. history education.
A broadband connection is recommend and the Flash 6.0 plug-in is required to view the online features in the Cyber Newseum. There is a check for this at the beginning of each exhibit and direct link to Macromedia to download the link if you do not have it installed.
To play MP3 files of Newseum webcasts, users will need to download the latest version of Windows Media Player (Windows), QuickTime (Windows/Mac) or Real Player (Windows/Mac).
Evaluation and Observation
The site consists of a plethora of historical information, updated daily, from the 155 front pages of newspapers from the U.S. and 24 different countries. These front pages are from important historic events (e.g., 9/11, War in Iraq, Challenger disaster) and they are archived. The Cyber Newseum features 22 online multimedia or animated exhibits from the Holocaust, the War in Iraq, the loss of Columbia, the Children of Kosovo, prize-winning photographs from 1941, the cartoons of Joel Pett, a photo tour with a photojournalist, reporters and candidates on the 20th-century presidential campaign trail, the Berlin Wall, and much more. This is the ultimate online resource for primary source documents like newspapers, political cartoons, and photos that capture the news and world events.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The content is powerful, historical, and valuable for all educators, but most especially for students from middle school through college, as well as their instructors. The rich resources provide concrete anchors for a wide range of curriculum development by teachers and professors. The potential for using this site as a teaching and learning tool is limited only by the instructor?s imagination. It could certainly be used for studying current events, history, and civics. Furthermore students can conduct independent study, reviews, research, and investigations due to the many choices and range in presentations. The online accessibility coupled with both the interactive text and rich resource images makes it useful to anyone interested in learning about history of the U.S. Teachers could easily adapt or design small group investigations or presentation assignments on one or more of the newpaper headlines or exhibits found within this site. Because the front pages of hundreds of daily newspapers are provided daily,
research can be done and comparisons can be made to see how various news events are portrayed around the U.S. and the world. This could help students learn perspective taking and could also lead to many writing assignments. Analysis of the political cartoons and multitude of photos that are available would also be valuable. Some lesson plans and teaching tools are provided, but they mainly focus on helping students understand the First Amendment.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Screen layout and the look of this website is very sophisticated. Navigation in most parts of the site is clear. Quality of the reproduced front pages of newspapers is excellent. Quality of the photos and sound in the multimedia exhibits was excellent when using a cable modem to download and play these exhibits. Links to downloading needed plug-ins were offered.
This site, due to its large files, works much better with faster cable, DSL, or ethernet connections. Users with low bandwidth may be frustrated by long download times for some of the multimedia exhibits. Sometimes it wasn?t clear that closing a window would also close the site. Most things opened in new windows but not all, so it was not clear when you could use the back button to navigate.
Some of the exhibits that did not open in a new window, would close the entire site when they were closed.
Other Issues and Comments:
The Newseum will open, as an interactive museum, at its new location on the Mall in Washington, DC in 2006. This will very likely be an awesome place for students of all ages to visit.