Educating for Democracy

Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age

Educators play a vital role in preparing youth to be thoughtful and active participants in our democracy. But it’s often hard to know where to start and how best to integrate civic learning. In this Deep Dive, developed in partnership with the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of CA, Riverside, we’ve curated a collection of videos, blogs, educational resources, and relevant research to support educators in and out of schools in preparing youth to participate fully and thoughtfully in civic and political life in the digital age.

What is Civic Learning?

Civic learning is a process through which young people develop the knowledge, skills, and commitments to interact effectively with others, improve their communities and the broader society, and participate in democracy. New skills and dispositions are needed in the digital age. Youth can access an array of information and an audience to make their voices heard. At the same time, there are many challenges related to “fake news,” harsh partisanship, and a system that often feels unresponsive. Civic learning can help youth fully leverage the opportunities for effective participation while navigating the challenges.

To receive updates on new resources and information about civic learning, follow @Ed4Democracy on Twitter and sign up for the Educating for Democracy newsletter.

Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

Watch this video to learn more about what civic engagement is and to find out how teachers in Oakland Unified School District are integrating civic learning through a district-wide initiative called Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age (EDDA).

Essential Questions

Ready to learn more about how to educate for democracy? These essential questions touch on core civic practices. By exploring the questions and diving into the resources below, you will find ways to integrate civic learning across content areas and grade levels.

INVESTIGATION & RESEARCH
How do I help students research issues that matter to them?

CIVIC KNOWLEDGE
How do I further students’ civic knowledge and understanding?

DISCUSSION
How do I help students have productive discussions about current and controversial issues?

VOICE
How can students voice their perspective on issues that matter to them?

ACTION
What are effective ways to take action in the digital age?

LEARN MORE
Where can I learn more and find resources?

What's New?

Youth Radio
Learn how Youth Radio — a media production company in Oakland, CA — works with young people to get their voices out there by producing compelling pieces for radio, video, the web, blogs, podcasts, and other platforms. In this new video, students begin to write a commentary about an issue they care about which they will later publish via radio and/or social media.

Young People Are the Now: Elizabeth Robbins at TEDxWellsStreetED

Watch Chicago Public School Teacher Elizabeth Robbins share a model for upending civics education as we know it, and helping students research and take action around issues that affect them.

Celebrating Community Ready

Preparing students to participate in their community and in democracy is a critical part of the educational mission of schools. Watch this video to see how Oakland Unified School District honors students that demonstrate community readiness (in addition to college and career readiness) in their senior projects. To find out more about community readiness and the annual event, you can also read this blog post.

About this Deep Dive

This Deep Dive was developed through a collaboration between the Teaching Channel and the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside. We will be updating this collection on an ongoing basis. To receive updates on new resources and information about civic learning, follow @Ed4Democracy on Twitter and sign up for the Educating for Democracy newsletter.

National Civic Education Organizations

To support our community, we have curated a list of relevant, high-quality civic learning materials from national civic education organizations. Click here to see a list of organizations.

Special Thanks

To the Hearst Foundations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for funding our work and helping promote the importance of teaching for democracy.

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