Doug Biddinger, a social studies teacher at Davidson High School, was about to head out for his baseball coaching duties a couple of weeks ago when he decided to check his e-mail.

Doug Biddinger, a social studies teacher at Davidson High School, was about to head out for his baseball coaching duties a couple of weeks ago when he decided to check his e-mail.

Biddinger learned that Denise Bauer, a marketing manager of WOW! Cable Ohio, was looking for schools in central Ohio to host C-SPAN in its "100 Days, 100 Schools" tour.

The C-SPAN Civics Bus, a 45-foot mobile production studio, was looking for its 88th school site along its tour.

Having previous experiences with C-SPAN, as it makes an effort to connect with schools and students, Biddinger decided to draft a quick reply.

If C-SPAN is available, he said, Davidson would be happy to host a visit from the on-the-road news crew.

"We had a visit from the C-SPAN 'Road to the White House 2008' bus in January 2007," said Biddinger, "and that visit had gone so well that I thought it would be a good experience for our civics students, especially as the school year is winding down."

From that point on, Biddinger and Rachel Katz of C-SPAN worked together to make the April 21 stop in Hilliard occur.

Katz said they also decided to stop off at Darby High School, where she worked with Mary Burkhoff.

At Darby, she said, media students joined civics classes on the bus and talked about camera angles as well as issues.

"We talked about media literacy," Katz said, "where news comes from and why it is important to get both sides of the story."

At the two schools, they also talked about networks, focusing on which are conservative and which are liberal.

Biddinger and civics teachers Jared Emery and Kevin Logsdon took between 80 and 100 Davidson students on the bus.

"The bus can only handle about 12 students at a time and our classes are all somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 students," said Biddinger. "We had to split our classes in half each period, and send half a class at a time to the bus."

Denise Bobbitt, president of the school board, and Doug Maggied, a board member, both visited the bus during its stop.

"I was intrigued by the fact that this bus was basically a full production studio on wheels," said Bobbitt. "I was very impressed with the resources available to our teachers, especially government teachers."

The technology of being able to access past video clips or live coverage of a congressional hearing, discussion questions and classrooms proved exciting for Bobbitt.

"I believe that their mission to provide the public with direct, unedited and unfiltered access to the U.S. government is crucial to our democratic society," said Biddinger, "even if not too many people use it regularly."

He said he, as a teacher, can tell the students how and why C-SPAN is important or why it is crucial for citizens in a democracy to have open access to government from inside the classroom, but to have an impressive and unconventional mobile display makes it more authentic and memorable.

Katz said some of the high school students voted for the first time in November, so they were asking the students about where they got their information.

Every school, she said, is a little different, but invariably someone says something that sparks a discussion.

"Unfortunately, the two groups I accompanied were not very active in asking questions," said Biddinger. "However, they did engage in a good discussion about various sources of information for political news and issues, and how those sources differed in terms of production and validity compared with C-SPAN."

Bobbitt said she had conversations with others about the experience.

"One of the things of course that caught my attention was that teachers can join the C-SPAN Classroom for free," Bobbitt said. "With tightening budgets, this is a great resource for both teachers and students. The kids that I saw seemed pretty interested in the presentations."

Like Bobbitt, Maggied said he was impressed with the amount of technology on the bus.

"I think one of the most interesting things I learned was how much of a resource C-SPAN was to education," he said.

Biddinger said he hopes his students gained an appreciation for the importance of having open access to information and, if nothing else, they benefit from being exposed to why C-SPAN exits and what they are trying to do as a network dedicated to public affairs.

Katz said C-SPAN gets a lot of attention when the bus rolls into town. She said it is not uncommon at all to have impromptu tours.