We must create civic spaces that engage students like current and controversial issue discussions that lead to students communicating conclusions and taking informed action.
The most effective civic education in my eighth-grade classroom is often the simplest.
On Fridays, each student brings in an annotated newspaper article on any topic except sports or entertainment, and then three or four students present and field questions on their pieces.
During the rest of the week, we begin class with five minutes of discussion on an article I’ve chosen, usually one that not only primes us on the day’s news but also relates to our U.S. history and civics curriculum. If an article about international politics also underscores the difference between a tax and a tariff, fantastic. If a piece about proposed legislation in California highlights the tensions inherent in federalism, all the better. I like to model what it looks like to grapple with complicated “adult” issues.
We are experiencing a rising tide of advocacy for high quality civic education across the nation. There is also increasing interest and promising research around the impact that gamification can play in instructional design. Therefore, how might we leverage the power of gamification and game-based learning to enhance civic education?
Shawn and I (Tom) recently had the privilege of leading a session at the 2019 MassCUE / MACSD Leadership Conference in Worcester, MA. This was the first opportunity for us to present together on this topic and we are so excited to be diving into this work! We quickly realized that our 45 minutes session had about 2 hours worth of content, so we’ll need to adjust this a bit moving forward… Nevertheless, below are the slides and video of our conference session. Check it out, feel free to share with colleagues, and reach out to us with any questions or ideas you have to share!
Civic engagement has been a foundational element of our nation since its inception. But it is undeniable that the rapid shifts in our world have also shifted what civic engagement means and looks like. These changes have created exciting new opportunities to learn, connect and engage with others, yet have also surfaced new challenges in navigating our complex, hyperconnected and rapidly changing world.